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Retro Camera and “Man, Camera, Droid #1″… These ARE the Droids We’re Looking For!

COLUMBUS–I remember when I saw the first phone camera and how excited I was about the possibilities of a camera, even a low resolution one, that was always in one’s pocket and connected by its very nature to an ability to more or less instantly transmit those photos. We forget, as we do about all technology, how recent this all is. Twelve years ago many people, myself included even though I was working as a reporter at a daily newspaper, did not have cell phones. Ten years ago nearly everyone did. When the first phone cameras came out they were incredibly expensive. About three months after their release they were cheap and commonplace. Now they have essentially killed the pocket camera, and with good reason. The type of photography most people do does not need incredibly high resolution or monster lenses. Most photos are snap shots, records that one was somewhere with someone and (we hope) having a good time. The cameras in most phones today easily handle that job and many are a good sight better than, say, the old 110 pocket camera that people carried to accomplish the same job. Aunt Myrtle may look like little more than a blurry blue blob in the image but you know you were there, Aunt Myrtle was there and she was wearing a blue dress. Good enough!

Many of the cameras in phones, however, are a good bit better than this. When you combine their decent lenses and sensors with some of the camera apps like Retro Camera Connector, Hipstamatic or Instagram you have the ability to make excellent and truly unique images. All of these apps and the filters they utilize are intended to emulate old film cameras and film stocks. Specifically they are meant to emulate the amateur snaphot cameras of bygone days so using them in conjunction with the slightly subpar sensors and lenses of phone cameras is actually an ideal solution. The resulting images look, therefore, far more authentic than they would were the same filter be applied to files from, say, a Nikon D800.

The point being is that I love cameras and I have taken to phone camera photography with a particular fervor. For the last two years and a little more I have been using the Droid Incredible. I had to get a new phone before Verizon went to the IPhone and, though I am a pure Mac guy and wish my phone was too, I have not been unhappy with the Droid. Being that it has been two years, however, the evil phone lords have sent out a self-destruct signal and droid is acting mighty funny as of late. Luckily, just in time to step into a shiny new IPhone 5. I love it when a plan comes together.

So for the past two years I have been mainly using the free photography app Retro Camera Connector from Urbian. Retro Camera gives you the choice of six different “cameras” you can shoot with that mimic a different style and era of photography. There is the Bärbl, the Little Orange Box, the Xolaroid 2000, The PinhOle camera, the Fudge Can, and the Hipsteroku. Each has a different look and some have the option of color or black and white. All take a square frame and all images can be uploaded to Facebook, Twitter etc. directly from the program. I have found that the files make very nice prints at least up to five by five inches and I have framed and even sold a number of prints taken with the phone and app.

I recently published a book of my favorites from year one. Year two is almost done and then it will be on to the IPhone 5… Here is a link to the book:

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