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Mood.camera is an iOS app that feels like using a retro analog camera | TechCrunch

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Phone cameras have evolved a lot, with image processing becoming increasingly important and granular controls to help users tweak their images. Despite that, many people are still fond of old-school photography styles and techniques. Developer Alex Fox wanted to focus on that nostalgia while building the Mood.camera app.

The iPhone app lets you switch between different retro filters to capture photos. You can also adjust quality and tone through a dial. You can easily switch between different lenses and adjust exposure from the main screen. All of this sounds familiar, but what you don’t get is the live preview of what the photo would look like once it “Develops” — and that makes for some fascinating results.

mood.camera

Image Credits: Alex Fox

Fox said that with this app, he wanted users to focus on the image in the viewfinder rather than the effects, which is why he did not include a live preview feature — you see the same thing as you see in the default camera app. In the same vein, the app has no editing feature, and you can’t import photos from the gallery to apply filters on old photos.

“Since the first Polaroid camera, photography has been focussed on more convenience and more control, but I think we’ve lost some of the magic along the way,” Fox told TechCrunch over email.

“Some of the design decisions I made were intended to reduce the conveniences we’re used to, urging users to be in the moment instead of worrying about which filter to use or staring at their phone editing.”

Image Credits: Alex Fox/Mood.camera

The developer started working on a prototype of the app in October 2023 and released a beta version on Reddit earlier this year.

Fox said that over the last two months, a group of photographers helped him hone the app better by taking more than 100,000 photos. The app is free to try for seven days, and then you can pay either $1.99 per month or a one-time fee of $14.99.

In the last few years, apps like Lapse, Dispo, and Later Cam have tried to recreate parts of retro cameras by placing limitations on the app’s function. While Lapse and Dispo also attracted investors, their growth eventually slowed down. However, while an indie developer won’t encounter a venture-backed outcome, it could potentially turn their app into a sustainable income and a long-term success.



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