I tested apps that make your pics look like they’re taken on film to see which is best
Disposable camera who?
Film photography has become yet another Gen Z revival trend as an attempt to hold onto nostalgia of the 90s era. You snap 28 pics and wait days for them to get developed, only to find out that half of your roll is useless because the photos are all completely blurry… or does that add to the effect?
Also, it’s important to mention the hefty price tag that comes with this hobby. From first purchasing a variety of disposable cameras or dropping more money on a reusable point and shoot film camera that requires rolls of film (a whole separate purchase in itself, these rolls cost up to £9!), to the actual fee of getting your pictures developed – is it really worth it?
There’s an array of apps that claim to transform your pictures into film look-alikes, without having to spend all the extra money and waiting days to see the final product. So, let’s put them to the test.
This is one of the first search results when you type in “film” into the AppStore, but does it hold up? Dazz Cam is simple to use, you can either take pictures on the app directly or import them from your camera roll. The app then gives you different “camera” options, although you do need to purchase the pro version for £4.99/year to unlock further options. This app is often recommended by users on TikTok, with the “Inst C” camera (comes free with the app) being the strong favourite. The effect is subtle but convincing, adding a nostalgic hue that definitely would look good on the gram.
8/10 would use again.
Another TikTok favourite, Prequel is an app that lets you take pictures and videos on the app directly, as well as editing pictures and videos from your camera roll with pre-made filter options. The “retro” category has 13 different options, which somewhat resemble the effect of disposables, although some filters are restricted and can only be accessed through paying a hefty subscription fee of £4.99/week. We found that the most convincing filter option is “Teal #1”, although it really doesn’t replace the artsy vibe of real disposables.
Overall, 7/10 and a bonus point because Prequel lets you edit videos as well, which most apps don’t offer.
DAZE CAM allows you to snap pictures directly on the app and automatically adds a vintage-esque filter to your pictures, although you can alter specifics such as adding light leaks or more grain. You’re allowed three uploads from your camera roll for free but have to purchase the premium version for £2.99 to get unlimited develops. DAZE CAM’s filter is very aesthetically pleasing and is probably as good as imitating disposables on your phone can get.
This app is definitely our favourite, deserving a strong 10/10.
Kamon – Classic Film Camera
Kamon transforms your screen into an interface that resembles a classic disposable camera. Similar to Dazz Cam, there are eight different vintage “camera” options including a polaroid setting, which are all free to use and don’t require the purchasing of a pro version. We tried the “Kamon” option to test how much the filter resembles film and… meh, the light flare is very extreme and there is no option to go back and edit the picture once it has been processed by the app. The filter reminds a lot of HUJI and if you’re still using that app – why? It’s not 2018 anymore, grow up.
Simple – Disposable Camera
Like Kamon, Simple imitates the look of a disposable camera. There’s no option to upload pictures directly from your camera roll and once you snap a picture it “processes” immediately. The effect? Shocking, not convincing at all. 12-year-old me would’ve done a better job on CamWow.
Overall 0/10, would not use and if you’re seriously considering downloading this app… don’t.
Will any app ever really replace the 90s feel of film photography? Probably not. Besides, there’s something fun about taking pictures without being able to see the final result straight away. But if you do want to re-create the retro vibe on your phone, DAZE CAM has officially passed the test.