March 30, 2012
With the proliferation of camera apps for iOS such as Instagram and Camera+, the budding or professional iPhoneographer is not without a steady stream of resources for making photos look this way or that. This stream is so quick, in fact, that it can be difficult to sift through camera apps old and new for something that's actually worthwhile — that is, unless you're looking for an app that's not just another variation of either of those two aforementioned apps. If what you're looking for in particular is an app that turns your photos into black and white pixelated masterpieces, then you're in luck. There aren't many apps built especially for that purpose in the App Store, and you could do far worse than to try the recently released 1-Bit Camera. Developed by David Lindecrantz, 1-Bit Camera is a nostalgia trip of a photography app. It lets you take photos and transform them into 320 x 480 works of pixelated art. What makes the app's resultant photos so endearing is that they hark back to the classic Nintendo Game Boy camera and the Apple Macintosh OS of the past. True to its twofold inspiration, 1-Bit Camera employs a user interface that is charmingly old-fashioned. The app boasts a 1-bit dynamic range and a couple of dithering algorithms pioneered by Bryce Bayer and Bill Atkinson, who worked on the imaging used in the old Game Boy and Macintosh systems. These algorithms are applied to a photo in real time, after which options to share it on your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr are made available. You can also opt to post it on the special 1-Bit Camera community Tumblr blog. At the moment, importing photos from the Photos app is not available, but this feature is already planned for an upcoming update. Also expected to be included in that update are blast processing, adaptive low-light auto-exposure and iPad support with Retina pixels. I'm especially excited to see how that last feature pans out. Currently compatible with the recent models of iPhone and iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later, 1-Bit Camera is available in the App Store for just $0.99. The app bears the tagline, "It is not the number of pixels that matters, but the quality of those individual pixels!" Amen.