This Crazy App Adds Photo FX The Analogue Way, On An Old CRT Screen [Review]


My phone to their screen to their Mac to my phone to your screen...
My phone to their screen to their Mac to my phone to your screen...

Today’s Best Thing Ever has to be InstaCRT, an iPhone photography app that turns all your ideas about iPhone photography upside-down.

Yes, it applies retro-style effects to your photos. But just wait until you hear how it does so. It’s utterly unique, the cleverest and most original iOS photography idea I’ve seen for a long time.

The app you download is pretty simple in function. It takes a photo, using the built-in iOS camera system that you’ll be familiar with from many other apps. Once you have an image you’re happy with, the app passes it on.

Not to an image processing screen. Not to a website. Not to another app. Your photo is actually sent to a computer in an office in Stockholm, Sweden.

That computer then displays your photo on a tiny 1-inch CRT screen that’s attached to it. Then the computer tells a DSLR camera (also attached) to take a snapshot of what it sees on the CRT. The resulting image is then sent back to your phone, and you can save it or discard it.

Here’s a video that explains things simply:

The whole insane (but ingenious) process takes longer than most camera apps. The app promises about 25 seconds, but it might take longer if the Stockholm-based processing unit is busy with a backlog of images to deal with.

OK, so it’s a one-trick app, and costs more ($2) than some apps that have much longer feature lists. So it won’t appeal to everyone. But keen iPhone photographers will love the cleverness of the idea, the uniqueness of the approach, and the simply lo-fi video qualities of the pictures. They have a visual appeal all of their own, quite unlike anything you’ve ever seen before in all the other Insta-book-plus-omatic camera apps you’ve tried before.

Pro: Does something new and clever that no-one else has thought of before

Con: A bit pricey for a photo toy; probably only for enthusiasts