Clear space for… #1

I receive lots of messages on Instagram asking me which Apps I´m using to take my photos, specially the ones with that vintage look (ever wanted a 35 mm? Well, I still do…). Ever since I bought my beloved Pen Camera photographing gained a new life and that vintage style was a result of programming the camera with the right settings and VSCO edition. I also own an Instax Mini, which I absolutely adore (specially because no one ever looks bad) but because it prints automatically it´s a rather expensive option that I keep for special moments.

Back when I had the Huawei G-Play Mini, photographing with my phone wasn´t much of a option (the camera is terrible, even though it was supposed to be a good one). I remember I was always freeing up space for my dear VSCO and the few shots I took, I used that App directly. Now with the iPhone (btw, it´s true what they say about the camera) things changed a lot in terms of taking photos and my camera finally got some rest.

I guess reading two paragraphs on a Sunday is enough for you so, without further notice, here are my favorite vintage photography apps of the moment 🙂

P.S. I only chose easy apps to take quick photos and maybe do some editing, but nothing too deep into manual edition.

Moly Cam – it allows you to take those Polaroid or instax kind of photos. It has a basic editor and you can choose from several vintage filters. PROS – you can choose which vintage filter you’re going to use before taking the photo and it’s a pretty cool editor if you want to upload photos directly from your phone. CONS – the instant photos don’t look so real because of the frame.

HUJI – remember those disposable cameras? HUJI is supposed to be one. It gives that 35 mm kind of look to your photos. You can’t edit them but I think they turn out to look so cool with that retro vibe and the date on the side that there’s no need to. PROS – it really gives you that disposable camera feeling and it’s kind of a surprise when you see the final version. No need to edit. CONS – Annoying advertising after taking the photo. It’s tolerable, though. Doesn’t let you upload a photo previously taken.

Retro Cam – I’m still testing it but so far, I really like it. It’s an editor which comes in handy if you already have the photos and want to magically send them back in time. You can add over light, textures (to give that old scratchy look), vintage filters and edit the basic settings such as contrast, vignette, temperature, etc. PROS – the most important features are part of the free version and you have a lot of options to edit your photos. CONS – to have access to the glitch feature and to add the date you have to buy the full version.

Dazz – Here you can choose the accessories (lenses) and the camera type you’d like to use. The instant photos here look more realistic. It’s not an editor though. PROS – it really looks like you’re using in real life those lenses and cameras. CONS – you can’t have access to all the cameras and lenses unless you buy the full version.

Olympus Pen 7

These days every smartphone can take amazing photos. Every day for the past year my photos were taken with my phone or iPad. I always thought “Nah, why should I buy my own camera when these two are perfectly capable of taking amazing photos?”. Wrong. As my blog started to grow I understood the problems of not owning a good camera (photo quality, not being able to give them the look I wanted, … ).

When I started looking for cameras I knew I wanted a compact camera. I knew exactly what specific details I wanted (when looking for a camera always ask yourself “what for will I use it?”). I knew I would be the one taking 95% of the photos so I looked for something that I could easily connect with other devices and with flip screen.

The Olympus Pen 7 was completely out of my options, at first. Known as “the blogger camera” it was just too expensive. The day I was going to buy a Panasonic Lumix, I found one of those Christmas packs with the Pen 7. I told “her” we were meant to be.

KIT

This may vary, though there are some things that are always sold with the camera like the charger and the flash. The kit comes with a lens, though you can buy them separately (I’d suggest not to because you´ll end up paying a lot more). Mine came with a case and an SD card (careful when choosing your SD card. This camera is very very fast at shooting photos and processing videos, so anything less than 16GB won´t work properly) and two different manual instructions, one with the basics and the other on a CD with full detailed information that is really helpful and definitely makes you take the most out of your camera.

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  • The high quality of the photos. Everything from the colors to the contrast looks amazing.
  • There´s an Olympus app (Olympus Image share) for ios and android that allows you to use your smartphone as a remote control. Set your tripod, control the timer through your phone once you´ve connected it with your camera and you´re ready to go. I do this ALL the time! This app also allows you to edit photos and import them to your devices. This saves you a lot of time, especially when you´re in a hurry and need to post something on social media;
  • The screen flips. Which means your selfies or non-selfies will look better than ever. Everything from those “from where I’m standing” photos that you usually don’t see is now controllable. It means that the perfect angle is now officially possible. I take a lot of flat lays and before this camera, I often needed to climb to a chair to get the perfect photo. Now I just flip the screen until it looks the way I want.
  • It´s easily transported on your smallest bags (and you all know how most of my bags are… J ) Unless you´re using a huge lens, you´ll see you can take the camera everywhere in your purse.
  • The design of the camera. That retro design that makes Olympus Pen different from any other camera. A true heartbreaker.
  • I don´t use it much for video but I’ve searched vloggers reviews and apparently, the micro is pretty good (so you don´t need to buy one separately).

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  • The price. Unless you get lucky like I did, this is a pricey camera. Is it worth it? Every single (insert here your currency), if you´re planning to use it a lot. Most of them come with a lens (and not just the camera body). Sometimes Olympus sells kits with more than one lens which is a great opportunity that I, unfortunately, missed. Lens are pretty expensive as you may know.
  • When you´re using a tripod you can´t flip the screen all the way down. When you´re photographing this is not a problem because of the remote control option but when you´re filming a video this may be a problem.

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  • If you´re taking pics just for social media adjust the size. I do this a lot with Instagram because I hate cropping my pictures. I adjust the screen to 1:1 before taking the photo and then import it to my phone when I’m done.
  • Don´t use the auto mode. I understand that in the beginning, it´s easier, but it´s outside the auto mode that the magic happens. Now before the magic happens don´t freak out with the menus. They´re pretty complex because the camera has a lot of different settings that you can personalize. Sure it takes time to understand how the camera works, but once you do, you´ll have highly personalized photos capable of reflecting your own style. Activate all the menus on the camera and just start trying everything. There´s a Fn button that opens a little side menu where you can change settings like saturation, light, movement, … I started with that. But for more detailed settings you´ll need to activate menus.
  • Pen 7 has touch screen which is very useful when you want to focus a certain object only. It´s not the only way to focus, of course, but it´s more intuitive. If you´re using the kit lens (14-42mm, my case) in order to create that blurry background that a 45mm lens easily captures I’d suggest playing with focus points and adjust the lens until you have reached the perfect blur.
  • Because you won´t see the full screen flipped down when using a tripod, use your phone as a remote control and set the timer (you can change the timer on your phone once connected).
  • There are plenty of artistic modes to explore (without needing a specific lens) that probably will save you edition time (like that one where the background is black&white and the only pops of color you see are for example red ones).
  • You can automatically add your signature or a stamp to your photo using the Olympus Photo Share app editor (another time savior).

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VERDICT

It´s been 2 months since I bought it and I use it on a daily basis. 80% of my instagram photos are taken with this camera. I would recommend it to anyone who´d take the most out of it (because of the price).

This post was written mainly for people who don´t own the camera but are thinking about buying it. It´s my personal experience in general with this camera and why I recommend it. If you have any specific/technical questions, feel free to ask them in the comments 🙂