On December 3 VSCO finally released their mobile phone camera app VSCO Cam for Android. I’m going to go so far as to say that this is Christmas come early; I have been eagerly awaiting this ever since Muse Kirstin reviewed the new iPhone version back in June.
So far the app is everything I thought it would be and more.
It comes pre-installed with 10 presets, and you can buy more through the in-app store.Currently there is a 38-preset bundle on sale which I immediately bought, meaning I know have almost 50 preset to explore, and since each preset can be adjusted with all 15 editing tools, I predict that I’m not going to tire of this app for a very long time.
The editing process is smooth and intuitive. VSCO Cam has its own in-app library, and you can either shoot in the app or import images to the library from the main galleries on your phone. Opening an image in your library for editing, you’re brought first of all to the preset screen, where you can add a preset and adjust the strength. Pressing the little arrow at the bottom of your screen brings up a menu where you can switch between the preset and the editing screens.
On the editing screen are fifteen different tools, both standard ones such as Exposure, Temperature, Rotate, Crop and Contrast, and more unusual ones for an app such as Shadows, which lightens the dark areas, and Highlights, which darkens the bright areas. With 6 hours of daylight in December, the Shadow tool is very much my friend nowadays.
All of this is excellent in itself, but there is one thing in particular that really makes this app for me. You know how other apps will save your images as finished products in the phone gallery after you’re done editing, so that you have to start again with the original image if you change your mind and want to apply another type of edit instead? If you open an edited image in the VSCO Cam library, it’s like you never stopped editing in the first place, and you can continue to adjust the preset you have applied or apply another one instead.
I have also been playing around a lot with the various black and white presets. Other than Vignette, none of the apps I otherwise love, such as Snapseed and PixlrExpress, have decent black and white filters. VSCO Cam however has many. I particularly like the high-contrast X1 preset (used on the big image in the mosaic below), but I’ve tried several others as well to good effect.
With so many interesting options to play with, VSCO Cam has kickstarted my photographic inspiration again after a very lean month. Among the many images I’ve shot with it so far, I’ve discovered the start of another accidental series, The Road Ahead:
I like this app so well that I am glad that I don’t have many negative things to say about it. It mostly runs very smoothly, but it crashes a little too often for my liking while saving images to the gallery or sharing images to other apps. Also, the nifty two-fingered zoom gesture that lets you set different exposure and focus points that Kirstin praises is not available in the Android version, apparently because most Android phones don’t support spot metering.
If you have an Android phone, have you tried VSCO Cam yet? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!
~ All the best from Jenny.