Snap selfies like it’s 1996: BitCam redefines the retro photo app

bitcam takes photos like its 1996 img 5393
Hillary Grigonis / Digital Trends

 Ever long for the days of dial-up and low-resolution graphics? Probably not, but one app-making company has recreated what snapping a selfie would have been like in 1996 — one year before the word “smartphone” was even around.

BitCam is a retro photo app for iOS, but unlike most, it’s not designed to recreate the look of film. Instead, it captures what snapping photos on a smartphone would have been like 20 years ago–slow interface, low resolution, horrible GIFs, and all.

The developers, Iconfactory (the same team behind Twitterific), released BitCam to celebrate the company’s 20-year anniversary. And what better way to celebrate 20 years than by throwing it back to where tech was 20 years ago?

Hillary Grigonis / Digital Trends

BitCam, released last week, has three different resolution settings: FatBits, Standard, and Super-Res, each with a different (low) level of black and white pixelation. There’s also one option for snapping square images, called Instaphoto size, mimicking the shape of instant film (and for sharing on what will seem like the very advanced Instagram). Of course, the app is also compatible with the front-facing camera for 1990s selfies.

Since color wasn’t widely available back in the mid-’90s, converting to colorful but still pixelated photos is a $1.99 in-app purchase. The color edition offers — wait for it — eight whole colors to add to your photos.

Even the app’s website throws it back to the ’90s with an html address, crummy animations, and weird tech lingo.

The app isn’t all old-school — users can tap the screen to set the focus or exposure, which certainly wouldn’t have been possible with the first “smartphones” and their giant keyboards.

BitCam is nothing new — it’s everything you need to reminisce about ’90s tech without actually finding an old Macintosh Classic that will still power up. The app is currently free in the App Store.


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