The click factor: Old Roll bets on nostalgia with retro, filter-free camera app

As the name suggests, the Old Roll camera app promises a vintage experience with camera modes that take you back in time. Unlike modern apps, this app keeps things simple, real, and filter-free. It has over 50 lakh downloads and a 4.4 rating on PlayStore.

The click factor: Old Roll bets on nostalgia with retro, filter-free camera app

Friday October 07, 2022,

4 min Read

Have you wondered what it would be like if you could go back in time and fiddle around with old cameras? 

Picture this. The feel of changing rolls and the experience of lugging around a camera bag. The sound of flash when a photo is clicked. Holding a handicam and tinkering with different modes, feeling like a documentary filmmaker.

The joy of capturing a perfect shot on a reel camera is priceless, despite the minor inconveniences involved. 

If you want to go back in time and experience the thrill of a 35-mm vintage camera or a polaroid, then Old Roll is what you are looking for. 

Released in August 2020 on Google PlayStore, the Old Roll camera app lets you create dreamy 80s-style pictures with its multiple camera mode offerings. 

Old Roll has over 50 lakh downloads and a 4.4 rating, according to data available on Google PlayStore. 

How does it work? 

Old Roll, which is available free of cost, does not ask for any login information. You just have to download the app and simply swipe right on what looks like a camera box. This gives you the feel of cracking into a new disposable camera box although you are not actually doing so.

The user interface is unlike anything this writer has seen before. The app directly takes you to one of the cameras in its lineup.

Old Roll

The camera option you choose appears on the entire screen.

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Lights, camera, Reels!

For this writer, Old Roll opened with ‘Classic M’, with a frame akin to the one in a Classic M camera, to compose the picture. There is a thunder sign to turn on the flash at the left-bottom corner, an EV button to adjust the brightness, and a front camera mode. These were probably not built in the original Classic M camera. But the app offers these features on smartphones. And the good old camera shutter sound will surely transport you back in time. 

To change to a polaroid camera mode, you have to click on the camera icon, which is at a different place in every mode. Apart from the flash enablement and the front camera, the instant camera mode also lets you change the framing by clicking on the ‘Switch’ option on top of the camera frame.  

While some camera modes are free, many are behind a paywall, which starts at Rs 45 and goes up to Rs 200. The app also unlocks certain cameras for free, after you have used the existing option a few times. 

Every camera mode has different features, quality, and lighting effects. 

The app does not offer any filters or the option to edit the pictures clicked. The only feature that’s similar to the ones on smartphone cameras is a minimal ‘zoom in and zoom out’ option.

Old Roll

Credit: YourStory Design

On the DCR mode, which resembles a handicam, you can create full-length videos or one-second videos, which can later be collated into a short video log. 

Old Roll has a one-click option wherein the app offers some background music, intros, and templates, among other features, to help you create a vlog, which can be posted on Instagram or Tiktok. 

What works

The best thing about taking pictures using Old Roll is that it doesn’t offer too many modifications in its camera modes. It stays true to its vintage camera promise, in a day and age when apps are filter-driven and photos can be edited in many ways. 

When you look at the pictures with date stamps, it will definitely take you back in time. 

Short vlog is an interesting addition because there are no filters in the app. The colour effects are all real-time and that’s the beauty of it. 

What could be better 

The Old Roll experience could get better if the app can categorise the vintage camera modes. Currently you have to scroll through the entire catalogue before finding the option you want. 

If you like clicking pictures with a touch of simplicity and an old-world charm, then give Old Roll a try. You will not regret it. 

Edited by Swetha Kannan