May 30, 2012 at 5:41 PM ET
Everyone knows the latest photo-sharing craze is Instagram, but there are a few purists who disdain to simulate analog effects like sepiatone, full bleed and other relics of the photographic past. One app maker has taken things to the next level by skipping the simulation altogether by actually sending your photo to an analog camera and sending you a picture of that.
InstaCRT is the name of the app, pointed out by BoingBoing; the initials stand for Cathode Ray Tube, which of course was the kind of display we all used for decades before LCDs took over. The warm fuzziness and analog artifacts of these CRT displays make for a distinctively late 20th century look, and although there are ways to recreate the effect, nothing can compare with the real thing.
When you upload a picture to InstaCRT, it is displayed on a 1980s VHS camcorder and a second camera snaps a picture of that. It's cropped, processed and sent back to your phone, all in under 30 seconds.
Unfortunately, the same technique can't be used for many of the filters in Instagram, since they're based on film, not analog video. It's still a fun idea, though they'll need more cameras if the app gets popular.
InstaCRT is only available for the iPhone right now. You can pick it up at the App Store for $1.99.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.