The 5 best camera apps and filters to try in 2021

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  • Shake up your social media posts with Dazz, Filmroll, and Artleap for quirky, retro photos
  • Effectron will make your pics look like a sci-fi movie, while Gudak will help you live in the moment
Kelly Fung |
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Gudak might change the way you take photos. Photo: Gudak

If you’re looking for some new, quirky camera apps and filters to shake up your social media posts in 2021, we’ve rounded up five of the best.

Dazz 

If you haven’t tried Dazz, download it now. It offers a range of photo effects inspired by retro film cameras. 

Our favourites are Glow, a video filter that gives your footage a dreamy, vintage vibe; and the 3D Reto photo filter, which replicates the “triple-lens”, wiggling effect of the popular Reto camera, the one that features three lenses and allows users to create a moving image.

Enjoy this newest camera on Dazz to give your photo a glow. Photo: Dazz

Visually, the app looks a bit like a bookshelf, with all the different options lined up, making it super easy to use. Although you have to pay to unlock a lot of them, the two mentioned above are free to use. 

What’s also cool is that you can upload original, unedited photos taken on other devices, and apply the filter afterwards. 

The best film cameras for beginners

Effectron

More than just camera filters, Effectron is an AR video app that allows you to shoot footage of real-life spaces and turn them into something you’d expect to find in a video game. 

Effectron allows you to explore space in the most ordinary places. Photo: Effectron

For example, you could turn your bedroom into With this app, it is possible to turn your bedroom into a scene from Ghost in the Shell, or make your kitchen look like a cave you can explore. It is fascinating!

Filmroll

All right, this one is for those of you who can’t get enough of the grain and haze of old-school rolls of film. While Dazz offers different types of camera, Filmroll lets you choose from different brands of film, from Fuji and Kodak to Agfa and Lomo. Thirteen of them are free to use, although some of them require you to take a certain number of photos before you can unlock them.

Select your favourite film roll on Filmroll. Photo: Filmroll

It’s especially exciting for real film photography buffs, as some of the film, such as Fuji Reala 500D and Fuji Superia 100, have been discontinued in real life. 

There is also a range of frames to give your photos an extra edge when you post them online.

Filters to give your photos a vintage '90s look

Gudak

This app might just change your photo-taking habits for good. 

If you find yourself going out to take photos, and spending more time focusing on getting the “best shot”, rather than just enjoying the moment, this one’s for you. It basically turns your smartphone into a film camera, so you cannot preview the photos you’ve taken or download them. 

Gudak might change the way you take photos. Photo: Gudak

You take 24 shots on the “roll”, and wait three full days for the photos to be “developed” on your phone. 

The app developer believes that “preview kills the moment” and people should believe their instincts. It’s especially suitable for anyone who is sometimes overwhelmed by choices, and/or who just want to enjoy a day out, making photographic memories without the pressure.

Artleap

While Instagram offers all kinds of filters in its effects gallery, that’s not much use if you’ve got photos on your DSLR, or want to use an edited image elsewhere.

Artleap allows you to create digital art with your photos in one tap. Photo: Artleap

Artleap lets you turn photos into digital art with just one tap. The app is ideal if you’re into surreal and imaginative photography styles, or if you want to create something funky for your feed. 

There’s a wide range of filters and special effects, such as dispersion (where part of the photo is “cut” into tiny pieces), double exposure, and wrap-around, where a swirly illustration is “wrapped” around the subject. It’s like magic.

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