One of the lesser known camera apps available, VSCO Cam, received a rather hefty update on Thursday, adding a great deal of new preset filters and a completely revamped interface. Compared to the previous $0.99 version, the new VSCO introduces a deeper experience that really attempts to carve out an identifiable environment of its own. There’s now a store for new filters, a Discover tab to see what other VSCO Cam users are shooting, and a more robust camera with separate focus and exposure rings.
Before the app even launched, VSCO teased that its new mobile editing software—available for iOS only for now—would allow users to achieve previously unattainable results. I already thought the preset filters in the old VSCO Cam looked solid—not too overwrought, but noticeable—but these new ones are fantastic. And there are a ton (maybe one too many), so new users to the platform will certainly find a favorite.
Unfortunately, since the app is free, purchasing additional filters costs money. VSCO is running an early promotion that offers 48 presets for $5.99, which is 70 percent off the usual price. And if you owned the previous version of VSCO, you’ll be able to transfer the legacy filters over to the new version for no additional cost—that’ll bring the total presets up to 58.
One of the really great additions to the platform is being able to quickly see a before and after image after applying a filter. By simply holding on the picture you’re editing, you can see the before of how the picture used to look—lift your finger up and you’ll see what it looks like with that particular filter applied; it’s highly convenient, and cuts down on having to undo a filter just to see what the original picture looked like.
As I mentioned before, the new VSCO is a much deeper experience, and to be honest I’ve felt a little lost in the new ecosystem and figuring out how to use everything. However, that’s to be expected when something you’re used to using on a regular basis gets changed—just keep that in mind if you’re upgrading from the previous version. Also keep in mind that the sheer amount of filters can be pretty overwhelming, especially when some seem similar to others.
In the end, though, the new VSCO is a wonderful little editing app that deserves your attention. I haven’t even mentioned its multiple sharing abilities, or the option to organize preset filters and toolkits. You can also view your image data based on location, data and preset used. If you edit photos on your iPhone—I do and then upload them to Instagram where VSCO Cam is a popular app—then VSCO definitely deserves your attention. It’s free, and it offers plenty of flexibility and processing that really makes photos stand out.