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Instagram updates with improved camera, new filter, and more

Instagram for iPhone has updated with an improved camera, a new filter called Willow, improved tilt-shift, a new Foursquare button, and more. The interfaces for the camera and and filter screens have been completely redone for the better.

Today we’re excited to announce the release of the largest upgrade to our Instagram iOS camera since it was revamped just over one year ago. The camera has been the core part of the Instagram experience since the day we launched and as a result, we’ve made significant improvements to its look and speed.

The new camera in Instagram now lets you overlay a grid for using the rule-of-thirds and keeping the horizon level. You can also turn the external flash to on, off, or auto, and switch between the rear and front-facing cameras. There is also a little thumbnail that previews the last photo taken that gives access to your Camera Roll when tapped. Instead of just showing a grid of your Camera Roll photos, however, Instagram now shows the currently selected photo in the Scale & Crop preview with the thumbnails of your Camera Roll photos below it. I'm a huge fan of this new interface because it makes it much easier to quickly compare photos.

The new interface for adding filters is similar to the old one with a horizontally scrolling bar of the photos at the bottom, it just has a new look. The buttons for frames, tilt-shift, and Lux now appear directly above the filters. There is also a new button for rotation added to the mix.

Speaking of tilt-shift, this feature has also been greatly improved. In the past, there was a huge difference between the preview shown for tilt-shift and the actual results. This has been fixed so that the blur you see is the blur you'll get. Additionally, the blur algorithm has been greatly improved to increase quality and accuracy and now gives a more realistic rendering of depth of field.

In just the few minutes I spent playing with the new tilt-shift, I am impressed. I never use tilt shift with instagram because of how fake it has always looked, but the new blur algorithm is actually quite good and I look forward to using it on my photos.

Additionally, Instagram has also added a new monochromatic filter called Willow. It's a black and white filter with subtle purple tones and a translucent glowing white border that will work well on portraits, still life, and architecture photographs with contrast.

Another feature that Instagram snuck into this update is that your Instagrammed photos will now be saved in a separate album on your iPhone called "Instagram". This will make it much either to find your Instagram photos in your Camera Roll and something I, personally, am very excited about.

Lastly, Instagram has also redesigned the news feed to better match the new look, added infinite scrolling on user profiles and other grid views, and a Foursquare button has been added to the location pages that opens the Foursquare app or mobile website with details about the venue.

Have you had a chance to play with the new and improved Instagram, yet? What do you think? I'm a huge fan of the new Camera Roll selection screen on the iPhone 5, the improved tilt-shift, and the Instagram album added to the Photos app.

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Source: Instagram

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.

  • The new shutter graphics and animation are pretty ugly if you ask me. Apart from that it's a nice update. The new Willow filter is lovely!
  • The Camera Roll image selector is also enabled for the iPhone 4s
  • Oh cool. The instagram blog said it was iPhone 5 only. Thanks!
  • It looks nice, but they took away basic functionality. Unless I'm missing something, I can't choose photos from albums anymore. I usually select photos from an album of edited photos (in snapseed, etc). I hate it when developers remove functionality in updates!
  • Yeah you can only use photos in the camera roll! Ugh! Epic fail!!
  • Zoom/crop its only allowed on landscape photos... After selecting a photo from my camera roll I cant zoom on pictures taken in portrait mode. Its only me?
  • No not only you. I hate this! I ALWAYS zoom in or out on my photos and move them around. I'm kind of pissed about this.
  • on my phone i cant delete old pics that function is missing ... is anyone else having this problem?
  • Ever since I updated the new Instagram it is now kicking me out when I try to edit and upload the picture. I hate this new update I wish I never did it !!
  • it keeps crashing when trying to take a picture :-(
    I have a 4s
  • The update is a downgrade. It crashes and flickers and has glitches. It posts photos as a black square if they resemble explicit content and simultaneously it flickers and keeps buttons from previous screens up. The photo quality has gone down; you cannot zoom when you load a photo; there are too many steps to load photos with this update; the navigation is unintuitive. The simplicity of Instagram was the original appeal; Facebook has continuously junked everything up. The "News" page is graphic vomit, inconsistent with icon sizes. And with the last update, making the grid larger and adding borders was a HUGE mistake. It used to be so satisfying to look at. SIMPLICITY is gone from Instagram. Facebook ruined it from the moment they swallowed it. Gluttony.