Thanks in large part to Instagram, camera apps with funky filters are a dime a dozen these days. With that in mind, 1-Bit Camera for iPhone provides something a little different by stripping back all the detail from your iPhone's sensor and outputting black-and-white, 320 x 480 images that bear a strong similarity to those you might have shot using the Nintendo Game Boy camera attachement. Adding to the nostalgia factor is the app's interface — you'll see the old Chicago font and icons that look like they were pulled straight from the original Mac OS.
Despite the throwback nature of this app, there's a few ways to tweak your images: there are high-contrast and low-contrast modes, as well as two different dithering algorithms (dithering is a technique used to approximate tones and shading using only black and white pixels). Bayer dither provides the blocky, pixelated Game Boy-style images, while Atkinson dithering was used on the original Mac's monochrome display. The app also lets you switch between front- and back-facing cameras as well as turn the flash on and off if you're so inclined.
The Chicago font and icons make the app feel like Mac OS 1.0
Shooting with this app is generally a fun and easy experience, though there are a few missing features we'd love to see included. First off, the app doesn't rotate into landscape mode, so you'll have to manually rotate any pics you take that weren't taken in portrait — it's not a deal-breaker, but somewhat annoying. Unfortunately, the app doesn't let you take pictures with the volume button either; you're restricted to the on-screen controls. Aside from these quibbles, the app takes photos quickly, but you'll have to jump to the camera roll in the Photos app if you want to see your results. Those results will vary based on your subject, but for the most part this app provide a unique, though limited effect. You won't want to use it all the time, but it's a nice tool to have in your pocket. It's worth noting that anything you shoot with this app is only saved as a 320 x 480, black and white image; the original photo isn't saved anywhere.
1-Bit Camera also makes a few concessions to the modern age with its sharing options: it uses the iOS Twitter integration, so you can tweet your pictures directly from the app itself. Facebook and Tumblr sharing is included as well; when sharing to Tumblr, you also have the option of sharing to the 1-Bit Camera community network. Unfortunately, this only works on your latest photo, so if you want to go back and share your creations you'll need to do so in a different app.
There's room for improvement in this app, but the developer has already listed out some improvements coming soon (including the option to import pictures into the app and apply the 1-Bit-Camera processing to them), so hopefully the little issues we saw will be corrected soon. This app isn't the only one out there producing Game Boy-esque photos, but it's polished, responsive, and fun to use -- not bad for 99 cents.