Instagram has today made a ton of improvements to its iPhone app. These include the ability to save high-resolution images suitable for printing, view your filters and tilt-shift effects live, the addition of four new filters and the ability to toggle borders on and off. The entire camera interface has been redesigned as well.
The new camera interface will be the biggest change for regular users of Instagram as you can now make many of your image choices on the fly. In the new interface you can toggle your filter borders on and off using the option in the upper left corner, this means that you can use a filter’s effect without forcing you to use the faux-film or ‘sloppy’ borders that used to come attached.
The normal flash and camera flip options are also available, but there is also now two live options for you. You can apply a tilt-shift effect in realtime by tapping the droplet button and choosing circular or linear. Then you can manipulate the effect on the screen as you would normally do after you shoot it. Once you’ve adjusted the mask, the main view will update to show you how the blur will affect your image.
In a huge move, you can now also apply filters in realtime. This means that you can see how your final image will look with the filter applied before you even shoot it. This is super cool. You can still, of course, just shoot the image, then scroll through your filters to select it. You can also choose to change the filter that you select after the fact if you wish.
You can also rotate your images after you shoot them, score for those times when the iPhone’s orientation sensor is off.
Instagram has also added four new filters to the range available to users: Amaro, Rise, Hudson and Valencia. These were developed in conjunction with popular Instagram user and photographer Cole Rise.
In addition to the flagship changes there are also a bunch of speed improvements, the whole application is much, much faster across the board. The way Instagram is using low resolution previews to allow you to manipulate your images in realtime is really magnificent, a must-see effect.
You can also now choose to save your images at 1936×1936 pixels on the iPhone 4 and 1536×1536 on the iPhone 3GS as opposed to the lower 612×612 that it used to offer. This bump in resolution means that you can now make nice large prints, most likely up to about 16×16 or even bigger, of your Instagram photos. The previous resolution was pretty anemic and I only ever managed to eke out 5″ prints from it reliably.
A nice new icon tops off the changes in the new version.
This update is a big one and a definite speed improvement for any user. I use Instagram as one of my primary photography apps on the iPhone so the higher resolution and increased speed are a welcome addition.
To be honest though, I’m not a huge fan of the new filter looks, they’re pretty lame looking compared to the older style, I think it’s the rounded corners on the icons and the uncharacteristically modern look of the mirrored and drop-shadowed dock that they sit on. For an app that is very much centered on appealing to those interested in Lomo photography, it’s a puzzling choice.
Aside from the aesthetics of the live filter dock though, this is a very satisfying update that should improve the speed and usability of Instagram across the board.
You can grab the new version of Instagram on the App Store here.