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XNRetro – turn your crisp focused photos into blurred retro and impress your friends [Freeware]


We have to confess to being rather confused by the current retro image fetish which seems to have started around the time Instagram hit the streets. So what’s it about? Is it because our digital cameras are too perfect, and we hate perfection? Or is it an unconscious desire to travel back to a past era when men were men and cameras were erratic and untrustworthy?

Whatever the reason, the result has been a bunch of software applications for returning your pristine photographs to a grungy past, complete with lighting artifacts and clunky vignetting. XNRetro is one of the latest products, and interestingly enough it’s not just a phone app.


The free software, which lets you select from a range of preset retro special effects, including lighting, frames and vignette, runs not just on iPhone and Android, but also comes in desktop computer versions for Mac, Linux and Windows. Truly a splendid effort.

You get 20 effects, and if that’s not enough, you can manually tweak each effect to produce exactly the type of image you desire, including adding additional noise. What a laugh. Here’s most camera manufacturers trying desperately to remove as much noise as possible from photographs, and a bunch of people insist on sticking it back into the photos for artistic reasons.

We’re a weird bunch.

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