iOS & Mac reviews Reviews

Instagram 2.0 review: Insta-grumble

I used to love Instagram, but the 2.0 update has killed so much of what I loved, it’s hard to stomach

(UPDATE: March, 2012; over time, and with updates to the app, my opinions on Instagram 2.x have changed somewhat; I just posted my updated thoughts on what’s new, what’s changed and what hasn’t – you can read them here. And now, back to the article you wanted to read in the first place…)

Instagram has been my favourite iPhone photo app for about a year now. It doesn’t have the nebulous wealth of filter options of PictureShow or the ubiquitous Hipstamatic but it’s simple, effective, social and fun; the dozen or so filters are varied and distinct; it includes a tilt-shift effect; it exports with just one tap of ‘Save’ to a good variety of sites simultaneously; and it has it’s own little version of Twitter in the Instagram feed where you follow friends or strangers whose Instagrams you appreciate, which works very well.

This week it got a significant 2.0 update adding new filters, live filter and tilt-shift previews before you take your photo, and the option to remove the borders which can change the feel of an image dramatically. It’s also faster and saves much bigger images. Overall that’s a fantastic bunch of new features to add to my favourite photo app.

However, before long something felt very amiss and on closer examination I discovered that I really don’t like it so much after all.

What’s not being mentioned in the press coverage but hasn’t escaped many users on Twitter is that the update also removes three perfectly good filters, Apollo, Poprocket and Gotham; the remaining filters have all been tweaked and feel somehow less than they were – a couple are almost completely different now; most frustratingly the tilt-shift effect has lost a crucial editing option so that at certain settings the effect is ugly to the point of being unusable.

Pictures speak louder than words

I deleted Instagram 2.0 from my iPhone shortly after updating and synced the prior version from my iTunes computer so I could do a comparison of the two as I suspect plenty people will be interested (read how to do this here). Even if you’re not that bothered about these changes you might be surprised by some of them.

First of all, here’s the example image I’m using in it’s original state, along with the 3 filters that have been removed:

Clockwise from top left: original, Apollo, Poprocket & Gotham

These were all pretty good. I didn’t use Poprocket so much, but Apollo was lovely. Gotham in particular offered a high contrast alternative to Inkwell and was especially good for bright, low contrast scenes (for a better example, see my photo here). Now there is only Inkwell remaining for B&W aficionados and anyone who likes their B&W moody and punchy is out of luck.

Now let’s look at the four new additions:

Clockwise from top left: Amaro, Rise, Hudson, Valencia

I can see the variations but seriously, are Amaro, Rise and Valencia anywhere near different enough to each other? Even using this one scene, the removed filters were far more distinctive.

Next, the old and new tilt-shift screens and resulting effect. Look carefully at the transition control.

Tilt shift controls
Tilt-shift results (original & 2.0)

Both versions allow you to set the size, angle and location of the ‘in focus’ area but the old version also allowed you to feather the transition from soft to sharp and back again using the slider to move the secondary outlines around the focus zone. The new version does not give you this control. Instead, as you pinch to expand or contract the focus zone the app respectively softens or hardens the transition but even at it’s widest it’s pretty noticeable.

In the above example shots the focus zone is the exact same size but I’ve been able to feather the transition in the original version, on the left. If you click on the image to see it larger you’ll notice the new version created a transition that so hard it’s pretty much unusable.

And now the pièce de résistance or, in the Queen’s English, ‘the piece of resistance’:

Filter comparisons

XPro II (original & 2.0)

The new XPro II is a little brighter and contrast is reduced, and in the sky you’ll see that the colour toning is very different.

Lomo-fi (original & 2.0)

Lomo-fi is also a little darker but with more shadow detail (reduced contrast). The characteristic blown highlights are gone, leaving something with much less character.

Earlybird now has more shadow detail but is somehow flatter and yellower. (UPDATE: as you’ll read below, this is also the only filter that the Instagram guys have acknowledged is different, for some reason)

Sutro (original & 2.0)

Sutro: where do you start? This isn’t even the same filter any more.

Toaster (original & 2.0)

Toaster is another one with reduced contrast. The original seemed to glow out of the centre and this one is very flat with a hint of a blue wash.

Brannan (original & 2.0)

Brannan feels largely the same; I’d say this one of the few examples of an improvement, with a bit of extra detail and toning in the highlights, and it’s almost imperceptibly punchier.

Inkwell (original & 2.0)

Inkwell is the only B&W filter on offer now. It’s been brightened slightly which brings out some shadow detail but blows the sky in this shot. I’d say this is an improvement on the previous, flatter version but the lack of a punchier B&W alternative is a real shame.

Walden (original & 2.0)

The new Walden a kind of yellow wash that flattens the contrast, and has lost it’s subtle but pleasing desaturation. It’s quite different.

Hefe (original & 2.0)

Hefe is now a little darker and has lost it’s characteristic warmth.

Nashville (original & 2.0)

Nashville had a nice washed out 80s fashion photo feel. The new version has lost that and is too contrasty as a result.

1977 (original & 2.0)

1977 also used to have a washed out feeling but has lost it and increased in contrast like Nashville. Notice also that the textures in the original version (see the ‘film blotches’ about two thirds of the way up on either side) are absent in the new version, I’m thinking because they didn’t play nice with the live previews.

Lord Kelvin (original & 2.0)

Lord Kelvin (or just Kelvin as it’s known now) is completely different. This is such a departure that it really made me think about any possible technical reason to make these changes.

Across the board distinctive elements of each filter have been compromised. Filters that were washed out are now more contrasty. Filters that were contrasty are now more washed out. They’ve all drifted towards the same look.

Instagram said that all the filters have been completely re-written to work with the new live preview system and to output far higher resolution images, and it seems to me the re-writes just haven’t nailed the original look. I have a feeling this may be for technical reasons, that the new engine for live preview just can’t support certain features like textures. I suppose it’s also possible the Instagram guys wanted to make some tweaks deliberately but if they did then that’s not cool in my opinion. Users preferring the social side may not mind much, but I had some favourite filters that just don’t feel the same at all and I know I’m not alone.

The higher resolution output also contributes subtly to the loss of character. Instagram seeks to replicate old school film and camera effects which almost all thrive on their lack of perfection. The original version’s lower res lent a barely perceptible softness to the finer details which helped sell their retro film pretensions, a quality which is noticeable now by it’s absence. Every image Instagram 2.0 produces is as full of detail as the original image and that’s a problem. If there was a way to cheat a little imperfection back into the details somehow that would be interesting.

But the big problems are the changes to the filters and the tilt-shift tool. I think the latter is something that could and definitely should be changed and if you’re reading this, guys, that would be awesome. However the filters have been changed, and for whatever reason, they just aren’t quite on the money yet, some painfully so.

And as for the new filters, they feel so similar in tone that the loss of the Instagram Three is even more keenly felt as they were so full of character, something which the whole selection now seems to lack a little of.

For the time being I think I’m going to go back to the last version I have saved in iTunes (again, instructions here). I know I haven’t ever had to pay anything to use this app and so it’s not like I’m particularly entitled to ‘my’ app, but I didn’t really take the Instagram guys to be the iOS incarnation of George Lucas either – and I still don’t really because I love the app too much. I’m hoping they hear some of the feedback and see what they can do with it.


22nd September: The @instagram Twitter account just posted this link to notice of an update to 2.1 coming soon. Two notes relevant to this review:

Earlybird looks more like old version
In v2.0, the Earlybird filter was altered slightly. This was unintentional and in v2.1 we’ve restored the filter back to its original state.

Tilt-shift has softer cutoff
We noticed the blur on tilt-shift in v2.0 was more intense when applied after capture. In v2.1, we’ve made the tilt-shift preview consistent between screens and less intense.

I’m surprised that Earlybird is the one being singled out given how different nearly all the other filters are. I also don’t think there’s any need to do anything with the tilt-shift except put the transition/gradient slider back in.


25th September: I notice now that the Instagram support page contains a couple of references to both the missing filters and the Tiltshift gradient tool:

I can’t find the Gotham, Poprocket, or Apollo filters
The Gotham, Poprocket and Apollo filters were replaced by 4 new filters in V2.0 of Instagram. We understand that there are fans of these filters in the Instagram community and in future releases we hope to introduce improved versions that capture the essence of these filters.

I can’t adjust the tilt shift gradient
In designing the new camera interface, we strived to keep the app as simple as possible. In keeping with this, we thought it was a reasonable tradeoff to remove the ability to adjust the tilt shift effect. If you have feedback on this feature, we’d appreciate if you could send us an email with details.

I’ve sent a detailed but polite email to them outlining my main concerns with the filters, the live preview feature and the tilt-shift tool and if you feel strongly about any of these I would encourage you to do the same – but do be polite! Nobody responds well to an angry or abusive email.


September 26th: I mention in the comments below that you can’t change a filter after you shoot like you used to be able to, and that having to choose before you shoot ruins the spontaneity. I’ve been playing with the app today and I’m happy and a trifle sheepish to admit

I was wrong!

You can choose a filter before you shoot if you want but after you shoot you can also change your choice, so it’s the best of both worlds.

This large oversight of mine actually makes me slightly less disappointed in the update. But only a little bit, mind… 😉

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to comment on anything I’m @myglasseye on Twitter.

By myglasseye

I'm a Glasgow-born stills photographer and camera operator living and working in London, UK. As well as cameras I'm into writing, gaming, general geekery and beers by Brew Dog.

71 replies on “Instagram 2.0 review: Insta-grumble”

I agree. There might be technical reasons for the changes in the filters, but I see lack of good taste with this update. IG has lost what made it unique. I hope they are able to recognize this. Thanks for the comparisons.

This is a great article and I couldnt agree more, seeing the side by side comparisons is also quite useful, honestly I can’t really understand the use of the live preview, as it was always best to start win a clean source and see what looked best… Given the fax that the live preview has handicapped the app in so many ways I don’t get why they thought it was a good idea…. Unfortunately for me I do not have the rollback saved – am I completely out of luck?

Thanks for the great article and hopefully they will address the issues

I completely agree about the usefulness of the live preview – I was thinking about this last night and realised that actually it means taking a photo takes longer – you can’t just grab Instagram, snap the shot and then pick a look. Well, you can but it means shooting with the Apple camera first and loading in the shot. But then the filters are so weak now. Boooo!

Great post! It is awesome to be able to see all the changes like that.

Surprised people aren’t talking about the new UI and how ugly it is! The old version had a great UI and icons for the filters. The shoes were cool and creative – the tree? huh? Also as a designer and photographer what drives me crazy is the fact that they are on top of the photo so you can’t get a full frame of the photo with the border.

I luckily was able to get the old version back on my phone so I can relax a bit 😉 Hopefully they will be responsive, listen to the community and get back on track!

Yeah, the new icons to represent the filters are dreadful. The previous icons of black shoes on a white background, which seemed bizarre at the time, were actually far more representative of the final effect.

Excellent review—you’ve managed to hit on nearly every issue I have with IG 2.0. I’ve also downgraded to the previous version.

To piggyback on what Hilary mentioned regarding the filter icons, I find it very frustrating that it’s not possible to scroll through the options without simultaneously applying a different filter to the image. I usually have an idea of which 2 or 3 filters I’d like to consider (say, Sutro or Hefe), and I’ll toggle between the two to compare. With the new version, just swiping to the next screen of filters applies the first one you tap! This might seem like a small point, but it’s very distracting.

Actually that’s a great point and at roughly the same time as you were posting I was discovering this issue for myself. I thought I’d just give it one more chance in different surroundings but every filter is so weak, it just feels like a digital photo with some mild toning.

Anyway, I wanted to compare a couple of different filters to each other and experienced that issue, that each tap on an icon to slide the row along activates that filter, meaning I couldn’t compare Valencia with Rise, for example.

I believe many of these issues could be addressed if put to the team, but I reckon the filters themselves are gone unless they do away with the live preview system.

You wrote it pretty well. Totally agree with you!!

Wish the Instagram guys would take your concerns seriously.

Hi – Thorough and interesting review. I don’t use IG (downloaded and soon deleted it), but as a photographer who at least sees a lot of IG photos (and as someone who with every new and irritating update considers installing an eight-year-old version of itunes and seeing how that goes), I thought I’d offer the perspective of someone whose eye isn’t any more accustomed to one version of these filters than another.

So: based mostly on the examples here, Earlybird, Toaster, and Walden look better in the “old” version; all the others look better in the new one. One of the issues you bring up is that the new ones are too similar, but the old versions of the updated ones, with the consistent yellow cast, are maybe even more homogeneous.

The new Inkwell looks far better than either of the old b/w filters (which look like opposite ends of an initial test strip), so I think the designers have done the right thing, there. Of course it would be nice to have some choice, but the Gotham filter doesn’t look high-contrast or punchy or moody to me, it just looks muddy. It would make more sense to add a high-contrast and low-contrast b/w with Inkwell in the middle.

The Apollo filter looks quite pleasant in your example, so I can see why a user would be sorry to see it go.

Anyway just a different take, since it’s easy to think that what you’re accustomed to is better or makes more sense than something new. The shoes vs. trees thing is a good example.

I understand the point you’re making. I had a very similar conversation with Cole Rise on Twitter last night. Apparently he is ‘famous’ on the Instagram social scene and so was asked to create some of the new filters for Instagram. I happen to think they are particularly subtle and hardly distinguishable from each other. Perhaps they look better in the Californian sun, they certainly add very little to shots taken in the overcast UK, that’s for sure! 😉

Anyway, his point was that he liked filters like Apollo the first time, and then the novelty wore off. He seemed to be saying that Instagram (for whom he does not speak, nor represent, he was just surmising) probably decided to weaken the filters on purpose because “subtlety equals longevity”, that in the long term people will prefer to use weaker less distinctive filters because, and I’m extrapolating here, users will tire of them otherwise and they will become a cliche.

I sort of agree that in the long term the current trend for making photos look retro might die out. It’s been going for quite a few years now so I doubt that day is coming any time soon, but I get that people move on and try other things. I myself moved from Hipstamatic to Instagram for two reasons – firstly there’s far, far too many filter options in Hipstamatic. Secondly, they’re almost all far too heavy and they become very obviously ‘Hipstamatic shots’.

I don’t feel Instagram has the same problem. I don’t see it becoming a cliche in the future because the filters are much lighter than Hipstamatic’s. I happen to disagree with your verdict of Gotham. The heavy contrasty nature of Gotham suits some photos more than others which is why I posted two examples of it – one that looks a mess, and one where it undoubtedly improved the shot. That there is now only one, not especially distinctive B&W filter in a photo processing app that has no editable options, only pre-set filters, is a bizarre design decision, we both agree.

I also disagree that filters such as Sutro now look ‘better’, because it’s subjective. More accurately, it looks different. It could honestly be a new filter alongside the original Sutro, it looks so different. You may prefer it and that’s fine, but that doesn’t mean it should have been changed. Don’t dramatically change the stuff that your users like, unless you’re Apple and the stuff is a 3.5″ disk drive or an optical drive or a firewire port or Final Cut Pro… 😉

At the end of the day, there are numerous problems with this update and the filter weakness is just one of them. There’s also the up-ending of the workflow (now I have to stand there swiping through filters trying to pick one that doesn’t make me cry a little inside before I can take my photo whereas previously I could take my photo then pick a filter in my own time) and the removal of the tilt shift options (which by their own admission resulted from them second-guessing their users and assuming we’d prefer to have less options getting in the way, and has resulted in an unusably ugly tilt shift effect) and the way you can’t swipe along the filter list to compare distant filters directly without activating other filters on the way.

But changing the filters so dramatically not because they couldn’t get them quite right when they re-did them, but because they think the users who love them the way they are are wrong is just rude. If I had chosen a brand of film and a type of chemical processing because I liked the end result that combination produced, I would not be happy if the manufacturers decided that it would be better for the future of photography to just change aspects of the film and chemical so that those effects were not possible any more.

That is what Instagram seems to have done. They made their name with filters that everyone loves and now they’ve got their feet under the table they’ve changed those filters because ‘they know better’ (apparently). How is that any way to treat users? What they should have done were they so worried about their filters looking corny in the future was to introduce some new filters that are more subtle – for example, the four that Cole Rise created. They should have added those and left the other ones the way they are. Give the user a choice.

(I still think that the live preview feature is as much to blame for the change in the filters as Instagram’s desire to take away what we came to the party for, but they haven’t explained why they did it yet so I’m just guessing)

I’ve been playing with the app today and have noticed you can continue to select different filters after you’ve taken the photo, meaning you don’t necessarily have to pick it before you shoot.

This is quite an oversight which actually makes me ever so slightly less disappointed in the update. But only a little bit… 😉

I think the same of John Gruber: you have made Instagram less fun.

Please give us the old Instagram! We loved it. And we don’t love Instagram as such as before.

Sincerely, one of your users.

Agreed 100%. I scroll through the effects a few times and find the change b/w each one minimal. Used to be able to quickly decide on a fun effect.

Nailed it. Before, the app was 6 stars out of a possible 5 (even with its flaws & limitations). Now? 1 star, maybe. If this was they had launched originally, there is NO way it would have been such a hit.

While, technically, from a post-processing point of view, the images may be more well processed, they did it in a manner to suck the soul and character from its charming flaws. There is NOTHING to like here, this is worse than New Coke. This is now a forgettable app its present state.

Hopefully this gets fixed, or I will revert as well. It is unusable in its present form.

uh.. you’ve always been able to select the filters afterwards.. you just had to hit the little eye icon in the bottom.

Also, you dont have to select a filter when taking the photo initially.. its just an option.

I don’t think they understand what they’ve done here. People had attachments to certain filters. For me, it was mainly Nashville; but now… meh, i’m not bothered anymore. I probably wont use instagram. I was never a heavy user, but still, i’m not bothered to relearn which filter gives what affect.

You’re absolutely right, and I’m absolutely wrong.I’d focussed too much on the live preview and not realised you could change them again. I was having more of a play with it again yesterday and noticed it for myself and posted a quick update. Perhaps I should do the line-thru thing in the text so people aren’t misled.

Thanks for the overview. I’ve been super frustrated with the new filters—it’s good to have these side-by-side comparisons to speak to.

The 2.0 filters—especially the new ones—feel very contemporary, there’s a lot of similar stuff happening on Flickr these days. What they remind me of most is current trends in wedding photography. Some photos work great with them but even the successes feel less fun and less exciting. And when it doesn’t quite work it feels like the photographer is just not very good at photoshop—not a very kind result.

What I loved about OG IG is that it felt like a toy—but a toy that you could push to transcend it’s toyness. The challenge was always to try to overcome the potential gimmickyness of the filters and create something truly awesome.

I disagree about the new Brannan—that filter was my JAM and now I barely touch it. It’s too yellow and the border … OH THE BORDER. The thicker border really hobbles it. They also added (or increased significantly) a vignette to it which totally sunk it for the kind of photos I take.

Though I’ve come to appreciate some of the new filters (I love the new 1977—almost never use the old one), I was and still am super annoyed by the changes. I had shot w/ IG enough that I knew the filters well: I had an idea when I took a photo which filter would work best and really grew to love how some of them worked with my specific style of photography. I had a relationship to them like any artist has with their tools.

The annoyance was doubled because when they released the new version they didn’t mention that the filters had changed! As an IG die-hard it hurt to not have that part even acknowledged.

The other problems with the workflow really get to me, too; as mentioned above the filter selection method doesn’t allow for A-B comparisons and the filter drawer steps on the edge of the photos.

In general the update feels tone-deaf, like the team didn’t get what worked about Instagram before.

I’m so glad I found this post (through Daring Fireball). Seeing the side-by-side comparisons is what sealed it for me – I’m going back to Instagram 1.0. I hate what they’ve done with the new filters, the fact that they removed three really cool ones, and yes the NEW filters are almost indistinguishable. And commenters are right about the interface, too – I miss the sneakers! I liked the old UI!

So disappointed in Instagram. They had a great thing going…why did they mess it up so badly?

I thought there was something wrong with many of these filters, but couldn’t put my finger on it. Thanks for the detailed side-by-side comparison.

I’m not generally one who dislikes change, but in this case, almost all the changes to the filters were for the worse. And why get rid of three of the most distinct filters? I rarely used poprocket, but when I did it was striking.

Hopefully others are letting Instagram know their feeling. Thanks for the great writeup.

I’m glad someone has taken the time to do the proper comparison to really point out what (in my opinion) are flaws in Instagram 2.0. I’ve played around with 2.0 a bit, and it just doesn’t quite hold up to the original release.

I’m also very surprised that more people haven’t made more of a fuss about the new UI design, as I think it has taken a few steps back from the original. Although the new design is functional, it is a lot less fun to navigate through and doesn’t keep me coming back like the original.

Couldn’t have said this better, and totally agree with you.

Instagram has lost its soul. I’m compelled to email them about this. What a shame.

Think they’ve missed the mark on this one completely. They should’ve focused more on social improvements. The filters are what people love, and what make the app. You’ve gotta back that up with some crazy good shit if you’re going to change it, and v2 just isn’t an improvement.

Thanks for taking the time to write what everyone is thinking.

All gripes with the filters aside, I dislike that they removed the functionality that saved a copy of each shared photo to your local library. Going to the image in your feed, copying the URL, switching to Safari, pasting the URL and saving the image is a poor workaround. Needless to say, I’ve already downgraded.

Aaron B: Actually the ‘not saving to the photo reel any more’ is a bug (along with the black screen bug some people are getting). Instagram guys are aware of it according to their support pages and it’s going to be fixed. I never experienced it but heard that for some people fixing it was as simple as going to the Settings app and turning the saving options buttons to Off then On again.

Excellent piece. I also agree with Anna: not being able to scroll through the filters without applying them seems a small but significant step backwards. Toggling between two or three filters was easily the best way to compare the different results. I can’t do that any more. It feels like one of the tools that made Instagram such a joy to use has been taken away.

I also miss Gotham, a LOT. It was a filter that broadened the palette significantly. They new ones feel too similar – Instagram 2.0 feels like it’s had the brass section taken away to be replaced with three more kinds of woodwind.

Overall, it’s a good update – mainly because of the increased resolution, which takes it to a different level. The ability to remove the frames and borders makes it feel more grown-up, too: most of them were just gimmicky. It feels like Instagram 2.0 is overall a more grown-up version: hence the subtlety that makes some of the filters feels so samey, I suppose. But I hope we get the brass section back.

Great alternative approach, that. I can appreciate the need for some subtler looks and it’s great to lose frames at will, but yeah i want my filters of old back. The brass section! 🙂

You say that like nobody has a right to comment on things they are Interested in unless it’s threatening the safety of humanity, which is pretty blinkered. Enjoy spending your day criticising people on the net for having an opinion – it must occupy an awful lot of your time!

Owen thanks for the write-up. I came here via Daring Fireball so it’s also nice to see your site is still operating 😉 I was just complaining to my wife about the sameness of the new filter set. Your a-b comparisons were enlightening. I knew that even the “old” filters had changes but didn’t realize how drastic they were.

I couldn’t agree more with your review.

I would like to add one of my biggest annoyances with the new Instagram update.
When I used to add a filter to an image I would view my favourites and decide which one best suited the image. A lot of the time this involved comparing the effects of two or more filters consecutively.
This I now cannot do as the filter bar along the bottom does not allow you to select a filter and then scroll through and select another filter without selecting every one in-between. This is really annoying when trying to compare two, non consecutive filters.

Yeah they’re activated as they pass the central spot aren’t they? However they used to do it worked well, perhaps they could try switching back to that method and just highlight a filter when it’s selected rather than needing it to be in the centre.

That’s a fair point but you can also use it with long transitions to create some subtle, natural-looking depth of field, or a sort of blur vignette around the edge. It’s a good tool to have, I think. How it’s used is a different story 😉

Excellent post, I knew things were all kinds of off in this new update but it was one of those things you couldn’t put your finger on until you see it all laid out like this side by side. I miss original Hefe!

I also agree with your review/findings on v2 update. Improvements are great if they do not take away any functionality or negatively alter the existing user experience. I’m afraid this update did just that. Of course I love the fact that you can now save higher res. pictures, have live previews and new filters etc., but messing around and altering established filters and making the tilt shift/blur effect unusable is just not on. Please please please Instagram, admit you made a mistake and rectify this update as soon as possible. I for one will not be using it until its fixed.

I don’t really understand why they couldn’t just add a couple of filters to the old ones and tweak the tiltshift etc. Getting the perfect filter is a lot like looking for a needle in a haystack, and I’m slightly outraged about them “upgrading” particularly the ones I used most. I am not a happy camper..

Sorry IG team, downgrading

Thank you so much for writing this, by the way. The comparison is most excellent.

Ah, very interesting! (The Cole Rice/longevity thing.) So the idea was to improve the filters with the input of a user, and that user’s thinking was to go subtle. Since most people contributing to the discussion here probably found the post because they and/or someone else didn’t like the update, the discussion is pretty slanted, to put it mildly – it would be interesting to know (from IG?) what the overally response to the changes has been. . . As to why not add new the filters and leave the old ones, I suspect the reason is the same thing you (owen-b) said about Hipstamatic – the result would be too many filters.

I have a question: there’s almost no mention here of the increased resolution (just twice I think, both positive). One of the things I found interesting about IG was the small image size – consigning the images to a web/phone/etc. environment, making it clear what medium they’re meant to be seen through, and also, maybe, contributing to a certain attitude in image making and exchange – pictures that are ephemeral, images that accumulate and circulate through a network but don’t have an indefinite number of applications on account of the small file size, etc. I wonder if anyone misses that aspect, or what the rational was for upping the image size?

[…] From Owen Billcliffe of My Glass Eye: What’s not being mentioned in the press coverage but hasn’t escaped many users on Twitter is that the update also removes three perfectly good filters, Apollo, Poprocket and Gotham; the remaining filters have all been tweaked and feel somehow less than they were – a couple are almost completely different now; most frustratingly the tilt-shift effect has lost a crucial editing option so that at certain settings the effect is ugly to the point of being unusable. […]

This was an excellent article. I felt, almost right away, that something was funny about the filters in 2.0. Now, thanks to your comparison, I see the difference. I’m going to downgrade to my saved version of 1.x.
By the way, daniel, that’s a good point about the resolution. It feels slower to upload and I’ve had a few too many times it fails. #Instagrumble

Another example of a completely clueless company who thinks users need them rather than the other way around. Instagram makes sharing of images easy – but the what the morons in charge don’t understand is that it’s through the filters that the users make their emotional connection to the world that they are sharing.

Instagram is dead.

I noticed this too. Redownloaded Hipstamatic, and the filters are now of so much higher quality there, compared to Instagram 2.0. I’ll probably use that one instead now, or some other app for this.

I don’t think the Instagram team will have an easy time reverting these changes, since their new live engine probably don’t support the details giving the filters character, and just the “big picture” of the respective filters.

So no high hopes here. Good there are many fun options. 🙂

Great write up! Thanks for the side by side comparison.
Shame with that we lost the trio filters. What ticked me first was that IG didn’t say anything about these changes ‘before’ they had the upgrade.
I think many people would’ve been happier if they told us what have changed so that they could make an informed decision whether to upgrade or not, rather than scrambling to restore the old one.

Having said that @kevin himself told me that we should move forward and he promises to work hard towards more cool stuff (check it out here

Btwy, one last thing that has changed is that we are not able anymore to save the filtered photo without uploading it (without doing a workaround), which was a nice ‘back-door’ on the old version.


I also restored the old version. The feathering option for Tilt-Shift was the most often used filter for me.

Removing the ability to save the filtered image without uploading to IG is very frustrating.

Also who would use live preview anyway, 99% of the time you shoot first, then apply filter. The light or that expression on someone’s face will not wait while you trying out the filters. Absolutely useless feature.

maybe after Brbn has collected tons o’ funding, some stupid venture capitalist is now forcing them to water down the app, in order to make it more “commercial”. if that’s the case, we’re screwed.

um, i think the Looo Fi & XPro II definitely improved. the old versions are too dark & high contrast.

Good review. Well-written. A bit biased perhaps? I started using IG with v2.0 and must say that I’m happy about the changes of filters. I didn’t like most of the originals in the side-by-side comparison.

Probably a question of habit?

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