Argentum Camera –
a black & white camera app for iOS on a mission to revive the joy of taking a shot.

Personal project
Year:
2016 – present

A personal project, Argentum Camera is an award winning black & white camera app for iOS built with street photographers in mind that creates stunning images inspired by the classics of black & white photography.

My role

Concept, design and continuous support

Part of a two people team, I am responsible for the overall concept of the app, user research, functional roadmap, UX and UI design, as well as ongoing customer support.

The story

Photography has been a passion of mine since high school. I went through stages of shooting mostly with point and shoots, film, experiments with studio setups and heavy DSLR gear. In the recent years I’ve been shifting more and more into street photography and naturally taking more shots with an iPhone.

I love street photos in black & white, and was surprised that when looking for a camera app to use on a daily basis I faced a pool of complex shooting apps that required fiddling with a multitude of settings and editors that, albeit flexible, needed serious time investment to get to a final photo. I couldn’t find a camera app that would focus on a black & white look, have real-time preview and didn’t require reading a manual to start using it. So, together with my partner I decided to make a camera app that would fit all my needs.

Argentum Camera was concepted as a camera-only app that would bring back the focus to the moment of taking a shot. No need for complicated adjustments or post-processing.

The interface

Inspired by the classical film cameras from the 70s and 80s, Argentum’s interface is simple, but functional, a balance between the modern sleekness and the classical forms.

It is the first camera interface made with the now ubiquitous larger iPhones in mind. In the landscape mode the interface adapts to the shift in the handling moving the shutter button to the end of the panel placing it right under the photographer's thumb.

The interface

Inspired by the classical film cameras from the 70s and 80s, Argentum’s interface is simple, but functional, a balance between the modern sleekness and the classical forms.

It is the first camera interface made with the now ubiquitous larger iPhones in mind. In the landscape mode the interface adapts to the shift in the handling moving the shutter button to the end of the panel placing it right under the photographer's thumb.

The brightness of the shutter button adapts to lighting conditions making it visible in any kind of light.

The narrow bar in the bottom changes color depending on the amount of free space.

The EV compensation scale reminiscent of the classical cameras look makes it easier to select the exact value for your shot.

With the shift in handling the shutter button slides right under the photographer's thumb. The brightness adapts to lighting conditions making it visible in any kind of light.

The narrow bar in the bottom changes its color depending on the amount of free space.

The EV compensation scale reminiscent of the classical cameras look makes it easier to select the exact value for your shot.

The filters

Argentum creates black-and-white photos through one of six filters. Each inspired by the classics of black-and-white photography: Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Irving Penn, Garry Winogrand, Yousuf Karsh and Dorothea Lange.

A connection of each black-and-white look to the style of an iconic photographer helps set the right mood and inspire Argentum photographers to focus on the subject they’re shooting.

The shooting modes

Argentum is rich in functionality that encourages photographers to fully concentrate on the creative process. Two additional shooting modes form a versatile experience matching photographer’s current mood and end goal.

A shot in a matter of a split second

Speed shooting mode is fully automatic and turns the whole screen into a shutter button. This mode can be activated by a shake of the phone.

Inspiring artistic experimentation

Double exposure mode lets you superimpose two different images in a single photo with real-time preview.

A shot in a matter of a split second

Speed shooting mode is fully automatic and turns the whole screen into a shutter button. This mode can be activated by a shake of the phone.

Inspiring artistic experimentation

Double exposure mode lets you superimpose two different images in a single photo with real-time preview.

The special features

Instant preview

Instant preview freezes the photo that was just taken for a split second on the screen letting you glance over it right after pressing the shutter button.


A second or even less is just enough time to validate the light and focus is on point in the shot.

Sleep timer

Nothing is worse for a photographer than a missed opportunity. With the Sleep timer on, Argentum goes to standby after a certain time of inactivity. The screen dims, saving the battery, and blocks all controls so the iPhone can be carried around freely without waking the camera back up.


When that perfect photo moment comes around one press on a volume button gets the camera up and running in just 0.2 seconds.

Instant preview

Instant preview freezes the photo that was just taken for a split second on the screen letting you glance over it right after pressing the shutter button.


A second or even less is just enough time to validate the light and focus is on point in the shot.

Sleep timer

Nothing is worse for a photographer than a missed opportunity. With the Sleep timer on, Argentum goes to standby after a certain time of inactivity. The screen dims, saving the battery, and blocks all controls so the iPhone can be carried around freely without waking the camera back up.


When that perfect photo moment comes around one press on a volume button gets the camera up and running in just 0.2 seconds.

The tech

Speed

Argentum image processing and saving algorithms are optimized to the point where making a photo on the latest iPhones takes about 0.2 seconds. So when you press a shutter button to take one photo the camera instantly becomes ready to take the next one.

Reliability

Argentum makes sure that if the photo capturing process has reached the saving to the file system stage the photo won’t get lost even if the process is interrupted, the iPhone is switched off for example. When Argentum is restarted it will recover the image and finalize the process.

Live photos

Argentum is the only black and white camera app that supports Live Photos with real-time processing that works as smoothly as with still photos.

Speed

Argentum image processing and saving algorithms are optimized to the point where making a photo on the latest iPhones takes about 0.2 seconds. So when you press a shutter button to take one photo the camera instantly becomes ready to take the next one.

Reliability

Argentum makes sure that if the photo capturing process has reached the saving to the file system stage the photo won’t get lost even if the process is interrupted, the iPhone is switched off for example. When Argentum is restarted it will recover the image and finalize the process.

Live photos

Argentum is the only black and white camera app that supports Live Photos with real-time processing that works as smoothly as with still photos.

The loyal audience

While Argentum hasn’t reached the top of the AppStore just yet, it did acquire a loyal and very outspoken audience of photographers who use it every day. So far there have been over 120.000 photos taken with Argentum all over the world and some of the photographers went as far as to include Argentum made photos into their exhibitions.

Check out some of the nice things people said about Argentum Camera on the AppStore.

Next Project: The Kissing Bills

non-profit, Art direction