Instagram filters before and after the 2.0 update
Many users in in my instagram feed have reported displeasure with the update of their most popular filters. Most fuzz have been on the very popular Earlybird and Brannan filters - so much that instagram responded quickly with an minor update revamping the two filters.
I still don’t find the update totally satisfying and quickly reverted back to the earlier version after updating, but before reverting I made this test to see if I was over reacting and to find out how big the changes actually are.
So I made the picture to the right to test all the filters with it.
On these following pictures the previous versions are to the left and the updated filters are to the right.
X-Pro have been changed in vignetting and contrast resulting in flat higlights in the corners but with harder effect in the midtones and shadows. The yellow has been washed of the highlights - taking away some of the character.
Because of the contrast being slightly lowered, the filter is now a bit more useful for darker situations. The border is intact.
The contrast is now a little bit lower, giving it more tones in the middle. The whites have gotten a slightly warm tone. There is something strange going on with the vignette effect, it affects the shadows more than the highlights - personally I prefer when vinjetting is added after contrast. The border is intact.
Earlybird has already gone thrue a revamp to match the previous version. It is much better now but still looks a little bit different then the previous version. In the update it’s a little bit more saturated, mainly in the highlights. The vignette is a little bit lighter and the over all tones slightly less redish. The border is intact.
This filter has the same effect on the vignette - looks like contrast is now added after the vignette instead of before as in the previous version. The overall image appears darker and. The shadows and mids have more blueish tones and the highlights is warmer. The texture has been removed - I can agree that it was a bit to visible in the previous but I would have prefered a lowering of intensity rather than a complete elimination. The border is intact.
Toaster have hade the same changes to the vignetting and contrast as Lomo-Fi and Sutro, here resulting in totally flat higlights in the corners. There is something strange going on in the 75% area and the gradient below, towards the 85% area. It looks like a drop in the blue channel adding a bit too much yellow in the lower midtones. It could also be the warm shine in the middle causing this, perhaps the blending mode of the shine could be changed to avoid the yellow darkening in the midtones. The border is intact.
Brannan is my most used filter and even thou it’s been going thrue a revamp just as Earlybird I still feel that it’s not what it used to be.
At first glance it looks quite similar but there are still some differences. When comparing the 100% white area one notice that this new version have gotten a litte bit colder and brighter. The shadow tones around 85% is a little bit darker and more saturated while the highlights around 25% is lighter and slightly more saturated. There’s a little bit more vinjetting in the 50% flat grey area, looking kind of dirty. The old version appears a little bit softer in the contrast and less saturated over all. Brannan got the thin border back after the revamp.
The midtones is now slightly darker, the border seems a little bit brighter. Otherwise very similar to the previous version.
The hard vignetting is now gone and have been replaced with a soft, kind of dirty looking, vignetting that is barely visible. The blue channel has gone thrue some rather big changes. The blackpoint is raised giving the shadows a blueish tone known from Nashville. The whitepoint have been lowered, giving the highlights warmth. Walden now looks more like a hybrid of Nashville and Brannan. The border have been replaced with the thicker version, removing some of the character.
The shadows are darker mainly in the red channel - removing a lot of the red that was warming the shadows and midtones. The contrast is lower mainly in the green channel, making the over all color mode more coherent through out the tones. However this removes very much of the character and it now looks like a completely new filter. The texture intensity is lowered to a minimum which also takes away much of Hefe’s character. The border is now thicker, making it even more similar to the other filters.
Contrast is higher. Over all temperature is colder. Due to the higher contrast it’s no longer as suitable for dark shots as in the previous version. The border is intact.
In the gradient from 50% - 0% at the bottom, the pink previously continued smothly almost all the way but now fades out much earlier. This change becomes very obvious when comparing the 25% area, where the old version is way more pink then the update. When comparing the shadows and mids in the fields to the left (85% & 75%), these are now darker than the 100% black was in the previous version. This clearly indicate a quite significant raise of contrast. The texture has been removed but the border is still there and looks the same.
This filter previously lowered the white point to a warm orange/yellow tone. In the update the whites remain white. The same goes for the black point, previously it was raised to a blueish/purple tone but now stays black. This raises the contrast significally and the overall impression is harder and colder. The border is intact but gives a weird looking result if the background in the photo is white.
I feel that the filters now have become less characteristic and more alike each other. Most of them has increased in contrast: whiter white point and blacker black point - more technically correct but aesthetically boring. Personally I love to raise the blackpoint and lower the white point differently in each channel - to create character and mood in my pictures.
The changes of the vignette effect is somewhat a mystery… I can understand that it’s more realistic if simulating film photography (adding contrast in the developing process, effecting the vignette caused by the camera) but my personal taste is to add it in post process.
I don’t know if Walden and the others lost the thin border by mistake or not. However, I think there’s enough of thick borders and would love them to have the thin back.
I feel like instagram is making the filters more subtle and mainstream to attract a wider group of users - totally wrong way to go in my opinion. The new filters Rise, Hudson, Amaro & Valencia, is fine tuned, gentle and sweet so I don’t see a reason to compromise with the old filters. For future updates I wish they develop each filters unique character rather than making them more alike. Let the punks be punk!