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Instagram update boosts camera features, adds new filter

Instagram on Monday updated its iOS and Android apps with a brand-new photo filter dubbed Willow. Instagram said the new filter is best suited for portraits, still life, and architecture photographs with contrast.

"You've asked for more filters, and we're excited to announce a brand new filter," Instagram said in a blog post.

"Willow is a monochrome filter with subtle purple tones and a translucent glowing white border."

The update also brings major improvements to the camera section of the iOS app. The all-new camera includes an optional grid guide for live photos and a permanent grid for the scale and crop screen. iOS users will also now be able to preview the most recent photo in their camera roll right from the app.

The update has revamped the look of its camera to bring it up to speed with the rest of the app, adding a new Instagram-themed shutter and shutter release button.

"The camera has been the core part of the Instagram experience since the day we launched and as a result, we've made significant improvements to its look and speed," explained Instagram.

Furthermore, the latest version improves the tilt-shift functionality for a "vastly more realistic rendering of depth of field."

"In the past, there had been vast differences in the effective strength of the blur between the preview screen and the output in your feed and camera roll," the blog continued.

"With this update the blur you see is now the blur you'll get!"

Other improvements include a redesigned news feed with larger images, a new welcome screen, and infinite scroll on user profiles. In addition, filtered photos are now saved in a separate album called "Instagram" in the iOS camera roll. Plus, users will now find a Foursquare button on location pages that opens the Fourquare app or mobile website with details about the venue.

The latest versions are available for download in Apple's App Store and Google Play.

The update comes as Instagram is embroiled in a spat with Twitter. The Facebook-owned photo site recently pulled its support for Twitter Cards, which resulted in some Instagram photos showing up cropped on peoples' Twitter feeds. Then, over the weekend, Instagram photos seemingly disappeared from peoples' Twitter feeds altogether, though the links remained. Twitter is reportedly working on its own photo-filter feature, however, which might be released in time for the holidays.