Hipstamatic, $1.99 (additional lenses/filters/gels come in “paks” that cost about $0.99)
Hands down, Hipstamatic is the most well-known of the iPhone photo apps. It is so popular in fact that photo contests have categories just for images taken with it, but does it deserve all this attention?
The first thing I noticed when I opened Hipstamatic was that it is beautiful. The screen looks like an analog camera and you change effects by swapping lenses and film that actually look like lenses and film. You turn the flash on by sliding a little button, and you even hear that obnoxious, high-pitched whine as it “powers up”. While taking pictures, your shots are framed in a little viewfinder and you have to tap a big yellow button to nab the shot. I love this homage to cameras of days gone by, but once I got past the gimmick I was unimpressed.
Being able to create so many different effects by mixing and matching lenses/filters/gels is neat, but you have to take the photo in Hipstamatic and can’t change the settings after the fact or import photos taken with the regular camera to Hipstamatic-ify them. Also, Hipstamatic currently does not have the ability to use the front camera found on the iPhone 4–a big inconvenience for anyone who takes as many self portraits as I do.
So does it live up to the hype? For me, no. It is not so bad that I actively resent Hipstamatic for making me pay to get their app, and I will keep it on my iPhone, but I will not put any more money into buying extra paks and I see Hipstamatic falling by the wayside in favor of other apps that give me more control and flexibility.
(no sample image because I wanted to use the same photo for app comparison and I didn’t take one with Hipstamatic at the time)