I signed up for an Instagram account on October 26, 2010, but I didn’t use it very much until September of this year.1 I’ve always been more of a fan of Hipstamatic, which is by far the better camera app, and of course, I am an especially active Flickr user.
Instagram is a mature app now, it even works on second string smart phones2 and yet its’ filter options are quite limited. I currently have 30 Hipstamatic favorite settings defined, and there are plenty more I could create. Instagram has a black and white filter, and a couple of filters that add retro tones, basically that’s it. The only advantage I find with Instagram is that the social network aspects are more established. As a mobile camera, there is no contest – Hipstamatic is an “A” app and Instagram is a “C+” app.
These are the Instagram filters, as described by Wikipedia:
- X-Pro II – Warm, saturated effect. Emphasis on yellow.
- Earlybird- Faded, blurred, focuses on yellow and beige.
- Lo-fi- Slightly blurred, with yellow and green saturated.
- Sutro- Sepia effect. Emphasis on purple and yellow.
- Toaster – High exposure
- Brannan- Low key. Focus on gray and green.
- Valencia- Highly contrast, slightly gray and brown.
- Inkwell- Black and white filter with high contrast.
- Walden -Washed-out color with blue overtone.
- Hefe- Fuzz, with focus on gold and yellow tones.
- Nashville- Sharpens the image with magenta-purple tint. Framed with a border
- 1977- 1970s flair
- Lord Kelvin- Super saturated, retro photo with scratchy border.
Hipstamatic has a much, much richer feature set of films and lenses. I don’t own all, but I do own most. I’ve taken thousands of photos with the Hipstamatic app, and I still don’t know all of the possible combinations. Instagram is a lot simpler – some photographers might even prefer the more limited palate, but I like options and variety.
So how did Instagram become the smart phone camera app behemoth? Being bought by Facebook helped, but Instagram’s social media infrastructure was already well developed, and that’s probably a key reason Facebook purchased it. Being available for Android phones probably also contributed to Instagram’s growth. As a side effect of this growth, there are a lot of spammers who take advantage of Instagram’s audience, and offer to sell you “likes” or other sleazy tactics.
Anecdotally, if I use hashtags (#), my Instagram shots get a lot more views/likes. I’m guessing a lot of Instagram users search by hashtags.
I’ve found a happy medium though – take photos with Hipstamatic like I always do, and then share them, unedited, on Instagram. I’m less selective on Instagram than I am on Flickr, thus I end up publishing a lot of food and drink photos, and snapshots of my cats…