Battle of the filters: Instagram V Hipstamatic

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So imagine this. You’ve just made the most incredible sandwich. You want everyone to know about it. Do you call your friends? Do you text them a description, do you parade your lunch down your local high street shouting out adjectives that attempt to convey your world class culinary skills? Maybe. Or you could whip out your smartphone and use a photo app such as Instagram or Hipstamatic as your communication tool of choice. Let’s size them up.


Many describe Hipstamatic as the ‘original’ photo sharing app. It costs a little to buy the app, but its quality shows from the outset. Taking it’s naming from the emerging sub-culture of ‘hipsters’, the app is a hit for anyone with oversized glasses, facial hair and checked shirts. Okay, I’m generalising, but we all know what I mean.

Replicating the features of vintage cameras, it can be a bit tricky to use, but if you’re willing to climb the steep learning curve and have some patience, you’ll reap the rewards for it.

There are a range of filters available for you to use in the camera interface, and photos are saved in high resolution- giving some amazing results. You can also order physical prints if you would like your photos in real life, which is handy for some. As the quality of cameras on smartphones increases, and with the recent news that Samsung has just merged its mobile and camera divisions, it’s going to be exciting to see where photography goes over the next decade, and with the internet available to so many around the globe, we have front row seats to the future photography show.


Instagram is the younger app of the two, and Facebook famously spotted it’s potential before buying the company- maybe as part of a ‘keep your enemies closer’ kind of strategy.

Instagram is more focussed around delivering your images to a wider audience- allowing sharing to more sites and services than Hipstamatic, and better Facebook integration, but this comes at a cost to the photographs themselves. Although you can import images from anywhere on your phone (i.e. you don’t need to take photos in the app), each image is compressed and cropped into a square. Whilst these are satisfactory for the purpose of throwing around online, they wouldn’t look great printed out in real life.

Unlike Hipstamatic, Instagram is free, and no doubt it will have a similar success story to that of its big brother, Facebook.

If you’re looking for a few word summary, Hipstamatic is about producing the best images possible, while Instagram is about sharing images in the best way possible.

Images really do speak a thousand words, and as the smartphone revolution has effectively put a camera in the pocket of billions of people around the world, the race for best photo sharing app is only just getting started.

Josh Hunt 

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