I have been meaning to write reviews of camera related iPhone apps for a while but seeing as Instagram is so new I thought I’d get in there quick before its old news!
Instagram for the iPhone is rustic camera app meets social network. I am sure that any iPhone user reading this blog will be familiar with Hipstamatic and Instagram’s functionality is similar in that it allows you to apply analog looking filters to what can be rather dull looking iPhone snaps, the only difference is that you apply the filters once the photo has been shot. Hipstamatic with its 7 lenses, 9 films and 6 flashes has a possible combination of 441 image effects while Instagram only has 11. That said, Instagram is free and Hipstamatic and all its add-ons cost £4.14. Once you have applied a filter to a photo and you are happy with the way it looks the next step is to decide where it is sent. By default it is sent to Instagram’s web site which is a bare bones photo sharing web site but there are options to send it to twitter, flickr, facebook and tumblr.
The app has a really simple browser to view your own and your friend’s photos where they can be commented and faved. What sets this apart from, say, flickr is that everyone is using the same camera so it’s really interesting to see the different results people are getting using the same kit. The app makes it super easy to find friends that are already using the app by looking at your email contacts and facebook friends (I know this as 100 people added me as a contact the 1st day I had the app!).
Instagram has been in the wild for less than a month. That said, it’s a very stable app but there’s plenty of room for improvement. Two things that need addressing straight away: Higher resolution photos and profile pages for users on the web. It would be nice to at least double the size or have the option to double the resolution of the altered photos. At the moment they are only saved at 612 pixels by 612 pixels, that’s just under Flickrs new 640 pixel wide photo page images. It should be just about possible to print as a 4 inch tall image although that will be at 150 dots per inch. Hipstamatic has got it better with its 1936 x 1936 image, which is good enough for high quality 6 inch by 6 inch prints, that said Hipstamatic dose take a lot longer to process images even on the iPhone 4. What Instagram does have over Hipstamatic is that it saves the original image along with the altered one in the iPhone photo library so you always have your original image to fall back on. While viewing and commenting on you and firends photos in the app is a great experience it be nice to have some of the same functionally on the web to. Currently you can only send web links to one image at a time and there is no way of linking to an entire Instagram user “stream” on the web. But I am sure this is something that will be sorted in the future as its still early days!
As with any social network the more the merrier. If you have an iPhone download the app now and and get uploading! But before you upload your first one add me as a contact. I am lomokev on there too. I’d just like to say thanks to Photojojo for bring this to my attention. Without Photojojo I would know nothing! I will now leave with a few of my favourite pics shot on the app so far: