Will the Smartphone ever replace the camera?
By Ibraar Hussain
For enthusiastic amateurs and those with more than a snap shooting interest in Photography, I’d say no, not now, not ever.
There are certain things Smart Phones lack, and even if you gave a Smart Phone Full Frame and a gazillion Mega Pixels; it’ll still never pass the test – I consider Ergonomics a powerful feature no amount of technical advancement can compete with.
Anyway, this isn’t a discourse on Smart Phones and Photography, it’s about Hipstamatic on the iPhone.
Hipstamatic, in my opinion, is the best thing about Smart Phone photography – and unfortunately at the time of writing it is only (to my knowledge) available for the iPhone, so sorry Androids and Windows.
If you haven’t used it before, it’s a Square Format Camera Application which mimics toy camera’s and vintage snap shot cameras of yore, with choices of lens, Flash and Film which one can select for so many different combinations.
The combinations and options are phenomenal, brilliant in simplicity, ease of selection and results.
We have BW Films galore, colour, cooked ones, XP, IR, expired, different flash types, and lenses ranging from soft ones, to vignetting or ones giving an illusion of shallow depth of field, ones that leak light and others that are completely bizarre – and the range vast, with creative possibilities limitless.
Want moody black and white Noir-ish Film with strong vignetting? Want a platinum look print with soft tones? Want a punchy Velvia like look with sharp lens? A burnt out vintage 70s look with a multi hued flash effect? Or a Polaroid look with loads of colour? It’s all there – and to make things even more interesting, you can order prints on-the-fly, from within the Application.
It’s all great fun and has a superb interface – simply look through the square viewfinder (on the screen) and press the yellow button – and press a button to flip over so you can change film, lens and flash with a swipe.
And of course, you can buy more and more stuff.
With use you’ll start knowing which combination to use for which subject and have personal favourites, and to be honest, even the most mediocre snaps can be made to look superb with the colour and effect possibilities.
There is some creative control – touch a part of the Viewfinder image and it’ll focus and expose for that, move the iPhone up and down and you’ll see the exposure change in real time.
Anyway, that’s all the fun and funky stuff out-of-the-way, you can have all the funky effect things in the world but ultimately, if you lack even a microgram of creativity and talent, it’ll all look somewhat like a turd rolled in glitter.
What I really love about Hipstamatic, is the ability to work on composition using the brilliant Square Format, and this is what I use it for (apart from family and friends and such snaps).
The 6×6 Square is a great compositional aspect ratio – there’s no room for messing around, and the simplicity enables framing to be easier than oblong aspect ratios.
One, with the large square view finder of Hipstamatic, can really go to town on working on composition, framing, using key subjects, lead in lines, rule of thirds – and one can do it with the minimum of fuss and headache – just open the Application and off you go.
And the user can select the appropriate ‘Film’ to take the scene using the different creative Film/Lens or Filters available, and interpret the scene however they wish and easily.
I have been working on composition with this Hipstamatic for a while now, and I think it has improved my ability to see and express a scene more so than traditionally (with a real camera Film or Digital).
I don’t worry about sharpness or resolution – as such things really don’t matter one iota to me, sure to others they may well do – colour, composition, mood, tones and subject matter make sense to me and for this, Hipstamatic on the iPhone 5 is what I enjoy using as and when I require it.
I’ve included several shots here, just detailing the sort of things I tend to work on, composition, arranging elements in a scene, subject matter, colour, light and tone. With some studies of different places (Stone henge for example)