Hipstamatic Oggl review - iPhone subscription model gives creative access to Hipstamatic's lenses, films
If you have the slightest interest in taking artistic photos on your iPhone or iPad, you'll likely have heard of Hipstamatic. The app offers access to a growing collection of lenses, films and flashes for adding a creative edge to your images. Combining these creates hundreds of different effects, and you can do this by simply shaking your iPhone, producing random images that mostly ape analog film effects and occasionally create chaos. The newly launched and unfortunately named Oggl briefly started life as an invitation-only app promising "a community for creative people to capture and curate their lives through photography." Hipstamatic boasts some four million plus users and last year brought in £6.56 million in revenue, so any new venture is greeted with interest.
It's now available free to all via iTunes, although you'll need to sign up to a three or twelve month membership, costing £1.99 and £6.99 respectively, to fully benefit. Those subscriptions give users access to a great collection of lenses and films, although frustratingly you have to select them individually at first launch to effectively download, while you can't as yet import those you might already have as part the original Hipstamatic app. As the company sells HipstaPaks individually to Hipstamatic users this seems like a good deal, unless of course you have already purchased those packs.
Unlike Hipstamatic, Oggl is pitched as a "capture-first" shooting experience, one that allows user to edit photos after they are taken, with the ability to swap lenses and films seemingly endlessly. Hipstamatic does at least offer some useful 'Favorites' pre-loaded for situational shooting, including 'Landscape, Food, Portrait, Nightlife and Sunset,' while you can easily create and save your own favourites. This choice is both good and bad, as while the option offers choice, you can easily get lost in constantly changing both, while missing the fundamentals of capturing a great shot. Choice doesn't give full reign to editing photos completely and unlike the excellent KitCam app, you can't for instance crop or straighten images, although you can now at least tap-and-hold to focus, then drag to set exposure, which is a great addition for adding drama and emphasis.
While you can happily share images with other Oggl users and via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, Tumblr and Flickr, you can't currently easily save to camera roll variations of images you have taken and edited for future appraisal. Oddly, not all images are saved automatically to your camera roll when you take them, which we can only believe is bug related. Oggl has also crashed several times in recent days, even after two iTunes updates in a week, and despite promises some images appear to have disappeared completely. Oggl highlights the ability to "share your best photos to your Oggl profile to curate your personal story, and to browse the Curated Editorial Feeds," although it's too early to best determine if this is a success or not. What we have seen is certainly attractive, eye candy that is much more creative and considered than many of the images found on Instagram.
It's clear Oggl is suffering growing pains, although you would hope for much, much more from the team behind the successful Hipstamatic. We can only hope bugs are squashed and the concept reviewed in coming weeks and months, to make this new venture a success and worthy of the Hipstamatic name.