Hipstamatic’s Mega-Hyped Camera is Actually Just a Digital Skin in Its App


Hipstamatic has spent the better part of the last week hyping what appeared to be a new rangefinder camera, but today revealed it’s not a hardware release but rather a digital skin for its app.

The hype worked, as fans on Threads, X (formerly Twitter), and Instagram were eagerly awaiting the announcement of a new player in the rangefinder camera space. Those hopes were dashed, however, when Hipstamatic today revealed that it wasn’t a standalone camera — or a hardware launch at all — like its marketing had indicated, but instead a new digital skin for its iPhone app along with a few new features.

That new skin joins the more than 200 vintage lenses, cameras, presets, and film types that already exist in the app.

Technically version 10 of the Hipstamtic app, today’s update brings a new analog viewfinder and camera menu system that mimics a classic rangefinder, multiple exposure and “hard flash” buttons, the ability to choose between “instant” and “delayed” developing mode, and a range of other updates that enhance the in-app experience.

The new analog shooting experience puts a skin over the app screen and lets photographers frame using only the rear LCD of the digital camera. It’s an odd choice, considering the camera skin looks like a rangefinder but it’s using a rear LCD as the view, which is possible with cameras like the Leica M11, for example, but it’s hardly considered to be the best way to use it.

Aside from the fancy new (which mimics old) skin, Hipsatmatic is hyping the delay mode, which holds the photos for a time before allowing users to “open” a developed digital folder and go through the images later. The idea is to mimic what it is like to shoot a roll of film and go through all the photos together after they’ve been developed and may add to the nostalgic feel of using the app.

Overall, the app’s interface comes off as quirky, fun, and certainly taps into the nostalgia that makes film desirable. It’s just not necessarily what some were expecting based on Hipstamatic’s marketing.

Hipstamatic calls itself a “camera club for photo people,” and the exclusivity of the word “club” means that getting access to this new rangefinder camera skin and features isn’t free. The app costs $4.99 per month or $29.99 per year. Users have to select the annual option in order to get the 7-day free trial, although it is possible to get a 24-hour pass without agreeing to pay anything after by hitting “skip” during setup.

Image credits: Hipstamatic