People who have loved and cherished their iPhone for years will no doubt remember the app Hipstamatic. It was one of the first apps that made your photos square, and gave them a more retro touch using combinations of virtual lenses and films. It was extremely popular at first, but Instagram's launch and the sharing platform that came with it left Hipstamatic for dead. Now though, Hipstamatic have released a new app designed to help them better the Instagram monster. Interestingly, instead of updating Hipstamatic, the company decided to simply release a new app to content current users of Hipstamatic. This is understandable, as on opening Oggl, it is nothing at all like Hipstamatic. There's no virtual camera body with a tiny viewfinder, just a clean and minimal camera UI. Like Hipstamatic, Oggl has a set of really nice filters, again used as lenses and films, which users can combine to take their photos. There are also presets for common types of photos, like food, nightlife, portraits landscapes and sunsets, as well as the option to set a manual exposure point.
In order to keep up with Instagram, Oggl has its own private social network, a minimal stream of the photos you've taken with the app. Much like VSCO Cam, the images come first and foremost, with the meta data and comments hidden until you tap on an image. Like VSCO, Oggl focuses on quality photos as opposed to the people behind the photos. What truly sets Oggl apart is its business model. Unlike both Hipstamatic and VSCO Cam, further filters are not purchased in separate bundles. The app is free to download, but to have access to all of the new lenses and films released each month you have to pay an in-app subscription of £1.99 a month ($2.99) or £6.99 ($9.99) a year. This may put off some users, but those eager for more filters and customization options will certainly pay up. There is also talk of certain "premium" features, like extended storage.
Unusually, Oggl is available for iOS and Windows Phone, but not for Android. This is excellent for Nokia Lumia users who want to put their powerful cameras to good use. Android users will just have to wait! Oggl is a very good photo app, but the subscription model is risky, especially in such a saturated area. There are lots of powerful, free apps like VSCO Cam, Aviary and Instagram that people already use, or would rather use, because of the price. I think there's lots more in the works for Oggle, so I'd personally stick with my current favourite photo app (VSCO Cam for me) and wait and see what happens in the updates.