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Since a few weeks, I’m an avid user of the Hypocam app for Android. This app, which specializes in black and white photography makes my phone a great tool for street photography. Phones are non-obtrusive and very common as lots of people are using their phones while wandering around and street photography lends itself greatly for black and white.

Hypocam divides itself into three main screens: “the board”, the camera and photo management, where the later has an option to process an image (quite good) and options to manage the images (quite limited) The app starts up with the camera screen.

The board presents articles, links and the possibility to buy and install filter packs. it’s not completely clear where this info comes from, but when there’s news the app mentions it when it’s started.
Here you also find a hamburger menu with store, settings, contact, credits and the mention of hypocam.co The site is very minimal, but I assume that’s where the rest of the content comes from.

The camera has some basic adjustments. You can already adjust lightness and contrast or select a colour filter. This is a colour filter in the old fashioned sense in that it changes the interpretation of how the colour image is translated into grayscale.
Furthermore, you can switch to the selfie-cam or turn on the flash. The last option seems to do something with the screen or shows a raster. Everything besides the 3×3 raster (rule of thirds) isn’t really clear or obvious.
Making a photo is as easy as pointing and pressing the round button below the screen.

The last screen which I see as the image manager is where the issues begin. But first the good:
There’s an (+) option to import photo’s from other camera’s and convert them to b&w. There’s also an option to tag a photo. It get’s a little white corner. Regretfully this seems to have no consequences what so ever other than to earmark the photo. It’s not protected against deletion nor can I do anything else with it.

Then there’s the edit option which has a few quirks, but in general works quite nice and is non-destructive. You can always go back and change your mind. Lesser points are that you cannot zoom an image while working on it, cropping always restarts from the original image and rotate ignores cropping. This is also where you use the filter packs which work together with the other settings.

For the bad news, the manager will do for an occasional b&w photo it probably, but for making lots of photos during an afternoon it simply lacks the most basic support.
This starts with simple things like grouping images into clusters. Per session or per day. Everything but just a bucket full of small thumbnails.
The next issue is that it’s unclear which area already processed and what’s still unworked on. As this is done in the app, there should be some kind of indication. More advanced options as tags or even setting a title aren’t available. And while I had GPS continuously on, there’s also no location info recorded.

So there’s hardly any structure, no info on the image, unclarity on which images are worked on and which are virgin and it’s also unknown what has been exported to Instagram or folder.

So, conclusion. Do I like hypocam? Sure, and I will continue using it. But.. I do hope that development picks up and addresses some of my issues. Especially GPS and the indicators for edited and/or exporter I really consider basic.

This version is a nice start, but it could be so much more.

For some of the images I’ve made with Hypocam see my Instagram feed

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