Is it, it can't be, Digital


We’ve all done it, someone comments or ‘likes’ your work and you go to check out theirs and you think their stuff is pretty good but once you’ve looked at 2 or 3 photos you realize they have a funny feeling about them, they’re dum dum dum… Digital!

With the popularity of Lomography cameras come knock-offs. As everyone seems to have a digital camera of some kind these days, the companies who make these cameras don’t want people going back to film, so they urge people to undertake different editing softwares such as photoshop- there are actually many step by step guides on the internet to make your digital photos look like they’ve been shot with a toy camera. There are also different programs for which this is the sole purpose – analogcolor is one which you simply drop and drag a photo and it messes up the colors, blurriness and puts vignettes on. Hipstamatic is of course one of the most popular of these on Iphones as it allows people to not have to carry around a camera with them, they have it already set in their phone.
So how is it that you can just tell it is digital rather than looking in the notes if it was taken with a digital camera or Iphone?

Noise is one key aspect, digital files create noise- the digital equivalent of film grain, when the colors are pushed or when vignettes are put on. Usually easier to see in a print or if the file is big up on the screen and also easy to see in darker areas of the photograph.

Some digital cameras even have settings on them so that you don’t need to do any editing to them to make them look like a pinhole for example. The colors are what to look out for here, un-film like shifts in color which don’t have the contrast of cross processing.

The hipstamatic images are possibly the hardest to be able to distinguish between. To me, they all look the same! The same random spot filter in the bottom left, the blurriness in the centre and the vignette’s clearly defined in the top right corner are the things to look out for oh and the border, the border is a dead give a away- see the two examples below.

Go with your gut! If you feel like it doesn’t have the right kind of film feeling to it, it probably doesn’t. If it looks too perfect, it probably is. and if in doubt, just ask, people don’t know what team you bat for!

written by erinwoodgatesphotography on 2011-03-17 #gear #tutorials #pinhole #vignette #camera #tutorial #tipster #noise #iphone #lomography #film-grain #hipstamatic #differentiate-analog-digital #analogcolor


  1. bluedust_05
    bluedust_05 ·

    This is a great Tipster. Than you for posting :)

  2. lakandula
    lakandula ·

    Interesting read. Thanks for sharing.

  3. olen
    olen ·

    it's a travesty to Film!

  4. nick_a_tron
    nick_a_tron ·

    Well, they do say impersonation is the sincerest form of flattery. To be honest I feel like all the apps and so on out there only draw more people into Lomography in general. Nice article.

  5. studapples
    studapples ·

    people spending hundreds on digital cameras only to want the effects of a camera you can get for under £100. :-? Doesn't make sense.

  6. yawn
    yawn ·

    "the companies who make these cameras don’t want people going back to film"
    yay, another plot theory!

  7. parktreeone
    parktreeone ·

    I love the pictures my iPhone takes with hipstomatic (dum dum daaa) lol but I would never up load them here, I love the pictures my lca and Diana mini take even more!!! Especially now I develop at home. I have some friends who love hipstomatic pics but once they see the lca pics they just say wow! I need one of them! Long live annolouge, oh the things you said about spotting digital pics, how do you tell the diffence between digital ones and anolouge ones that have been scanned in ?

  8. luciasrose
    luciasrose ·

    I am rather new to lomography but i have to admit it was hipstamatic that led me here. i fell in love with the photos you could take with it, the effects and the special feel to them. but then you start to notice how it works, you start getting the same effects from it again and again so it became a little boring. so i started looking for something better and found the diana. when you compare the shots from the diana to the iphone, hipstamatic falls face first in the dirt. i still like it but i can now truely appreciate it for what it is; digital trying hard to copy what analogue does so easily.

  9. mythguy9
    mythguy9 ·

    I reckon if you shoot long enough with film in a Lomographic way, you will still produce Lomographic photos with a digital camera. The feeling comes first for me, although film matters too.

  10. nomad411
    nomad411 ·

    The whole point of iPhoneography is to capture back the joys of analog photo, while always having your camera with you to experiment at a moment's notice. I've done my share of real film photos in the past, but man do I love my iPhone + apps now (And NOT Hipstamatic!) :)

    Gerard --

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