Disposable Hipstamatic (v 12.3) - Free
iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch (iOS 4.3 or later) 

Few could argue that the original Hipstamatic app didn't accurately imitate the somewhat erratic nature (and fun) of toy cameras. Disposable builds on that by adding another unpredictable facet, by being able share the camera and 'user experience' with friends over the net via Facebook. This image was shot with the MegaZuck84 camera (which is free after 'liking' the app on Facebook).

When Synthetic announced its Hipstamatic toy camera app for the iPhone (and iPod touch), few could have predicted just how popular it would become. Their latest effort - Disposable Hipstamatic - still centers on the appealling unpredictability of toy film cameras but introduces sharing. Although you can opt to shoot by yourself if you want to, the idea is to invite other Disposable users or 'friends' to share via Facebook and contribute to the same series of pictures in 'real time' (more or less) over a WiFi or Cellular network.

If you don't have Disposable Hipstamatic installed of course, there's nothing to stop you from creating Facebook photo albums with pictures from your phones and tagging friends so they can see them, but the Hipstamatic Disposable app structures it a little better via invites (essentially scheduling photo-taking 'events'). It's easy to imagine how popular this app would be at an event like a wedding or any number of other occasions, for that matter. 

A total of three virtual 'cameras' are provided free of charge and include unlimited use. The cameras are fairly basic and once used they 'regenerate' after exposing 24 frames. Disposable Hipstamatic syncs with Facebook and other Disposable users or 'friends' can be invited to contribute to the same camera anywhere in world, providing they have access to the Internet.

Disposable is bundled with two complimentary cameras (in essence, digital equivalents to disposable film cameras), though you can pick up a third for free simply from 'liking' the app on Facebook. Each one has an individual look or 'style', a filter effect with a slider to adjust the strength, but are limited to just 24 exposures. When the camera has 'finished', this 24-image roll is synced between all the contributors, or 'friends', and individual images can be saved to your camera roll or shared via Twitter. After that, you simply start again just as you would with film. 

There’s no charge to reuse the complimentary cameras but that wasn’t always the case. When Disposable was launched at the end of last year, users had to buy a camera each time (alternative camera styles are still available as in app purchases, prices start from $0.99). Although the update to v12 brought a welcome change in the pricing model, a few shortcomings remain. First, just like film, you can’t preview the filter effect in real-time, and, second, you can’t check the results until the camera has finished the 24-image roll. While the app is a unique proposition, ultimately, it’s not quite as engaging as the original, but it can be a lot of fun to use, even if the novelty wears off after a while. 

What we like: Free to install and to use (although if you want more than three camera styles you'll have to purchase them). Fun to use at an event like a wedding, or party.

What we don't like: Images can’t be viewed until the roll is finished. Restricted to a single filter effect, or 'style', per camera, which, similarly, can’t be viewed until the roll is completely exposed. Restricted to three camera styles (more are available as in-app purchases).