Here’s a quickie lens comparison using a cloudy sky sunset to compare all the various Hipstamatic lenses. With the Hipstamatic, it’s the lens that affects color and overall look, not the film, so it’s important to understand what all the lenses do so you can pick the best lens for any given situation. (The film used for this series was Ina’s 1969.) So here goes!
John S Lens. This lens creates a cyan/green color cast, vignettes the edges and lays down a texture over the image. This texture is especially prominent against skies and other untextured area where there is little existing texture in the scene to obscure the John S lens texture.
For some shots, I find the John S texture a little too strong. Overall, I like the color cast and sharpness of this lens the best (for color work).
Jimmy lens. As is overly obvious here, the Jimmy lens applies a strong yellow color cast with little vignetting or other effects. I find the yellow cast to be too strong for most situations. It works best when dealing with stronger blue light – in the middle of the day or in late afternoon shadows. At sunset when the light is already warm, it’s too much.
Kaimal Mark II lens. Applies a red/pink color cast and a slight vignette.
Lucifer Mark VI lens. Heavy vignetting with red color cast. I like this lens for black and white more than I do color. The whole red color cast doesn’t do much for me.
Roboto Glitter lens. Blue-green color cast with heavy vignetting and sunburst texture. I don’t like it for sky scenes where the sunburst is visible. For scenes with more texture, the effect is more subtle.
Bettie XL lens. Fun lens with purple, red and yellow color cast. Slight texture with lots of dust spots like you’d find on an old negative. This lens offers lower contrast which means the blacks aren’t that black and the whites don’t blow out. Great for using in the middle of the day when there’s a lot of contrast in the scene (heavy shadows and bright highlights).
Helga Viking lens. Warm/pinkish color shift. No vignette. Fairly straightforward lens as far as the Hipstamatic goes.
And back to the John S lens.
As you can see, each lens has a unique look. With a little practice, you’ll be able to quickly pick the best one to make your images pop. If you’re getting inconsistent results with your Hipstamatic, check out this Hipstarama post.