Hipstamatic’s new iOS app is like the disposable camera of yore

Did you ever think we’d be nostalgic for those clunky, plastic, landfill-bound disposable cameras that were all the rage in the 1990s? Me neither, but the world works in mysterious ways.

Synthetic, the team behind the Hipstamatic app (which essentially came out with a filter-enhanced iPhone photo sharing capability before Instagram made it really cool) has come out with a new iOS app aimed at replicating the experience of using a disposable camera.

Hipstamatic on Tuesday announced the imminent release of a new iOS app called “D-series” which will make its App Store debut on Thursday, December 15. The app, which is Hipstamatic’s first free download, essentially lets you create a shared album of 24 mobile photos with a certain group of friends. “From the first snap to the last, everyone shoots to one roll, and at the end photos are instantly exchanged to all of the camera’s contributors,” Hipstamatic says.

You can share the entire album or individual prints to Facebook, Twitter or via email. The app comes with three “cameras,” which are basically filter features. Users can pay to download additional more souped up “cameras,” such as the 99 cent Foxy X69, which Hipstamatic says “captures a shallow depth of field from within a scanned film border.”

There is no shortage of apps that want to help you take photos and share them with others. Path and Color are probably the two most notable players in the arena right now, but Hipstamatic D-series seems intent on having a more non-committal user experience  — sharing a photo album with people you hang out with during a wedding or night out at a bar, not necessarily your more static group of close friends and family. From the looks of it, the D-series app is similar in more ways to Waddle, the group photo sharing iPhone app that launched earlier this fall. It also reminds me of Pool Party, the now-defunct Android app made by Google’s recently-axed Slide division.

Despite the crowded landscape, it looks like a solid app and it fills a nice niche. It’s also fun to root for the Hipstamatic folks in general: Synthetic has taken on no outside investors since it was founded five years ago, and the company now has 12 staff. While Hipstamatic may be seen as a scrappy underdog to Instagram right now, it’s a self-sustaining scrappy underdog — and that is never something to underestimate.

Here’s a video of the app at work:

Hipstamatic Disposable from Synthetic on Vimeo.