hipstamatic_case_black_web.jpgInstagram isn't the only camera app worth having. Here are four worth using over and over again:


Photosynth by Microsoft Corp. Free. For iOS only (Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). Guides you as you stand in one place and capture photos in all directions. Then it stitches those images together to create a sphere-like panorama that viewers can scroll around in and zoom in and out of. It takes a bit of practice, but in the right setting the results can be breathtaking.

TiltShift Generator by Arts & Mobile. Free for basic features, 99 cents for higher resolution and album upload. For iOS only. Tilt shift is a camera effect that blurs the edges of a picture, creating an optical illusion that makes everything in the photo look miniature. Instagram has that feature. Many prefer TiltShift Generator because it gives you control over where and how much blurring to produce, and how much darkening around the corners you want to produce a vignette effect. You can also adjust the saturation, brightness and contrast.

Hipstamatic by Synthetic LLC. $1.99 for basic features, with 99-cent add-ons to give you more imaging options. For iOS only. Unlike most filtering apps, with Hipstamatic you don't adjust a photo after you've taken it. Instead, you choose different virtual lenses, flashes and film beforehand. The app is not very intuitive but once you get a sense of which virtual lens works best under which conditions, you can create stunning photos.

PhotoToaster by East Coast Pixels, Inc. Free version called PhotoToaster Jr. Full version costs $1.99 and gives you more choices and control. For iOS and Android devices. It’s for those who love the ease of flipping through filters on Instagram until they see one that makes a photo pop, but sometimes want a little more control over the specific effects. PhotoToaster lets you do both. You can apply preset filters, or tap a button and have more precise control over exposure, color temperature, light and other settings.

Don't think of these alternatives as replacing Instagram. These apps supplement and enhance the Instagram experience and can make sharing photos on Instagram a lot more versatile and fun.