Coolest Retro Photo App: Instagram or Streamzoo

Coolest Retro Photo App: Instagram or Streamzoo

By: Katherine Meyer
September 28, 2011

Retro photo apps are all the rage. And for good reason. Fact: People love sharing pictures online. There are over 200 million photos uploaded to Facebook per day, which means there are more than 6 billion uploads per month.

Much to the chagrin of digital camera makers, smartphones are becoming more and more ubiquitous and are pretty much all you need to capture special moments or events as they happen. Thus, the old point n’ shoot cameras are increasingly being left behind to gather dust in the closet.

42% of Americans are using smartphones, and 49% of those users are accessing platforms such as Twitter and Facebook while on the move. Given our collective love of photo sharing and the increased use of smartphones to share all aspects of our lives, phone manufacturers and photo app developers have had to step up to the plate and provide quality products for our shutterbug population who are itching to instantly share their photos.

You all know that I love me some Instagram. It’s reliable, allows me to snap a picture, apply a cool filter of my choosing, and easily share my now hip and sometimes even retro-looking photos with my social networks. The popularity of this app is hard to debate as they recently hit 10 million users, and are focused on providing a great, free app to their users. The caveat to Instagram is that it’s only available as an iPhone app, and they don’t currently plan on expanding their app offering to other mobile platforms anytime soon. In my opinion, the fact that they have tallied up 10 million users on a single platform speaks volumes about the quality and ease of use of the app.

Instagram may be the hot ticket right now, but I recently came across competitor Streamzoo who might just give them a run for their money. Why? Well it’s doing a few things that Instagram is not. And that could be key.

Streamzoo’s app is available as an Android and iPhone app as well as a Web app. This broad platform support greatly increases their prospective user base. Even better – they encourage you to use hashtags when posting photos so your photos are organized into streams.

The use of hashtags also allows users to receive realtime feed updates, see what’s trending or connect with people in their stream with similar interests. It seems like Streamzoo is a little more focused on creating opportunities where a seemingly random photo can create a sense of community between users with similar interests. Hmmm, that might just be pretty wicked cool – and something that Instagram’s not quite doing.

As far as the actual apps themselves, Streamzoo and Instagram are well matched. With the release of their 2.0 update, Instagram actually added quite a few bells and whistles it was previously lacking. From a purely picture taking standpoint – both offer a wonderful range of tools that photographers of all skill levels can use to make a snapshot from their life on the move into something pretty cool.

So what about you, how do you use photos apps like Instagram and/or Streamzoo? Are you there just for the filters and editing tools? Or do you the like the idea of connecting with people with similar interests through the photos you are sharing socially?

Perhaps most importantly, what photo app are you using and why? Tell me about one I’ve yet discovered (please oh please)!

Photo credit: Mark

  • Hi Katherine, 

    I would love for Instagram to come to Android, but for now I’m using Lightbox. I’m looking for my photo app to have beautiful filters and simple UI editing tools. I use my already established networks for sharing my photos. 

    Thanks for the post! 

  • I actually really love picplz – I have instagram and a few others, but picplz is my default. Has the things you mention about streamzoo – but it’s the social aspect of picplz that keeps me there. I have connections there that I have nowhere else on the net – but I get to see some of the most amazing pictures because of that. Some of my fav users are people in Japan with whom I communicate only via image. Images speak a thousand words.  Still, I’ll give streamzoo a shot now too.

  • Katherine M

    I’ve only read a bit about Picplz but have not used it. Should I try or is it really similar to Instagram? Streamzoo is pretty cool – I’ve been using it for a few weeks and am digging it. And the fact that it’s available on all platforms was be appreciated as well. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Katherine M

    I have not heard anything about Lightbox, is it Android only? If not, is it something I should investigate? Agree – these tools are so popular because allow even wanna-be photogs like me the opportunity to create a cool picture and share it. 

  • Manish Vaidya

    Thanks for the review. The starting point for us to build Streamzoo was the
    realization that we are all walking around with sophisticated cameras in
    our pockets & that photo is the new status message – so why not
    come up with a way to allow users to share, organize, and discover
    #streams of mobile photos and videos. Filters is just one element of
    photo sharing. #streams makes it organized & points make it a game!
    This third piece will be a key component to keep bringing users back.
    Again, thanks for checking out the app … Manish at Streamzoo dot com,
    Co-founder, Streamzoo

  • Nice post

  • Jeez… and then I never got back here! Picplz is free and it’s by and far my favorite – but it’s not as widely adopted as Instagram. Personally, I find every time I open Picplz I end up spending time not just posting but looking through and marveling at the variety and beauty of what is posted there.

  • We just release v2.0 of Streamzoo – check it out – you will love the content, community, filters and whole bunch of other features. BTW we support video too (founder)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks! We’ll definitely check it out!

  • Anonymous

    Two months on and this girl has migrated almost entirely from IG to SZ ~ not because of the photo capabilities, but for what IG has been allowed to become. Essentially there are two groups on IG at the moment: the early adopter, photographer group and the later adopter (and seemingly younger) re-blog group. The pop page on IG is now filled with Tweegrams and other non-photo material that is solely posted for attention and ‘likes’ ~ in other words, the photographers are now in competition with the game players for space on the pop page. This is a great disappointment, as the number of re-blogged and non-copyright respectful photos is now at tsunami proportions.

    While any sharing service will have some who take advantage, SZ is still at at point where enforcing the TOS (post only your own photos) are reasonably enforceable, which plans afoot to ensure that this is kept to a minimum.

    SZ also has, in my opinion, a better user process. One can follow both individuals and different hash tag streams, so the feed is really interesting and the ‘likes’ are spread around between known followees and others whose tags one follows. This curtails some of the attention seeking behavior that has become prevalent on IG. Because SZ has users with all sorts of devices and because one can upload from the computer, there is a grand mix of photography skills and styles. Folks are generous with using the ‘shout out’ feature to bring attention to neat pictures and newer users. 

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  • Elisangela_detalhes

    Streamzoo is the BEST!
    The only thing missing is the integration with twitter and facebook, to have the preview on-twitter (facebook), otherwise it leaves nothing to be desired in Instagram, the application is 10000000000

  • Anonymous

    We love it, too!

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