HUJI CAM Photography App Review: The Ultimate Digital-Film Hybrid?

HUJI CAM: one of the most interesting innovations for photography.

You can have your cake and eat it too.

This is what I realized most about film:

You don’t know what you’re gonna get until you shoot it.

Furthermore, I loved the “imperfect” aesthetic of film. The grain and grit is what made the photos beautiful. Also a lovely thing was randomly having certain photos with beautiful light leaks — it added more emotion and mood to the photos.

East Lansing, 2013. Ricoh Gr1s with Kodak Portra 400 (real light leak).

Now fast forward to HUJI —a camera phone app which simulates the usage of film. Some might knock it as being this silly pseudo-hipster app, but I personally love it.

This is how it works:

  1. Shoot photos with the tiny viewfinder (you can also make it bigger)
  2. Buy the full version to have the photos automatically save to your camera roll/gallery.
  3. When you look at your photos, the processing and random light effects are already added.

Hidden benefits

There’s an option to either use the “full viewfinder” mode, or the default tiny viewfinder mode. I’ve experimented with both, and I LOVE the tiny viewfinder! Why?

With a tiny viewfinder, you shoot more, you hesitate less before shooting a photo, random strangers don’t know you’re shooting a photo on your iPhone, and also it helps improve your composition!

If you’re framing a scene with a tiny viewfinder, you can better allocate proportions of the frame for certain colors, shapes, tones, and textures. Also you can better align lines, curves, and other compositional elements like the arabesque, golden triangle, etc.

iPhone as the ultimate creative tool

I’m pretty much convinced that the iPhone is the ultimate creative production tool. I inherited an old iPhone 6s Plus, and I’m amazed with everything I can do with it:

  1. Shoot, select, and upload photos (directly to this website-blog)
  2. Read ebooks (default iBooks app)
  3. Procreate pocket app for drawing images, graphics, sketches
  4. Zen brush 2 for calligraphy and sketching
  5. Using the Apple Photos app to create albums, mood boards, and to organize my artworks.

The iPhone is the ultimate “full stack”and “vertically integrated” tool- device to thrive as a visual artist and creator.

Give it a go.

Download the HUJI app, and just spend the 99 cents or so for the full version. It works on both Android and iPhone.

Personally I love the aesthetics it produces, and how it has massively simplified my photographic life and workflow. Being able to simply “favorite” (heart) photos in my camera roll and upload them directly has reduced the friction of my photo workflow by at least 1000x fold. Even now— I’m starting to wonder:

Now that I’ve discovered that HUJI CAM and iPhone is the ultimate point and shoot camera and productivity device — now what?

I’m still interested for the RICOH GR III as the best “standalone digital”camera. I’m also interested in compact digital medium format, as well as video (4K and beyond).

But it seems for me at the moment — my personal evolution is becoming a “full stack techno-artist”— maximal upsides from technology and art. I refuse to be confined.

It’s all good — calligraphy, dance, music production, poetry, rap, photography, video, writing, etc.

You define the tools. Don’t let the tools define you.