People take photos of everything. Food. Pets. Landscapes. Trash cans that look like Paul Simon. Our photos are incredibly important to us, those snaps that were fuzzy, in low light, or those that just simply don't look right annoy us. When the moment is gone, it’s gone forever, so that's why we're here to help you get the most out of your Android camera with our list of the best photo apps for Android. Check our our list of best camera apps for Android to help you take better photos.
Most camera apps are designed to make photography as easy as possible for the end-user, removing complicated steps. The result is some Facebook-friendly snapshots, but certainly not professional pictures. For experienced photographers, you may be more at home with Manual Camera, which provides a range of settings options that most other apps just don't offer. Shutter speed, focus, white balance, exposure compensation - you control every detail of your picture. Also, this app lets you save images in the lossless RAW format, which offers completely new possibilities for further processing.
So, if you take photographs pretty seriously, but still want to use your smartphone, Manual Camera is an excellent, brand new solution. But beware, the app does require the many new APIs from Android 5.0 Lollipop, so it's currently only available to users with the update.
A Better Camera
A Better Camera is not limited to its fantastic HDR function, this app also includes immediate post-processing, something which is absent in the camera apps from Sony, Samsung and co. You can also take several pictures in a rapid succession shot and then merge them to make an average, often providing the best results (you won't have to worry if somebody blinked!).
A Better Camera can also record video with real-time HDR. Unfortunately, many of the apps best functions are only available via in-app purchase, so A Better Camera sometimes feels a bit like an annoying free-to-play game (hello Dungeon Keeper). However, if you take a lot of pictures, and are okay with a little investment, A Better Camera certainly lives up to its name.
Google launched its own camera app earlier in the year, and it has now replaced the stock Android camera on devices running Android Lollipop. Google Camera has a minimalist design, it shows only two on-screen buttons when you want to shoot something, the others being hidden in a side panel which you use a gesture to bring out.
Google Camera’s 360 degree panoramic feature is really impressive. You rotate your camera right or left after taking your initial shot, and you must trace white balls across the screen as you go around to maintain the correct orientation. While it didn’t work 100% of the time, and did necessitate that I move really slow to complete it, when it did work, the outcome was fantastic. It is capable of creating incredibly high resolution panoramic pictures which looked seamless, and it's the best method for taking panoramics that I've ever used.
Google Camera’s Android version requirement varies depending on the device. I was able to download it on the KitKat 4.3 version of our HTC One, for others it may need KitKat 4.4. The steep requirement may stop some users being able to get it, but if your device can handle it, it’s well worth checking out. It’s simple to navigate, user-friendly and clever.
Camera360 is hugely popular on the Google Play Store, offering a comprehensive camera app capable of pretty much anything. It uses a lens-filter system that can be applied before a picture is taken, meaning you don't have to wait until later to see whether your picture is fixable by adding a cheeky filter. It contains a huge variety of options and effects, even if they aren't all entirely useful.
Camera360 Ultimate also includes a “passport photo” function, which gives you a quick tutorial on how to get the best passport photo, and then provides a stencil of a picture to use as a reference. It's a fantastic and well thought-out addition. There is also a beautiful gesture menu overlay for white balance, exposure, ISO and sharpness, which is slick, effective and feels great to work with. Camera360 Ultimate is a highly impressive little free app. Get it.
Pixlr Express needs to be used in conjunction with another camera app, as it’s just an image editor. But boy what an editor. You’ll be hard pressed to find more image editing options anywhere on Android, ranging from the strange low-poly and fire effects, to the typical gamut of photo fixers and alterations.
It has the option of automatic image correction, and adjustments such as heal, focus and splash, it feels like a near-Photoshop level experience. Some of the effects and features are more useful than others, I’m not sure “stickers” were ever a good idea for photo-editing, but there is plenty to tinker with to get your pictures looking polished. You can also add text to your photos with a number of different font-styles.
Aside from the fact that Instagram is a huge social network of amateur and professional photographers (though most people think they are a professional photographer on instagram heh), Instagram's camera app is a brilliant tool by itself. The genius of Instagram is that it is so easy to improve every photo you take. I know serious photographers turn their nose up at the “quick fix” that its filters provide, but to the casual audience its impressive see life given to dreary looking snaps in seconds.
As a photography tool its not nearly as comprehensive as some of the competition, but Instagram has used a its seemingly simple interface to hook millions of users, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
Snapseed is another image editor which doesn’t have its own dedicated camera function, but once you take a picture, you can use it to produce some fantastic shots. Like Instragram, you add filters and effects in post to improve your images, but Snapseed uses a unique and intuitive gesture system to do this. You select an image option, like texture strength or saturation, by swiping up and down over an image, and then swipe left and right to add or subtract the amount of it in your picture. It's completely intuitive and takes mere seconds to completely transform your pictures.
In the end, your images may look quite exaggerated or obviously edited, but it’s an undeniably impressive to see what can be achieved with just a simple app.
What's your favorite Android camera app?