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10 min read 89 comments

Best camera apps for Android: 10 tools to take better photos

While smartphone cameras have gotten a lot better in recent years, increasing our ability to capture even more stunning images, if you have the skills. But often, if you want to get the best out of your Android camera, you'll want to install a third-party option, and that's where this list of the best Android camera apps comes in handy. 

The following apps all offer a range of functions both automatic and manual to help you take great pictures with your smartphone, but to get the best results out of them, it helps to have a little know-how on the user side too, which you can find in our guide to smartphone photography. We've also got some great tips for those difficult night-time shots. But a great smartphone photographer also needs great software, so without further ado, we present the best Android camera apps you can get so you can find the right software for your style.

Google Camera

With a clean layout and intuitive controls, Google’s Camera app has been getting better and better both for beginners and pros alike. You can take panoramic pictures and use Photo Sphere, a walk-in spherical panorama function that makes immersive viewing possible in Google's Photos app. The Nexus or Pixel motion sensors work wonders but true 360-degree cameras are still better suited for such shots. That's just one of many of its features. What's really impressive are the app's results, especially on Nexus and Pixel phones.

Google Camera with HDR+ for non-Google phones

Officially, it’s really Nexus and Pixel owners who will get the most of this app since these are the only phones that support Google’s own HDR+ mode. HDR+ adds low noise to its processing and is capable of creating some of the most stunning smartphone imaging available yet, even in the darkest lighting conditions. But in reality, almost any smartphone with a Snapdragon 820, 821 or 835 processor can get Google Camera with HDR+ by sideloading the APK. Check out the full instructions for how to get it here.

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Google camera offers the extensive Photo Sphere function. / © Google

Camera Zoom FX

Camera Zoom FX is a classic among Android camera apps - having been on the market for quite some time, providing a continuous stream of updates and features for its users.

The camera app allows you to use preset filters, but also lets you use it as a no frills, pure camera app. Camera Zoom FX will let you set up grid lines as well as display a stabilization indicator. With this option turned on, you'll see a red circle on your display if you are shaking too much while trying to take a photo.

An interesting feature is the incognito mode. If you're ever in a situation where you want to take a photo, but don't want your surroundings to see what you are doing, you can launch the incognito mode. The camera launches a image which masks as a web page, with a small camera window in the top corner. If you tap on the display, the camera will then take a photo. Camera Zoom FX has a host features which will make be sure to satisfy every smartphone photographer. Camera Zoom FX is available as a free and paid app. 

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Camera Zoom FX / © Screenshot: ANDROIDPIT

ProShot

While its interface might take a little while to learn to navigate, it's a feature-packed app for shooting better pictures. The grid overlay is a useful thing to have on hand, and there are two kinds of on-screen levels to help make sure you're shooting straight.

The usual manual controls are present – ISO, exposure, focus, white balance –  and the built-in gallery also displays ISO and shutter speeds for each picture you've taken. It's not the best-looking gallery but it's certainly a powerful app that has some intuitive features throughout - like the precise one-finger zooming and a fun Light Painting option that 'develops' photos in front of your eyes.

It'll even support up to 4K video capture, providing you have the right hardware. While there used to be a free version to try out, there's now just a paid $5 version.

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ProShot's interface is clean, and at first a little confusing. / © AndroidPIT

Camera FV-5

FV-5 also offers grid overlays, histograms and other similar options, but they're tucked away in the menus, making them less accessible than through ProShot's interface. You're afforded full control over ISO, light-metering, focus, white balance and the like. There's also an exposure bracketing feature that allows you take several photos in quick succession with different exposure values, letting you review them and choose the best to keep.

It's cheaper than ProShot, and worth it considering alongside that and a Manual Camera (see below) is there – if you're after high-quality manual control. There's also now a 'lite' version that gives you a taster of the app too. 

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FV-5 is one of the best manual camera apps available. / © AndroidPIT

Open Camera

When you want a lightweight camera app, and you want it to be totally free, there's not much better than Open Camera. It has many of the same manual control features as premium apps and even offers up a handy home screen widget that lets you take a photo with a single press. 

Using that widget isn't going to get you the best visual results from your camera, but when that isn't a priority, it's a handy button to have. Otherwise, the multitude of options provided in the app will help you get your pictures looking just the way you want.

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Open Camera's widget lets you take a photo from your home screen. / © AndroidPIT

VSCO Cam

VSCO Cam isn't the most user-friendly camera on our list, but it is trusted by an awful lot of people and has been around for a long while. It's a little different to most of the apps we've seen in this list up until now though. 

This is primarily because it combines - and indeed, focuses on - providing an Instagram-like capturing and sharing experience. There are a number of pre-made filters you can apply to your images to change the tone and feel, and the quality of those adjustments is one of the reasons to use VSCO Cam. And if they don't cut it, there are some rather unintuitive menus to dig your way through, in which you can adjust image settings manually. 

The company killed the photo edit syncing feature it used to offer, but VSCO Cam still has some worthwhile skills. 

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The original photo (left) and a few steps later. / © AndroidPIT

A Better Camera

A Better Camera is basically what it says it is: a superior camera app to the standard Android one that comes pre-installed on 'vanilla' devices. A Better Camera brings a number of interesting features, including group portrait settings, 'Sequence Shot' and the ability to remove unwanted objects from images simply. There's also a useful Best Shot option that takes multiple images then allows you to select the one you think looks best, and the ability to use focus and exposure metering from separate points. 

A Better Camera also includes immediate post-processing, and you can record video with real-time HDR. Unfortunately, many of the app's best functions are only available via in-app purchase, so A Better Camera sometimes feels a bit like an annoying free-to-play game - for example, you get 5 free Super Shots, but then need to upgrade. Thankfully, the app's on sale at the moment so you can unlock everything for very little money. 

If you take a lot of pictures, and are happy with a little investment, A Better Camera certainly lives up to its name – and more camera apps should make use of its slide-out grid gesture. If you want an app that lets you apply filters and easily edit the shots post-capture, you'll need to install another companion app called A Better Editor. 

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A Better Camera doesn't come with a vast number of features, but provides quality snaps. / © AndroidPIT

Camera360 Ultimate

Camera360 is hugely popular in the Google Play Store. It offers a comprehensive camera app that's 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 to the point whether you might wonder if some of them are truly a lot of use.

What's particularly good is that it's easy to use and doesn't bury all of the options away in individual menus. This is something which other cameras lack, but it's really useful to have everything in one place instead of going through several different screens. 

It also brings across features like stickers and cartoon effects that you can apply to your photos easily enough before sharing or saving them. Those are features more often found in messenger apps like Line or WhatsApp, but some people will find having that ability directly in the camera app more useful. 

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The on-screen dials, which adjust in real-time (left), and one of the warmer filters (right). / © AndroidPIT

Manual Camera

Most camera apps are designed to make photography as easy as possible for the end-user. This results in some Facebook-friendly snapshots, but certainly not professional pictures. Experienced photographers may be more at home with Manual Camera, which provides a range of settings options that many other apps just don't offer. 

Shutter speed, focus, white balance, exposure compensation – you get to control every detail of your picture. This app also lets you save images in the lossless RAW format. 

So, if you take photographs pretty seriously, but still want to use your smartphone, Manual Camera is an excellent solution. As it's a paid app ($2.99) on the Play Store, you'll probably want to test out the compatibility checker before you cough up any cash. 

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Manual Camera is a fantastic recent app with a wealth of options.  / © GD Software

Pixlr

Pixlr has come a long way since it was a standalone image editor, and while it doesn't quite offer the same granular level of control as Manual Camera, it's an excellent choice if you need a good balance of tools alongside a set of really useful and impressive visual effects. There's even a perfectly functional gallery built in too that lets you show file size alongside the thumbnails.

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. You can also add text to your photos with a number of different font styles or choose to pixelate or blur other parts. 

Pixlr is an excellent all-rounder to pick, and is also free to download. Some filters and features require an in-app purchase but even without, it's worth a look.

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Pixlr's filter effects can be seen live before you take a snap. / © AndroidPIT

What's your favorite Android camera app? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • If you wanna defocusing, I recommend God Defocus Pro. It has powerful depth than google camera.


  • I'm using the native camera app on my Pixel 2 and open camera. Open camera provides a little extra control of some of the settings that I don't get with the native app. I have also used footej and camera 360 just a little, but stay for the most part to using open camera and the native Pixel 2 camera app for most of my pics.


  • Google’s Camera app has been getting better and better both for beginners and pros!


  • I use a combo of Open camera, when I'm in a hurry, and camera FV-5, if I want to really get the best I can out of a tiny pinhole sensor.


  • In this era i really need the best camera and i search for that and i found some amazing camera with smart phone in 2018 check it out here
    digitalinfo3 blogspot dot come

    Thanks for such information.


  • John 9 months ago Link to comment

    Which of the apps has ISO priority mode where I can set the ISO and the app can automatically select the shutter speed?


  • Diane 9 months ago Link to comment

    Just wondering if these apps store your photos. I'd like something that is secure. Thanks!


  • I am using the nexus/pixel camera APK on my oneplus 3T which allows me to use HDR+ mode and I gotta say, It's incredible how much better it is than the native camera app.


  • Burcet Sep 20, 2017 Link to comment

    I'm using Camera Zoom FX and it is really nice.


  • I used to use ABC on my LG G2 but now I have an LG G4 and ABC will not work properly (doesn't focus)
    The ABC people do not respond to any posts on their site so I have deleted the app and now use CameraMX, which is an excellent application with a good team running it.


  • I use the Season Camera, it has a lot of filters, frames and stamps.


  • Which of these apps allow mirror mode on front camera?


  • theant May 28, 2017 Link to comment

    Which of these apps allows you to choose jpg compression level? The app of my Moto G5 plus compresses too much the files and the quality is low.


  • RETRICA is also a good mobile app to use to customise your pics.
    it have a lot of filters which can improve contrast, brightness of your pic.


  • Revised 171212 again - I began noticing intrusive noise reduction jpeg smearing at low ISO (when there is no noise to reduce) using Open Camera, which has no wavelet denoise toggle or jpeg sharpening. After some experimental installs and tripod tests of competing apps on some subtle textures, I found only Bacon Camera truly disables noise reduction on my ZTE and provides the best clean detail on the same settings - noticeably so. It also (amazingly) produces good DNGs on the Camera1 API phone. Unfortunately the Bacon interface is twiddly for comfortable handheld, outdoors shooting. I've chosen Snap Camera (Marginz Software) as a new default - comparable output to Camera FV-5, but includes video and has a very configurable GUI. Sad to let the good open source Open Camera go, but it's not up to the job on my device.

    There are several good "manual" apps and time spent getting under the hood and comfortable with a good one is better than time spent flitting between installs like a bumblebee. It's surprising how different the GUIs can be for the sophisticated apps, and mainly a matter of user preference which to use. To the comment below, the practical fact is that many OEM "stock" camera apps fail miserably to get the best out of their camera hardware, because they're designed for simplicity not photography. Most users familiar with DSLR or advanced compact cameras install the better third party apps.

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