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9 min read 82 comments

Best camera apps for Android: 10 tools to make your photos better

Update: Get Google Camera with HDR+ on non-Google phones

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. Plus, find out how to get the HDR+ version of Google Camera on your non-Pixel phone.

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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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  • 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 4 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 4 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 8 months ago 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.


  • Malstron 9 months ago Link to comment

    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 11 months ago 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.


  • Don't see any point in these apps because they definitely do not make your in phone camera any better so not really much point in them.


    • Brittany McGhee
      • Admin
      • Staff
      May 9, 2017 Link to comment

      Hi Peter,
      While it's true that an app can't make your camera better, using a different app or different settings can produce better quality photos.


  • wow this is an old article reposted 😎


    • Brittany McGhee
      • Admin
      • Staff
      May 9, 2017 Link to comment

      Hi Jerry,
      It is an older article, but we've added a new app to the list and wanted to share it with the community.


  • Fotor camera app is exceptionally best.


  • Above mentioned camera apps are good but 2 camera apps in playstore are exceptionally best.360 panorama and fotor.one can use fotor to make their photos professional.


  • Great & useful, thanks.


  • Rakesh C. Jan 16, 2017 Link to comment

    I'll recommend trying Photo Editor App download for PhotoMediaApps in play store .


  • I am not able solve my screen overlay problem. I have tried all the method bt nothing is worked with my xperia xa. Please help me this regard.


  • Good Apps Thanks


  • Im bonkers for Snapseed ...just takes amazing pictures and for selfies it has to be YouCam makeup...hours of fun xxx


  • Footej Camera is a new entry... released in June 2016... It's simple and bloat-free! Worth a try!


  • Sweet Selfie is an easy selfie camera. It can take beauty selfies with filters in seconds! It is easy to use and become a natural beauty just one click. I like it best~


  • Jacky Jun 21, 2016 Link to comment

    which is best.. vsco or manual camera!?!


    • My opinion is manual camera app.coz I use it extensively in my Samsung 8.and manual settings gives professional grade photos.but the efficiency of any camera app depends on the smartphone one is using,and the settings.just experiment yourself by using different camera apps and choose the one you are satisfied with.


  • Olga Jun 9, 2016 Link to comment

    Facey Camera is one of the best Android camera applications I’ve ever tried. Very cool features for the capturing and amazing photo editor.

    This app has unique feature of taking pictures when face(s) are detected. So, You don’t have to worry that someone will be left out of focus even if You capture with back camera.

    Also it has an awesome photo editor that has lot of different filters and tools for tuning of the photo.


  • I'll recommend to try Facey Camera

    This app has unique features that don't have other apps. Also cool photo editor.


  • Alex P. Apr 23, 2016 Link to comment

    My personal choices from the listed Apps are VSCO cam and 360 ultimate had used them many a times they are nice and got cool filters and additional features and stuff and they are great for Photography.


    • I've recently started using VSCO, its not bad. I'd have to keep testing it thou. LIke for e.g if I want to take a selfie, it don't provide a Timer, whereas with the back it does. stuff like that


  • Good list!


  • you cam perfect should be on first place.......#scott give a try to it


  • how about Camera FV-5?????


  • So far I tried Open Camera and A Better Camera. They SUCK at indoor pictures compared to the stock app of my Samsung Galaxy Note 4. I'm not trying any other.

    The only problem is the amount of time it takes for the Gallery app to open from the camera app. It's terrible. And there is no way to change which app opens pictures from the camera app. That's why I'm trying to find a replacement for the camera app, but not at the expense of picture quality.


  • All camera apps capture still pictures for us. We are all dynamic individuals. But we have to unnaturally be still in front our camera apps to work. Sometimes it's really get weird when you try to keep the smile on your face while someone press click on the phone. Forget about pictures of you in the moment, jumping around being yourself.

    Kick2Click, a modern camera app, changes that as It captures you in action. Download the app for free from Google Play Store and share your cool pictures with your friends and family!!


  • I have an LG V10 which. I love but I like the Manual Camera app a lot too. It loads and when I open it after the download..... It opens and then closes. Had to uninstall. Sucks


  • Camera FV-5 is a very good manual settings app, that will handle RAW and other latest Android features but is also small, fast and works very well with older Android versions. The one disadvantage is its video app is a separate install. I don't personally like mooshing filters, etc. into the "camera" controls per se, but recently found and switched to Aviary for on-device edits after trying many others.


  • apps can only give features.......apps also depends on how good ur phone camera is...


  • Anyone else tried "Shoot - Manual Camera with RAW"?
    Paid app, but works really well on my Nexus 6.


  • OMG, Scott, you're so beautiful, you don't need any photo editing!!


  • m using DSLR camera and cymera both are nice..


  • Garett R Nov 16, 2015 Link to comment

    I am super confused. The pictures in this article show manual controls on Camera 360 Ultimate. I am using Android 5.0 and I can not find any such options on that app to bring up those controls. Any help?


    • Feemy82 Mar 25, 2016 Link to comment

      I noticed this too. That app has childish menus, nothing of the sort shown in the picture.


  • MobileAPPtelligence [dot] com is an award winning Android app development company, delivering custom apps in gaming, hospitality, travel, real estate, education and several other verticals. We also offer dedicated mobile app developers for hire, on hourly and monthly contracts under NDA to build the concept based mobile apps. Our top mobile developers are working for clients in United States, India, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Canada, Mexico and Singapore, under offshore fixed price and time m material model.


  • Aswin Oct 15, 2015 Link to comment

    VSCO for fast instagramming, otherwise Snapseed by far the most precise photo editing app.


  • VSCO Cam is really very good app if you want to click good pictures with editing. It's on android and iOS both platform. Now a days Android app development India services are blooming globally. So people come to build apps that are innovative as well as scalable in the market. There are so many camera apps on Google Play Store but only few apps are attracting audience because it is giving that quality & functionality and user friendliness. If you want to develop an app like VASCO Cam which is scalable in the market then visit www.hyperlinkinfosystem.com !


  • I like cyanogen camera. Lot of features and easy to used


  •   30
    Deactivated Account Oct 13, 2015 Link to comment

    Pixlr is very cool....


  • my sell is samsung glaxy j1 how is camra whom make a best resul oe pics


  • play.google.com/store/ apps/details?id=com.darkartgames.supercamera.play This app has lot of effects and is free


  • mx camera is great and powerful app


  • The last image is of Aviary not Pixlr. Get it right. So called Professionalism. ^Dissapointed


  • Manual Camera for me and for true black and white Lenka camera is great.


  • Pomacat Jul 31, 2015 Link to comment

    Open Camera works good for me


  • Of all the camera apps, I really like VSCO Cam and Camera 360! These two apps are just amazing and owns the editing features that could your turn simple photo into the best.


  • I'm using Open Camera
    play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.sourceforge.opencamera&hl=en


  • jhonero May 15, 2015 Link to comment

    This new amazing application camera with 6 camera lens I like this
    play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.photoeffects.camera510


  • I tried Android's Stock Camera simply called Camera. I enjoyed it, no problems with it. The settings were a bit hard to understand thou. SO I switched to Google Camera. I enjoy its SIMPLE interface. However the Error "Cannot connect to camera", really infuriates me. So I just end the Process and I'm ok. Its a bit slow in terms of taking a pic at times. So I have been thinking of Camera360 which I had previously, but never got the chance to download onto my Note 3.


  • tried many, but use Cymera the most


  • Asad Ali Jan 21, 2015 Link to comment

    I am using better camera & Camu... Both are great


  • Instagram is the best and is still continuing to upgrade its features. It also improves your photography and creativity skills.


  • Lee Jan 20, 2015 Link to comment

    It's gotta be the DSLR Camera app for me, i don't know why that's not listed but keeping it simple there's nothing wrong with the stock camera on the S5 & Note 4. Say cheese 😊📷


  • Ralf Hase Jan 14, 2015 Link to comment

    how about: camera mx ?


  • rob d. Aug 4, 2014 Link to comment

    ProCapture


  • Can C. Aug 3, 2014 Link to comment

    vignette and of course VSCO


  • I finally got Google camera...Sweet


  • Snap camera, focal beta and pro capture also the best so far.


    • YES! I wanted to include focal beta because I tested it and thought it was great! But a few weird things happened when I was using it (just bugs I presume), so I didn't want to recommend it as one of the best Android camera apps while in its current form.

      I've already written about it so I'll probably update this article when it comes out of beta.


  • Vignette is my goto camera. I use the purchased version to get rid of ads but it was not expensive. I like that it gives the option for saving very high resolution pictures.


  • Camera FV-5 is my camera app of choice, it has loads of settings & the results are great

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