When a moment is gone, it’s gone forever, and all that remains are the photos we take as a reminder. As our phones increasingly become our go-to devices for capturing these memories, it's important that they can do that to the best of their abilities. Ensure your Android camera is as good as it can be, with our list of the best camera apps for Android.
When you want a lightweight and fast camera app, Open Camera is the best choice out there. It's completely free and contains almost all the adjustment options you might need, such as manual focus, ISO and exposure time (assuming you have the Android 5.0 Camera2 APIs, which come with Android Lollipop.
What's particularly great about this app is that it has a widget you can add to your home screen, which will open the app and taken a picture with a single press. This is useful if you need to quickly grab a picture of something without needing it to look great. Otherwise, the options provided in the app will get your pictures looking just the way you want.
Google's own camera app offers a clean and simple interface with few manual settings (no ISO, white balance or filters, for instance). It has Photo Sphere and Panorama modes, which work on a fun follow-the-dots mechanism, and Lens Blur, which creates a depth of field effect by taking a photo and then having you slowly raise your device – the app takes in from there, creating a blurred background for the object of focus to stand out against.
The results with the Photo Sphere setting range from interesting to very impressive. When it works perfectly, you end up with a seamless 360-degree photo you can move your screen to look around.
The app does seem to have a variety of problems on various devices, with many users reporting frequent crashes, but it's worth giving it a go, because it can produce some great results when it works right.
VSCO Cam isn't the most user-friendly camera on our list. Despite its often minimal layout, it takes a while just to learn which menu you're in. But it is one of the best Android camera apps thanks to the amount of customization it offers, and the quality of its adjustments.
VSCO Cam combines a camera with editing and sharing functions to provide an Instagram-like experience, only more powerful. While it doesn't house a one-click 'beautify' option, it more than makes up for it with its premium temperature, tint, contrast and sharpen gauges.
A Better Camera is basically what it says it is: a superior camera app to the standard Android ones. A Better Camera brings a number of interesting features, including Bestshot, which takes a number of photos in succession and then provides you with the least blurred, most impressive one. It's a simple idea but it works incredibly well.
A Better Camera also includes immediate post-processing, something that is absent in the camera apps from Sony, Samsung and co, 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 at times.
However, 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.
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 if they aren't all entirely useful.
It's easy to use, though, and presents most of the important dials on the same screen, so you can adjust multiple settings at the same time. 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.
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 most 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, 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 solution. But beware, the app does require the many new APIs from Android 5.0 Lollipop, so it's currently only available to users who've received the update.
Pixr Express — Effect Express needs to be used in conjunction with another camera app, because 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; the ones here range 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.