Some of the best tools for photography can be found right on your smartphone.
Whether you’re aiming for only the best selfies or are striving to take quality photos without the weight of carrying around a camera, these apps can help get the job done with just a few taps.
Some of these apps are available for free while others offer their wide array of features at a low price. A number of editing tools, post-production effects and multiple shot modes are just a few options that are available at your disposal.
Figuring out what works for your device and your photo needs can help you narrow down which one is the best for you, but here are some of the best options so far that are found in the Google Play Store.
Candy Camera (Free)
What makes it great: This app is useful for selfies and posting on social media. With this app, you can up your selfie game with stickers, filters and several beauty functions. You could even test out multiple filters at one time before posting them. It also includes a collage option where you can select from a variety of grids and styles to organize your photos. The silent camera option is another great feature so you can take photos without having the shutter sound go off in an embarrassing time. So far, it has about 100 million installs.
Keep in mind: While the app itself is free, it does have several features that you will have to purchase to access. It also does not have manual camera support.
Open Camera (Free)
What makes it great: This app is an open sourced project, so the app’s features continue to grow as the development team continues to make improvements. Not only does it have an automatic setting, but it also supports some manual options including ISO and exposure controls, shutter controls, auto-stabilization and an option to switch to video. It’s a great tool for someone who is planning to use their smartphone camera in a more professional way thanks to its voice control options and external microphone support.
Keep in mind: The Open Camera app has no ads and is continuously adding features. Between the automatic and manual controls, it’s a matter of finding which style works best for you when you use the app.
Camera Zoom FX ($2.99)
What makes it great: Camera Zoom FX not only has manual controls, including ISO and shutter speed, but it also includes RAW capture support (for compatible devices). It also features settings like time lapse, 360-degree panorama photos and a variety of post-production features to choose from. There are multiple shot modes available to choose from as well. It’s a good blend between professional and amateur. The app also comes with a few post-production filters and effects to apply to your photos.
Keep in mind: There is a free version of this app, but it doesn’t have all of the features. But for all of these features, the full version (or premium version) would be the way to go.
Manual Camera ($2.99)
What makes it great: This simple, no frills camera app takes full advantage of the camera controls introduced in the Lollipop Camera2 API. This gave users almost total manual control of their camera settings. This is not an app for someone who just snaps pictures and calls it a day. This would be ideal for a photographer who wants full control over the shots they take from the ISO to the exposure to the focus distance.
Keep in mind: While there isn’t a free version to try for this app, there is a compatibility checker available to see whether or not your phone is able to run the app properly.
What makes it great: This trendy app can turn your photos into works of art. Whether you’re a fan of watercolors, black and white sketches, or the style of a specific artist, Prisma uses these art filters to create a completely new feel to your photos. It’s not mean to be a professional’s camera app, but more to express a different level of creativity with some simple shooting. It all depends on what kind of feel you are trying to convey through the various style filters.
Keep in mind: You will need to shoot your photo within the app before selecting a filter to try.
What makes it great: With various automatic and manual settings, this app offers features that both serious photographers and point-and-shoot photographers can enjoy. Users are able to customize aspect ratios, save RAW files, take burst shots, timed shots or timelapse videos (with full manual controls). Its video can feature up to 4K (with compatible devices) with automatic or manual control. Users are able to adjust aspect ratios for video as well as select from multiple modes to record.
Keep in mind: You’ll really need to play around with this app to figure out which settings work for you and your device with both the photo and video setting.
What makes it great: ProCapture allows users to take more control of the photos they are trying to shoot before the post-production process. While it doesn’t offer those post-production options, it makes up for it by offering live histograms, composition aids, multiple shot modes, focus setting, white balance setting and other fine-tuning options for the photo enthusiast.
Keep in mind: There is a free version that can be used to test the full app version, but there are ads and some features will not be available unless you opt for the full version. It also does not support video capture.
Camera FV-5 ($3.95)
What makes it great: Camera FV-5 uses manual camera features that make it easy for professionals and enthusiasts to create the perfect shot. From exposure compensation settings to RBG live histograms, there are a variety of detailed yet powerful tools to use to your advantage. Depending on the device, it also supports RAW, lossless PNG and JPEG files. It works similar to how one would use a manual DSLR. The app also allows users to timelapse photos and video.
Keep in mind: There is a Lite version that is offered for free, but it does not include full access to its many features.
Cardboard Camera (Free)
What makes it great: Cardboard Camera allows users to take 360-degree photos which can be used in Virtual Reality (VR). VR photos can be seen using Google Cardboard. While this is still a very niche interest within the realm of photography, this app can help users experiment with reliving moments in virtual reality. The app itself will guide users and help them with creating these kinds of images.
Keep in mind: VR photography is still very new. Not all phones are compatible with this app and it is recommended that you have a means to view the photos (ex. Google Cardboard) to work with it.
DSLR Camera Pro ($2.99)
What makes it great: This app focuses on the photography as much as possible. Aiming to replicate a professional DSLR camera, this app offers major features such as the two-state shutter, moveable viewfinder, live histogram, geotagging, light metering and several others. It also supports these features for front-facing cameras. While it leaves the post-production aspect to other apps, this allows for easy, professional-grade photography right at your fingertips.
Keep in mind: There is no free version of this app from this developer, so you won’t be able to try it out before purchase. Also, the features supported will depend on whether or not the device can support it.