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The best camera apps for Android: take better photos today!

The best camera apps for Android: take better photos today!

Do you want to take even better photos with your smartphone? Or do you want to manually determine how photos and videos are compressed? This time, our update of the best camera apps for Android focuses on apps that offer you more control. Furthermore, we present camera apps that we have tested and that you should try out.

Why use an alternative camera app?

Numerous smartphones are already equipped with very good photo apps. There are also many who offer extensive options for both manually controlling the exposure and for processing the photos in real-time. However, alternative camera apps sometimes have new functions and expanded setting options. And this is exactly what we address in the following examples.

Unfortunately, alternative camera apps have some, sometimes serious, disadvantages. Google has made changes to the programming interface so that third-party providers can make full use of the new cameras with several sensors. But this only works with devices with Android 9 Pie or younger. It is therefore only available in beta versions of the apps, if at all. Some of the camera apps shown here cannot access the wide-angle or telephoto optics. Certain HDR modes (such as HDR+ on Google smartphones) can usually also not be used via the alternative camera apps, since they are encoded in the manufacturer's camera app or in the hardware.

Vector camera: real-time alienation

Vector Camera provides you with exciting post-processing effects. The free open source app focuses on flashy color effects. Its specialty is live vectorization. Your photo subjects are outlined in real-time with closed lines, transforming them into an artistic drawing.

vector camera 2020 01 13Vector Camera takes pseudo UV pictures or vectorized in real-time.  / © NextPit

FreeDCam: Full codec control for photo and video

Do you want more control over the output of your camera? In FreeDCam you determine how much the photos are compressed or with which codec videos are to be compressed.

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In FreeDCam, defines how videos should be compressed. This saves you lossy transcoding. / © NextPit

HedgeCam 2: Modifies image processing (HDR and Co.)

Similar to FreeDCam, the focus of the free HedgeCam 2 is on manual control. Here you can not only vary the compression, but also define the logic of the high dynamic range algorithm. Its predecessor HedgeCam is a further development of the Open Camera shown below. HedgeCam 2 is the much better camera app, especially when it comes to user-friendliness.

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Hedgecam 2 gives you manual control over image optimization. / © NextPit

Photoshop Camera: coming soon

Adobe launched a beta test of the camera app for Android in November 2019. You can register and try the app for free. The full version should be coming out very soon.

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Adobe's camera app is in the starting blocks. / © Adobe, Montage: AndroidPIT

Open camera: full control

Open Camera is a free, open-source camera app. At first glance, the user interface is kept simple. In addition to a few general information, such as how much device memory is still free or the time, you can also see the virtual trigger for photos and videos as well as some options. Open Camera can show you the angle at which you are holding your smartphone - together with the optional fade-in guidelines you can ensure the best perspective.

AndroidPIT open camera
Open Camera is a very nice camera app. / © Screenshot: AndroidPIT

In the side menu, there are numerous other options to choose from, which can help, for example, with smartphones that only have a camera app without manual mode. One of the options is the exposure control. The lock symbol for the exposure lock is also helpful. This helps with backlighting.

VSCO: for your filter bubble

VSCO is an exciting mix of camera app, filters, image editing, and an artistic social network. The app is designed in an unusual way and initially appears to be limited to the simplest functions. After taking or importing an image, the user has access to numerous filters - many of which are subject to a fee - as well as a wide range of image editing options to change a photo so that the desired look is achieved.

vsco
A minimalist look, but a lot behind it - that's VSCO. / © NextPit

Within VSCO, users can share their photos with the community. Like other social networks, VSCO also allows you to network with your own friends, acquaintances, and contacts so that you can admire pictures together. The app itself and many basic options are free of charge. However, there are many in-app purchases and ways to spend your money with VSCO. The filters and presets that VSCO sells for up to $59 can also be used with other software, such as Adobe Lightroom or Camera Raw.

Camera MX: look into the past

The Camera MX app from Magix comes with a whole range of features and options that ambitious photographers, in particular, should appreciate. But even beginners should not be put off and try Camera MX, because Magix has also integrated scenes, filters, and similar functions. Video filmmakers will be delighted with the easily adjustable time-lapse function.

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Camera MX from Magix has a lot of options and features. / © NextPit

One of the most exciting features of Camera MX is called "Shoot the Past". This means that the smartphone not only records a single image but also a few seconds beforehand. The user can then select exactly which moment is to be saved on the touchscreen. This is particularly helpful for scenes with a lot of movement and is reminiscent of the motion feature of pixel smartphones or live pics of the iPhone.

A Better Camera: forgive your mistakes

As the name suggests, A Better Camera wants to be a better camera than the camera pre-installed on many smartphones. The app offers a number of interesting functions, including group selfies, burst modes and the ability to easily remove unwanted objects from images, as well as the ability to use focus and exposure metering from separate points. There is also a useful option that works like Google's "Top Shot" feature. Several pictures are taken here, from which users can then choose the best.

Immediate post-processing is also possible within the app and videos can be recorded with real-time HDR. Unfortunately, many of the best features are only available through purchase, so A Better Camera can sometimes feel a bit like an annoying free-to-play game.

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A Better Camera offers some cool functions, but you also have to spend money on them. / © NextPit

If you take a lot of photos and are ready to make the small investment, then the camera app lives up to its name. If you want to edit recordings directly after taking the snapshot, you have to install the companion app called A Better Editor.

Cymera: get into the mask!

Cymera is the perfect app for the selfie generation. With the integrated filters, beauty options and postprocessing options, you can make even more stylish self-portraits of yourself.

cymera new
Cymera offers a lot of features for the perfect selfie. / © NextPit

But Cymera can do more than just selfies. The app includes its own gallery, numerous options for editing your photos and many options for playing around with the camera.

Google Camera (port): Best HDR and spherical panoramas

Beginner-friendly, fast and exclusive: This is the short summary of the Google camera. But there is more: In the Play Store, the app is now Google exclusive, because it offers Nexus and Pixel smartphones the HDR + functionality. This is a special HDR mode that combines several differently exposed images into a single one.

The camera app is not recommended for most smartphones - at least not the version in the Play Store. Resourceful developers have managed to activate ("port") HDR + on other smartphones with a Qualcomm chip. Thanks to these modified app versions, you can take HDR photos with non-Google smartphones and use some other features.

google camera 2
With the new UI, the Google camera is a bit more intuitive to use. / © NextPit

You can take pictures as panorama and as photosphere. The latter is a walk-in spherical panorama that you can view with the appropriate photos app via the motion sensors; although 360-degree cameras are more suitable for such shots.

But some self-research is required: there are now countless different app versions and not all work equally well. Maybe there is a variant of the Google camera adapted for your smartphone. If so, you will find it on the corresponding hub page at the XDA developers.

Do you have any other tips for good camera apps? Let us know your preferred app in the comments!


This article is updated regularly. Older comments can, therefore, refer to an earlier version of the article and appear out of context accordingly.

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94 comments

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  • g3l33m Jun 28, 2019 Link to comment

    Camera Zoom FX was pretty good on my Galaxy S7. Can't get it to focus at all in any of the focus settings on my Galaxy S10. Stock camera beats the heck out of it.


  • I can vouch that Google Camera App did improve my photos on the Motorola G7 (if you're not content with your Smartphone's Camera and / or the Software App tied to it? Download Google Camera and give it a try)


  • All I really want is a simple camera that automatically freezes each new picture full-screen for at least a couple of seconds so I can review it. Do any of these apps do that?


  • Is there really any difference between any of these apps and say the stock Samsung Camera app?

    I don't mean playing around the edge differences but actual game changing features?

    It would appear that most differ in the UI rather than changes in the process, would it matter as the camera unit is the important part.

    Though if it's just the UI that differs then it's not a bad thing, I find it a little annoying that it takes 2,3,4 steps to change the camera settings so I'll give those listed a trial run, I'm just doubtful on the quality side.

    Peace 🖖


  •   25
    Deactivated Account Jan 21, 2019 Link to comment

    I have Camera ZOOM FX premium. Good app but a bit buggy and HDR not very good.


  • 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 Jan 4, 2018 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 Jan 3, 2018 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?

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