Cameras on smartphones are a much bigger deal than they used to be. Companies are chomping at the bit to make their cameras more reliable, work better in low light, and add features that people want. Many will base their purchase decisions on the strength of the camera. The point is that cameras are important on mobile devices these days. Usually, that makes stock camera apps better than third party apps. OEMs simply know their camera setups better and optimize more appropriately. This is especially true for Google, Samsung, and Huawei phones that use AI and other software optimizations in conjunction with the camera hardware.
Related: Best Android smartphone cameras
There are still plenty of excellent apps to help you make the most of it, though. Here are the best camera apps for Android!
Camera FV-5 is one of many camera apps for manual camera fans. It emulates various DSLR features. That includes manual shutter speed, ISO, light metering, focus, white balance, and more. It also supports JPEG, DNG (RAW), and PNG file formats. There is support for 30 langauges as well. There are a ton of features. However, it does a good job of not feeling bloated. It even has support for volume key usage. You can pick it up for free or go pro for $3.95.
Camera MX is one of the oldest and most popular camera apps. Developers update the app regularly and that keeps it current. It works best for simple stuff. The app has a variety of shooting modes. You can also use it to shoot photos or videos. There is even a GIF mode to make your own GIFs. The built-in photo editor can do the basics as well. It’s a decent all-in-one solution. Serious photographers may want to look elsewhere.
Camera Zoom FX is another one of the older camera apps that aged well. It’s a good mix of simple and serious. You’ll get manual controls for things like ISO, shutter speed, exposure, and more. There are also filters, HDR mode, various photo modes, and more. There are also a few plugins that add even more features. It’s not as mainstream as Camera MX. However, it does have more features than most manual camera apps. You can try it for free before paying $3.49 for the pro version.
Candy Camera is part of a new wave of camera apps. This one is specifically for selfies. It has a bunch of filters. It also includes makeup tools, stickers, and additional stuff. There is also a collage mode. The UI is a little hard to use at first. It gets easier the more you use it. It’s not something a serious photographer would want to use. It’s more for things like Instagram photos or other social media stuff. The app is completely free to download. It has advertising, but no way to get rid of them.
Cymera is another one of the older and popular camera apps. It focuses more on mainstream features. That means you’ll get a bunch of filters, stickers, special effects, and similar features. It also has a beauty camera mode. It can add or take away features from your face and body. We’re not big fans of such dramatic alterations, but to each their own. It also includes a photo editor for minor edits. It’s free to download. You can buy additional stuff as in-app purchases.
Related: Best Beauty Camera Apps for Android (AndroidApps.com)
DSLR Camera has an ambitious name. However, it’s one of the better manual camera apps. It features a decent number of manual controls. That includes white balance, light metering, a live histogram, ISO, and more. It also has various shot modes, geotagging, and you can use the volume buttons as shutter buttons. That’s it, really. There isn’t a lot of bric-a-brac to gum up the works. It works really well on most devices. It has a few bugs, but nothing major most of the time. The only downside is the lack of a free trial. Make sure you test it inside of the refund time.
Footej Camera is one of the newer camera apps. It has a good mix of mainstream and serious photography features. It uses Android’s Camera2 API. That means it has a full assortment of manual controls. It can also shoot video, make GIFs, a photo histogram, and burst mode. It also supports RAW format as long as your device does. You can try it out for free or pay $2.99 for the pro version. It’s quite excellent without too many serious bugs.
Google Camera is Google’s official camera app. It’s the one you’ll find on most Google devices. It has a small, but effective set of features. They include a lens blur mode, slow motion (on supported devices), photo spheres, video stabilization, and more. The only downside is compatibility. You can only use this on devices running Android 7.1.1 and up (at the time of this writing). Even later on, only devices running the most current Android will likely be able to use this. Otherwise, it’s free and it’s really good.
Google Cardboard Camera is a camera app for Google Cardboard. It allows you to take and view VR images. You’ll be able to take 360-degree photos. It’s similar to panorama shots, except it goes all the way around. You’ll need a Google Cardboard to get best results. Thankfully, they’re cheap and easily accessible. The app itself is also free with no in-app purchases. It’s a niche product to be sure. It’s also the easiest way to take those types of photos.
Manual Camera is exactly what the name implies. It’s a camera with a bunch of manual settings. It attempts to take full advantage of the Camera2 API. That means you get access to shutter speed, focus distance, ISO, white balance, and exposure compensation. It also has a timer and support for RAW. Your device needs support for RAW as well in order to use that feature. It’s incredibly simple to use. Just make sure you try the free version before buying it.
Motion Stills is one of the newer camera apps. It’s also an extremely niche app. Its main function is recording short bits of video. It can turn that video into a GIF or it can stay a video for later viewing. It also has a fast forward option for super quick videos. It’s not useful for taking photos. However, it’s about the only app that does what this one does. It can’t hurt to have it in your repertoire. It’s completely free to download and use. It is a tad buggy, though.
Open Camera is one of the most popular camera apps for serious photographers. It has most of the serious features we’ve discussed before. That includes manual camera controls. It also includes a timer, support for some external microphones, HDR, exposure bracketing, and more. It’s also a great option for both photographers and videographers. The app is completely free with no in-app purchases or advertising. It’s also completely open source. That’s always a plus. There is an optional (and separate) donation app if you want to support the developer.
Snap Camera HDR is a good between for serious and amateur photographer types. There is support for manual camera controls, 4K video recording, RAW support, HDR, and file size options. It also includes fun shooting modes, effects, borders, color effects, and vignettes. There are camera apps that do manual controls a little better and apps that do fun filters and such a little better. It’s rare to find an app that does both as well as this one. Make sure to try the free version before buying the pro version.
VSCO is a popular and somewhat powerful camera app and photo editor combo. The camera side is a little simple and not as powerful as your native phone camera app or some others here. However, the photo editor side is among the best in all of mobile. It has a variety of filters, effects, and settings. Additionally, it has most of these same videos for video content as well. This app does get fairly expensive, though, and many of its most desirable features are behind a $19.99 per year paywall.
Every phone comes with its own camera app. You should definitely give that app a fair shake. Manufacturers develop these apps specifically for the camera on your device. There are often features these apps have that others do not. For instance, the manual focus in the LG V20 makes whatever is in focus glow green. Thus, you visually see where the camera is focused. We really only recommend changing your camera app to expand your feature set rather than replace it. Every app on this list does best when it’s used alongside the stock camera app. You’re usually leaving features at the door if you don’t use these.
If we missed any of the best camera apps for Android, tell us about them in the comments! See all our best apps and games lists here.