Looking for the best camera apps for your iPhone or Android phone? With so many great third-party options available for both platforms, it can be difficult to find the best way to upgrade your phone’s stock camera app – but luckily we’ve done all the hard work for you. in this guide.
Why switch to a third-party camera app? Chances are, your smartphone already has excellent camera hardware. Even mid-range cameras pack enough photographic power for DSLRs to exchange worried glances. Meanwhile, Android and Apple flagship phones have even caused some photographers to do without traditional kit altogether.
But hardware is only part of the puzzle. To access the best features of your camera, you need great apps. Apple prides itself on its elegance and simplicity; hence, its first-party Camera app is basic and you’ll want more. Fortunately, the App Store is full of camera apps for all skill levels and use cases. Our top pick right now for the title of best iPhone camera app is the superb Halide Mk II.
Android is a tougher proposition: the wide variety of hardware makes it difficult for developers to support and test their apps; and Android users are generally not in favor of premium apps. However, you may find that your built-in camera app is pro-grade and packed with features. if not, there are still goodies to be found – and we scoured Google Play for them. Right now, we think the best camera app for Android is Open Camera.
That said, you might be looking for something a little more specialized than these all-rounders. So here’s our pick of the best camera apps for Android and iPhone, whether you need something serious or fancy to take snaps just for fun.
Best Camera Apps 2022:
1. Halide Mk II – Professional Camera (iPhone)
- $11.99/£11.99/AU$19.49 per year
Need a pro-grade camera app for iPhone? With Halide, the claim is right there in the title. That’s no hyperbole either – the app is full of tools that squeeze every drop of power out of your iPhone camera, and yet the interface manages to avoid clutter and so shouldn’t intimidate newcomers. .
With Halide, it’s not just the amount of control that impresses. Of course, you get manual focus and exposure adjustments, an on-screen histogram, grid and levels tools. But the app takes extra steps to help you perfect your shots: a focus magnifier to nail sharper shots; focus and exposure peak; a pulse-like live view of depth data in portrait mode — and portrait mode for objects and pets on older Apple devices.
For professional photographers, Instant RAW will be the standout feature. Using the company’s extensive knowledge of photography, it develops raw shots with the click of a button, so you can quickly get something that looks great. If you wish, it is possible to film simultaneously in DNG raw and Smart HDR. In short, it is the best camera app on iPhone.
2. Camera Obscura (iPhone/iPad)
Obscura Camera is more than just an interface, but it’s a good place to start. It’s all designed around dials that echo those found on real-world camera hardware. This touch key is fun, making it user-friendly and usable for professionals.
Even when you’re using a surfboard-sized iPhone, everything should be within a thumb’s reach. Focus and exposure knobs frame the shutter; when pressed, a dial allows you to quickly make adjustments. The story is similar for the main menu, which houses on-screen guides, white balance and a timer (three, five or 10 seconds). The system is less efficient when you need to switch between lenses and format options, but that’s a minor grunt.
Another nice touch is the built-in library tools hidden behind the main interface. Swipe the entire interface down, select a snap-in, and you can view its metadata – and perform actions like duplicate, filter apply, and share. Top marks, then, for an app that lets you shoot like a pro but also feels great, bringing a rare physical feel to the touchscreen.
3. Open Camera (Android)
Open Camera is a software aberration: a pro-oriented camera app that’s not trash. In fact, it’s deeply impressive, putting camera customization and control in the hands of any Android device owner, regardless of the quality (or lack thereof) of their device’s native camera app.
A context menu in the main view provides quick access to various goodies to power your shots. If your device supports the Camera2 API, you can force Open Camera to use it, which potentially gives you access to a range of more advanced features, such as manual focus, burst mode, and shooting. raw view.
The app’s interface is utilitarian and its settings can overwhelm as you explore dozens of menus to make changes. But when you’re done and in the middle of shooting – especially when staring at a screen buzzing with focus assist tools and zebra stripes that are usually the preserve of premium apps – nothing at all. it doesn’t matter.
For $10, Open Camera would be a bargain. Free, it’s a must install and the best camera app for Android – assuming you have the time and inclination to spend time setting it up.
4. ProCam 8 (iPhone/iPad)
There’s a lot going on in ProCam 8. In standard camera mode, there are easy-to-understand manual controls, a timer, and anti-shake. You can quickly select an output format. When adjusting focus, a magnifying glass helps ensure everything is sharp in all the right places, while zebra stripes can be added to warn you of overexposure. Everything is quick and accessible, even if the screen is prone to clutter, due to the many options.
But you can dig deeper. Tap the arrow next to shutter and you’ll discover a host of additional modes: time lapse; video; burst; slow shutter (for motion blur, light trail and low light); portrait; 3D. There’s an editor, too, with 17 creative lenses that add pizzazz to an app that, on the surface, might otherwise look dry and conventional compared to its iPhone contemporaries.
Really, however, ProCam 8 is described as simple and versatile – the closest approximation to what you could get if Apple decided to create a pro version of its own Camera app.
5. ProCam X (Android)
Not to be confused with the iPhone app of the same name above, ProCam X for Android is an entirely separate (and simpler) endeavor. It’s best thought of as a premium alternative to Open Camera, with fewer features but more immediacy.
Everything the app offers is at your fingertips. The manual control options are above the shutter. Next to the shutter are buttons for adjusting the photo mode and switching between your device’s cameras. At the other end of the screen, you’ll find a share button, HDR toggle, timer, flash control, and settings.
The settings are worth working on, as they can be extremely opaque. You will need to figure out what some options mean from cryptic icons. But once you’re sorted, you’ll find ProCam X a fast and efficient app to power your Android camera.
At least you Most likely will be. It worked well with our test phones, but Google Play feedback suggests that it’s not the case with all Android smartphones. Fortunately, you can always try the free lite version and see how it looks on your device.
6. Photoshop Camera (Android/iPhone)
The word Photoshop is synonymous with high-end photo-editing software, and so it’s curious to see it applied to this creative – but often goofy – live filters app.
It’s fun and playful when you select a filter and it transforms a scene. If you’re a more conservative type, you can just make your lunch a little nicer or replace the sky with the bluer sky you’d like to see there. But far more creative dishes lurk, including dazzling pop-art, glitches and giant lollipops to dot the landscape.
The camera will not win any prizes. There’s a timer, flash control and aspect ratio switch. But it’s all responsive – impressive, considering what’s going on – and you can always avoid the camera by loading existing snaps and using the app as a filter editor instead.
Android owners should be aware of a pitfall though – app support on this platform is oddly scattered, limited to specific devices. Why Adobe participated in this kind of “filtering”, we have no idea.
7. Hipstamatic Classic (iPhone/iPad)
If you’ve been using an iPhone for years, you’ll remember that every app once mimicked real-world materials. This trend gave way a long time ago to austere minimalism, but Hipstamatic Classic is a throwback. In this case, that’s a good thing, as the app aims to recreate the experience of analog photography.
You define configurations which are a combination of lens, film and flash. When it’s time to take pictures, you use a camera interface that looks like the real thing, except for a magnified viewfinder. Snapshots can be viewed in the app, like a sort of developed film strip. This is very fun.
Cleverly, however, Hipstamatic Camera is more than a toy. When you photograph something, the app saves the original alongside the filtered image. There’s a pro camera mode, with manual shutter, ISO, exposure, zoom, focus and white balance settings. Is it enough to replace the pro-oriented iPhone camera apps elsewhere in this list? Not enough. But these features are a thoughtful and genuinely useful addition to one of the best camera apps and that’s a lot more than it initially seems.