As a de facto point-and-shoot camera reviewer for CNET, I spend a lot of time living in the world of automatic snapshots and easy post-shot editing. While I can tell you several ways one(and not just in image quality) I would be a liar if I said that I never use my smartphone camera when taking pictures.
I am regularly looking for new applications that will allow me to do more and work efficiently. For a long time, however, there seemed to be a complete lack of decent camera apps for Android. I remember trying to make a list of apps I liked about this time last year and I could barely find five. This is no longer the case.
These are the twelve camera apps I use most frequently, which I guess make them my favorites. I have others that I use for various things (which I’ve mentioned with my other picks below), but I keep coming back to them.
The links will take you to these apps’ pages on CNET Download.com, where many of them have full reviews from Associate Editor Jaymar Cabebe. If I missed any of your favorites – whether editing, shooting, both, or neither – let me know in the comments.
Editor’s note: This post was originally posted on May 8, 2012, but is updated regularly. It was updated on July 13, 2012 to include Cymera, Pixlr-o-matic, Vignette and Wondershare Panorama applications.
Camera zoom effects
This $2.99 app is called the ultimate Android camera app, and it really is. It’s definitely the most feature-rich, handling both shooting and editing tasks from a single interface.
And although I find them a little cheesy, there are a bunch of free add-on packs for sticking celebrities or props on your photos.
Also to discover in this category Thumbnail. While I don’t like its interface and workflow as much as Camera Zoom FX, it’s packed with features and the only thing that’s held back for the $3.99 Pro version is the ability to use resolutions greater than 0.8 megapixels.
Little Photo is nice because the workflow is quite fast.
Open the app, tap the screen to take a photo, then tap your photo to open a vertical list of editing tools, filters, and effects with live previews as you go. select them.
It’s free, but a $3.85 plugin adds tools like crop and contrast, exposure, and saturation controls.
Like Urbian retro camera, KTH’s free Pudding Camera app offers several different camera types as well as films that you can combine to achieve your desired effect. You also get quick exposure control, support for front cameras, and touch shooting.
The biggest issue I have with this is that your highest photo resolution is 1280 pixels, but that’s fine for sharing online.
In the same spirit that Pudding Camera is Cymeraa camera app Communications Sask.. The interface is nice and fast, and it has plenty of editing options after shooting. It is, however, linked to SK Comm’s Korean social network, Cyworld, and every time you start the app, it asks you to log in. You can opt out and use the app, but that’s an extra step that could happen to you. after a while. Moreover, it is limited to a maximum resolution of 1024 pixels. It’s free, though, so checking it out won’t cost you anything.
If you’re just looking for a good free photo editor, BeFunky is solid and ad-free.
Everything you’ve been waiting for to fine-tune your shots before sharing is here and easy to use.
the $3.99 Pro version more than doubles the number of effects, but, as with my next pick, the free selection should be enough for most.
Aviary Photo Editor
Aviary is not an app, but I’ve included it here because it’s free and works well. It’s actually a plug-in that adds to your phone’s sharing options. You take a photo with your app of choice or open a photo and tap your Share icon. Select Aviary from the list and it opens an editing options window.
There are plenty of tools to work with – from quick crops to teeth whitening – as well as filters and effects. Aviary sells a few expansion packs of six effects each for 99 cents a pop, but the free stuff is all I’ve ever used.
If you’re going to pay for a photo editor, I’d go with PicSay Pro. It’s only $3.99, but it’s one of the easiest editing apps you’ll find.
Open an image and select what you want to do: Adjust, Effect or Stickers. It then displays a small thumbnail of your photo next to your editing options, giving you a small preview. It’s especially handy with its long, long list of effects.
However, if all you’re looking for is a ton of effects, download this for free.. The interface lets you quickly apply various filters, lighting effects, and frames to see how each one looks before saving and sharing. And if you’re not satisfied with the selection provided, there are several additional packs available to download for free.
Basically, this allows you to simulate shallow depth of field. Or, more specifically, it lets you blur out distracting backgrounds, making your subject look sharper, all with a few swipes of your finger.
You shouldn’t be afraid to dive; it is quite an easy to use application. But, if you want to see how to use it before you start,.
If you’ve never used Paper Camera, you should. It’s really quite an amazing app that gives you a live view of a variety of simulated drawing or painting effects like turning your subject into a cartoon or line art. It can be a little slow to run depending on the device you’re using, but the results are great. Moreover, you can use it for photos and videos.
Fast burst camera
If there’s a must-have camera app for people with young children, it’s this one. Fast Burst can shoot up to 30 frames per second, triggered simply by tapping and holding an on-screen trigger or anywhere on the screen if desired. When firing you basically get a little fuel gauge in the corner as your buffer (which is adjustable) fills up. Once it starts draining, you can start filming again.
There’s a free Lite version, but for $3.99 you get flash, focus and digital zoom support, and shutter sound can be turned off, which looks otherwise to a machine gun when he starts taking pictures.
Professional HDR camera
There are several reasons to use an HDR (high dynamic range) application. Smartphone cameras don’t always produce the best dynamic range when shooting high contrast subjects. HDR apps help balance things out by taking photos at different exposures and then combining them into a single shot for a more even exposure. However, you can also use HDR for creative effect. Pro HDR lets you do both. To learn how, check out the CNET editor .
The big problem with HDR using smartphone cameras is that they don’t focus and snap fast enough to work with moving subjects. Even slight movements will screw up the results, so HDR is best used on landscapes and stationary subjects. Another application, simply called HDR cameradoes a decent job of handling slight movement by suppressing ghosting.
If you want the most geolocation data for your photos or for other purposes, Imageotag logs everything. It captures 16:9 geotagged images, integrating GPS and NET location, accelerometer, bearing, compass, date, lux light, magnetic field, pitch, proximity, roll, speed, temperature and time data. If I am taking photos with a regular camera and want to get the correct information about my location, I just take a quick photo of my location with this app and tag my photos later using its data. Imageotag also creates Google Earth tours from GPS image sequences.
One of my favorite point-and-shoot camera features is the ability to quickly capture panoramas just by swiping the camera. That’s how Wondershare’s app works: just aim, shoot and swipe. It can be used in portrait or landscape mode and has several effect options that can be applied immediately after capture. It’s free too, which helps forget about its lack of size and resolution options.
If you really like taking ultra wide photos, I recommend Photo Panorama Pro. It takes a bit more effort because you have to line up an on-screen ghost image of your previous photo to take your full shot. But it automatically triggers the camera when properly aligned and you can take a full 360 degree photo.
There’s a free version, but the $3.99 Pro version lets you set panoramas as your live wallpaper and has an HD mode for better results, and you can use your camera in portrait mode. . Visit the Photaf website to view a gallery of photos taken with the app.