From larger apertures and sensors to high quality lenses and accessories, phones are inching closer to rivaling point-and-shoot cameras.
And while your phone’s specs will ultimately determine the potential quality of your shot, don’t overlook the impact that the actual camera app can have as well.
But which to choose? With thousands of available options for Android we decided to dig into the pile and find the best.
When determining the apps to include on our 2017 list, we considered reviews, overall cost, camera performance, picture quality, ease-of-use and any unique features that the app might offer over the competition.
So how did they stack up? Which Android camera app is the best? Let’s take a look!
Camera ZOOM FX Editor's Pick
When it comes to camera apps, most fall into one of two categories--complex or an over glorified photo editor.
Camera ZOOM FX is an ideal mix of both. With expanded shooting modes, voice activation, on-screen grids and a variety of ISO and balance settings, it allows you to be sure that you capture the best photo possible.
Additional features, such as filters, color correction, frames and stickers allow you make touch ups and personalize photos after the fact--though many skew more toward fun than professional.
The free version of the app has limited functionality. However, it is more than enough to get a feel for how it works. For a small additional fee, you can unlock the full potential of the app.
Some notable features of the upgrade include stable shot mode--great for avoiding blurry images--and the ability to assign camera functions to your device’s hardware buttons.
Upgrading also allows you fully use a number of free expansion packs for filters, frames and stickers available to paid users.
If you’re a professional photographer or simply like having manual control of nearly every aspect of your device’s camera, Camera FV-5 is the app for you.
Famous for its granular controls of everything from shutter speed and light compensation to exposure times and digital zoom, the app is one of the most full-featured when it comes to providing a DSLR-like experience. There’s even a built-in intervalometer for timelapse photos.
If you’re planning to edit your pictures later, It is also one of the few camera apps to offer Lossless PNG and RAW support.
Your biggest limitation in the paid version of this app will be your phone’s camera. In experienced hands, the app makes it possible to take amazing images with many newer smartphones and mobile devices.
Keep in mind that the free version limits the resolution used to capture pictures. But it still allows you to see if this advanced camera app is a good fit for your style and preferences.
To truly enjoy the app, the paid version is essential. However, we find the price more than fitting for the features offered.
If you’re looking for easy-to-use filters and a simple interface, VSCO is the camera app for you.
The app is simple, intuitive and one of the most fluid apps on the list. The minimalistic design of the app makes it easy to capture images while hiding most of the tweaking and editing options in the built-in gallery.
The developers of the app claim their processing technology allows for better image quality than any app on Android. While we cannot vouch for that claim, we will say that light balance, color and clarity were better than the stock Camera app on our Samsung Galaxy S4.
It does, however, make image capturing slightly slower than some of the apps on this list. Unless you are looking to capture multiple images in rapid succession, this should never be a concern.
Where this app truly shines is the large selection of presets and filters available in the store for a small fee. The included free filters still offer plenty of options for optimizing your photos, but the paid add-ons are great for stylizing your favorite shots.
Filters are grouped by visual theme and style to make it simple to find a pack that fits your preferences. Previews of each are available to know exactly what you are purchasing as well.
If you’re planning to share your images, the app’s Journal service offers sharing in a few taps, collage making and other interesting social features. You can even post entire blog posts with your images if you want.
While the sheer number of options available in the app might seem a little daunting, Camera360 Ultimate is amazing if you’re looking for an app to both take photos and edit them from your phone or tablet. From selfie optimizing beauty filters to transposing giant spaceships in the background of your family photos, the options are varied and interesting.
The interface might now allow the level of tweaking that some of the previous apps allow, but this is more than accounted for in the additional editing options. The major features--HDR shooting, tilt-shift, vignettes, portrait and night shots--are all there. Just don’t expect to go wild fine tuning your shots.
The core app is free and includes a variety of filters, effects and templates to get you started. Additional tools are available as individual purchases within the app. There’s also a built-in social network that posts regular photo challenges and other contests that might serve as inspiration and give you an idea of what you can do with the app’s features.
YouCam Perfect - Selfie Cam
No list of Android camera apps in 2016 would be complete without a selfie app. Whether they’re walking the dog, eating a burrito or reading a book, people love taking selfies and sharing them with the world.
If you’re looking for fun ways to customize your selfies or make basic photo edits--such as removing blemishes or lightening hair--this app has you covered. It’ll even do a few surprisingly advanced things--such as smart removal of objects and intelligent stretching and skewing of photos. Want to be taller and delete that dog in the background as well? It only takes a few taps.
The app is free and includes a social network called the Beauty Circle to share your snapshots and learn about the features of the app. Additional filters, collages, stickers and frames are available through the app’s marketplace as well.
In the end, it was a tight race. Some apps offered loads of features, but weren’t exactly user friendly. Others were super simple but might leave you wanting for additional options and controls.
For its overall value and design, we have to recommend Camera360 Ultimate
For its overall value and design, we have to recommend Camera360 Ultimate. It’s simple enough to take quick snapshots yet offers enough tricks and tweaks to satisfy advanced photography needs as well. In most cases, you won’t be limited by the app in anyway--even on a new flagship device.
With its built-in editing suite, you can make your images perfect without the need to flip between apps or shift photos to your computer. It also offers one of the best varieties of filters, frames, stickers and other editing options as well.
Previous Picks: ProCapture, Vignette
Do you have a favourite camera app that we missed? Did we help you find a new favourite? Let us know in the comments below!
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P.S. If you’re looking to take your photo editing skills to the next level, styluses offer increased precision, natural pen-like feel and improved control when you’re trying to make edits on the small screen. We’ve rounded up stylus reviews from all of the major sites to help you find the best options out there!