Most of us use the proprietary camera app that comes with our phones. But these camera apps are subject to a performance that might not suit your liking for example — Samsung Cameras tends to make images over sharp and oversaturated whereas iPhone cameras tend to have a warmer white balance straight out of the box and then there are many other tiny details.
More than hardware, it is the software and the image processing that makes an image stand out compared to the competitors. This was proven by Google when the Pixel with just one lens was able to outperform other camera systems with multiple megapixels and lenses. But you are not stuck with what your phone company gives you.
There are a lot of options both Android and iPhone users that suit their specific needs. However, recently, Google confirmed that it’ll force third-party apps that use a camera to use the built-in camera app instead of alternatives over privacy concerns. This means you won’t be able to set a third-party camera application as your default choice. Nevertheless, those third-party camera apps will work as intended when accessed directly.
Google Camera (APK for Android)
There is no doubt that Google has one of the best camera apps if not the best. If you have an Android phone which is not relatively new then you can download an APK file for the Google camera without any worries if it’s a trusted source.
Installing an APK is also very simple. Once all that is done, The app is very straight forward with all you need for simple point and shoot images.
Nevertheless, the image processing is going to do wonders and you’ll see a better performance instantly over your stock camera app with better dynamic range, low light performance, and Night Mode and Astrophotography mode for long exposures. But the app is not best for manual photography if you wish to do so.
Instagram and Snapchat cameras work remarkably better on an iPhone compared to an Android phone it’s simply because these apps are better optimized for iOS.
That said these camera apps are still not going to perform better than the stock camera app. It’s just the ease of platform sharing pictures over the internet and the availability of unlimited filters and modes like Boomerang, superzoom, etc.
For stories, people use the app camera itself than they use the stock camera app. But for Android users, it’s not a pleasant experience when it comes to image quality. Of course, there are no manual controls and videos can’t be longer than 10-14 seconds.
VSCO (pronounced “Visco”) is one of the most known Camera apps mainly because it is built around its photo community, where you can share your photos, share tips, and take part in photo challenges.
VSCO has almost everything you need for photo and video with manual adjustments – ISO, exposure, shutter speed, and other adjustments. It is one of the best apps for adding filters to your photos with 200+ presets but for the free version, there are only 10.
It’s most useful feature is separate points to set the focus and exposure. But it lacks features such as portrait mode or any depth feature.
But it is hard to recommend as a separate camera app if you are looking for a free camera app. It does come with a 7-day free trial but after that, it’s Rs 141.67/mo (Rs1,700/yr)
The open camera is another Android camera app that is feature-packed. It is Open sourced and it does not have ads running on it, which is good. The camera layout is a bit old looking but it has some noticeable features like gesture controls and auto-stabilization.
The amount of tweaking you can do in this app almost gives you a DSLR-like experience. There are also advanced features, like HDR enhancements, manual focusing, and dynamic range optimization. The app also lets you take photos in the RAW format which is a huge plus.
For videos, it has support for external mics and can shoot time-lapse but the video is just not a good option for this app as there have been various reports of miss-match in video and audio which is a definite turn-off. The app still shines in the photography department.
Camera MX is the app that provides a lot for its price – which is for free.
The MX camera layout feels a bit different from the usual camera layout but it doesn’t look old like an open camera. It has everything you need right in front of you and the settings are also easy to navigate around.
The Camera MX shines more like a point and shoot app and it has some features you can play with. It also has two modes – Live Shot mode which is like iPhones Live photo mode and Shoot-The-past mode which records 4 secs before the photo is taken which can be handy in some situations.
There are many good camera apps when you look at both Android and iOS and I may have missed some you expected to be in the list. But the ease of use and the optimization that your stock camera app has with your phone plays a big role in the user experience when taking photos and videos.
You are going to use the Instagram and Snapchat cameras anyway for the platforms but apart from that for your iPhone, the stock camera app is one of the best it can get.
For Android users, apart from the stock camera app, Google Camera is the best option for you. Focus more on editing your images to make the most of your photos and videos.