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 hard to find the best way to upgrade your phone’s 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 some great camera hardware. Even mid-range cameras offer enough photographic power for DSLRs to exchange worried glances. Meanwhile, Android and Apple flagship phones have even pushed some photographers to forgo the traditional kit altogether.
But the 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; therefore, its proprietary 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 stunning Halide Mk II.
Android is a more difficult proposition: the wide variety of hardware makes it difficult for developers to support and test their applications; and Android users are generally not in favor of premium apps. However, you might find that your built-in camera app is professional grade and packed with features. if not, there are still goodies to be found – and we scoured Google Play to find them. Right now, we believe 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 is our pick of the best camera apps for Android and iPhone, whether you need something serious or fancy to take photos just for the fun of it.
Best Camera Apps 2021:
1. Halide Mk II – Professional Camera (iPhone)
- $ 11.99 / £ 11.99 / AU $ 19.49 per year
Need a professional grade camera app for iPhone? With Halide, the claim is right there in the title. It’s not hyperbole either – the app is packed with tools that squeeze every drop of energy out of your iPhone’s camera, and yet the interface manages to avoid clutter and therefore doesn’t have to be intimidating. The new comers.
With Halide, it’s not just the amount of control that impresses. Of course, you get manual focus and exposure settings, an onscreen histogram, grid and level tools. But the app takes extra steps to help you perfect your shots: a focus magnifier for sharper shots; focus and peak exposure; a live view of pulse-like depth data in portrait mode – and in portrait mode for objects and pets on older Apple devices.
For pro-oriented photographers, Instant RAW will be the standout feature. Using the company’s in-depth photography knowledge, she develops raw shots with just a touch, quickly bringing you to something that looks great. If you wish, it is possible to shoot simultaneously in DNG raw and Smart HDR. In short, it is the best camera app on iPhone.
2. Dark camera (iPhone / iPad)
Obscura Camera is more than just an interface, but it’s a good place to start. Everything is designed around dials that echo those found on real-world camera hardware. This touch key is fun, making it a pro-oriented, user-friendly and usable app.
Even when using a surfboard-sized iPhone, everything should be within an inch’s reach. The focus and exposure buttons frame the shutter; when tapped, a dial lets you quickly make adjustments. The story is similar for the main menu, which houses onscreen guides, white balance, and a timer (three, five, or 10 seconds). The system is less efficient when you have to switch between goals and format options, but that’s a small gripe.
Another cool touch is the built-in library tools hidden behind the main interface. Drag the entire interface down, select a snapshot, and you can view its metadata – and perform actions like duplicating, filtering, and sharing. Top marks, then, for an app that lets you shoot like a pro but feels great too, bringing a rare physical feel to the touchscreen.
3. Open the camera (Android)
Open Camera is a software aberration: a pro-oriented camera app that is not a trash can. In fact, it’s deeply impressive, putting camera customization and control in the hands of any Android device owner, no matter how good (or lacking) the camera app is. native to their device.
A context menu in the main view provides quick access to various goodies to fuel your shots. If your device supports the Camera2 API, you can force Open Camera to use it, potentially giving you access to a range of more advanced features, such as manual focus, burst mode, and raw shooting. .
The app’s interface is utilitarian, and its settings can overwhelm you as you navigate dozens of menus to make changes. But when you’re done and you’re deep in the shot, especially when you’re looking at a screen buzzing with focus assist tools and zebra stripes that are usually the preserve of premium apps, none of this matters.
For $ 10, Open Camera would be a steal. Free, it’s a must-have installation and the best camera app for Android – assuming you have the time and the 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, timer, and anti-shake. You can quickly select an output format. When adjusting the focus, a magnifying glass helps make sure everything is crisp in the right places, while zebra stripes can be added to warn you of overexposure. Everything is fast and accessible, even if the screen is prone to clutter, due to the many options.
But you can dig deeper. Press the arrow next to the shutter and you discover a multitude of additional modes: time lapse; video; to burst; slow shutter (for motion blur, light trail and low light); portrait; 3d. There’s an editor as well, with 17 creative lenses that add spice to an app that on the surface might otherwise feel dry and conventional compared to its iPhone contemporaries.
Really, though, ProCam 8 is best described as simple and versatile – the closest approximation to what you might get if Apple decided to make 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) business. It’s best to think of it 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 located above the shutter. Next to the shutter are buttons for setting photo mode and switching between cameras on your device. 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 very opaque. You will need to understand what some options mean from cryptic icons. But once you’re sorted, you’ll find ProCam X a fast and efficient app to power up your Android camera.
At least you Probably will. It worked well with our test phones, but reviews from Google Play suggest that this is not the case with all Android smartphones. Fortunately, you can always try the free version and see how it performs on your device.
6. Photoshop Camera (Android / iPhone)
The word Photoshop stands for premium photo editing software, so it’s curious to see it applied to this creative – but often wacky live filter app.
It’s fun and playful when you select a filter and have it transform a scene. If you are the more conservative type, you can either just make your lunch a little prettier or replace the sky with a bluer sky than you would like to see there. But much more creative dishes are lurking, including dazzling pop-art, seeds and giant lollipops with which to spice up the landscape.
The camera bit will not win any prizes. There is a timer, flash control, and aspect ratio switch. But everything is responsive – impressive, considering what’s going on – and you can still avoid the camera by loading existing snaps and using the app as your filter editor instead.
Android owners should be aware of a catch though – app support on this platform is oddly scattered, limited to specific devices. Why did Adobe participate in this type 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 has mimicked real-world materials. This trend has long given way 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 set up configurations that are a combination of lens, film, and flash. When it’s time to shoot, you use a camera interface that looks like the real thing except for an enlarged viewfinder. The snapshots can be viewed in the app, as a kind of developed film strip. This is very fun.
Cleverly, however, the Hipstamatic camera is more than a toy. When you photograph something, the app saves the original alongside the filtered image. There’s a professional camera mode, with manual shutter, ISO, exposure, zoom, focus, and white balance settings. Is this enough to replace pro-oriented iPhone camera apps elsewhere on this list? Not enough. But these features are a thoughtful and really useful addition to one of the best camera apps, and a lot more than it initially looks.