Most Android phones and tablets come with a small camera, often two. Typically, the in-built webcam is used for video chatting or video calls. If these are the only tasks you use the camera of your Android device for, then you are wasting precious potential for a lot of fun.
Let me introduce you to five alternative uses for your Android device’s webcam, which involve fun and professional photo effects, time lapse photography, voice control, and motion detection. With the apps I suggest, you can monitor your candy stack, turn boring snapshots into pieces of art and take a group photo by shouting at your camera from across the room.
Motion Detection [Android 2.0+]
Camera Trigger is designed to take a snapshot upon detecting motion in a defined area within the camera’s field of vision. It can make a single shot or take photos continuously as long as motion is detected within the designated hotspot. To indicate the event it will also play a sound.
When you launch the app you will be taken through a very well done tutorial that explains the setup and functions in cartoon style.
A drawback of the app is that it only works for as long as the screen of your Android device doesn’t turn off.
Voice Control [Android 2.2+]
Say Cheese is a pretty neat app all together, but voice control is definitely its coolest feature. You can trigger the camera with the words cheese or smile, you can zoom in, zoom out, zoom max, or zoom clear, and you can do a camera switch. It takes only minimal practice to get the keywords and the app will work fairly well off the bat.
Stealth mode is another interesting feature, in which all sounds are turned off and the app is darkened to a barely visible toggle button. To take a picture in stealth mode, you simply press anywhere on the screen. A first vibration of the device will confirm that the camera is focusing and a second indicates that the picture was captured.
HDR is the acronym for High Dynamic Range, a photo processing technique that allows for “a greater dynamic range of luminance between the lightest and darkest areas of an image” [Wikipedia].
HDR Camera [Android 2.2+]
HDR Camera is an app that automatically creates HDR images. You can control the outcome by adjusting the settings, for example by changing color vividness to saturated or black and white.
FXCamera [Android 1.5+]
Another interesting app is FxCamera, which provides a set of effects, including ToyCam, Polandroid, Fisheye, SymmetriCam, or Warhol. You can also get a plain and simple normal camera view.
Unfortunately, it is not tablet-fit as it only takes up a small portion of the screen.
Action Snap [Android 2.1+]
Action Snap is a camera app specialized on capturing action and movement. It can take multiple photos in intervals of 0.1 to five seconds or more (custom setting). When the time has elapsed and all picture were taken, the tool combines them all into one neat image.
You can share images created with Action Snap on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr using Steply.
For more creative camera effects, also check out these 3 Hipstamatic-Equivalent Android Apps For Retro Photo Effects and Add Cool Effects To Your Photos With Little Photo [Android 1.6+].
Many more camera-related Android apps have been reviewed on MakeUseOf:
- Take Fantastic Full Resolution Images With Vignette [Android 1.5+]
- Take Beautiful Photos With Camera360 Free [Android 1.5+]
- Lightbox Photos – A Sophisticated Camera & Photo-Sharing App [Android 2.1+]
What is your favorite use for your Android phone or tablet camera?
Image credits: Feng Yu
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