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The best camera is the one you have on you, but that doesn’t mean the default software is going to help you get the best pictures. There are numerous alternative apps in the Play Store that change everything from the way you shoot to how many tweaks you can apply after the fact.

So we’ve taken a look at the best free alternative camera apps for Android to help you decide which to download.

1) Google Camera

I hear you, Nexus owner, you thought this was a post about alternative camera apps. Well, it is. Most other smartphones don’t ship with Google’s camera app pre-installed.

Here’s what newcomers should know. This app is capable of shooting basic shots, recording video, shooting panoramas, fake camera blur How To Fake Camera Blur On Your Android For SLR-Like Photos [Android] How To Fake Camera Blur On Your Android For SLR-Like Photos [Android] The cameras on our Android devices have been getting some impressive upgrades over the last few years, and there’s been a reinforced push towards making Android devices complete replacements for good quality cameras. While these... Read More , and creating photo spheres. And the entire time, there’s usually only a single giant button on-screen.

AndroidCameraApps-Google-Camera

Google’s app is about as basic as it gets, but it’s capable of more than it lets on Three Secret Features Of Google’s New Camera App That Will Blow Your Mind Three Secret Features Of Google’s New Camera App That Will Blow Your Mind Google’s recent update to the KitKat camera app boasts a few secret abilities, including an accidental tilt-shift effect, 3D image capability and something of a wide-angle effect. Read More . The software is worth a looksee before moving on to other things. This also lets you experience what the company that designs Android thinks a camera app should be Google Camera: The Official Vision for An Android Camera App Google Camera: The Official Vision for An Android Camera App Today I'd like to tell you about a camera app that doesn't do very much -- by design. You should still try it, though, because it comes direct from Google. Read More .

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Download: Google Camera for Android (Free)

2) Camera ZOOM FX

Camera ZOOM FX is the app for those of you who find the default apps too basic. You want control over what folder your photos appear in. You want to apply filters as you’re shooting. You want to capture photos in bursts and adjust white balance while you’re at it. You want to experiment with time lapse photography. You might even want to change the camera shutter animation, because you’re feeling goofy.

Camera ZOOM FX will let you do all of these things, though some of the features require the premium $2.99 version, while extra animations and frames are available as separate download packs.

Download: Camera ZOOM FX for Android (Free | $2.99)

3) Camera360 Ultimate

Like Camera ZOOM FX, Camera360 has been around for years, and it strives to be the one feature-rich app you need for snapping photos. It’s packed with filters, powerful effects, and editing tools. There are multiple ways to share photos. If you decide to go with this one, here are five camera tricks to check out 5 Cool Android Camera Tricks with Camera360 Ultimate 5 Cool Android Camera Tricks with Camera360 Ultimate This app allows for some awesome photos on your Android smartphone or tablet -- here are its 5 best features! Read More .

Download: Camera360 Ultimate for Android (Free)

5) Camera MX

Camera MX is packed with features like the previous two apps, but it offers an interesting technique called Shoot-the-Past mode. This lets you rewind to the moments immediately before a shot to see if you can capture a better image, which can be very helpful for folks who can’t stop taking blurry shots by accident 5 Ways to Avoid Blur with a Smartphone Camera 5 Ways to Avoid Blur with a Smartphone Camera I think it's safe to assume most people take their smartphone cameras for granted, despite the leaps and bounds made in pocketable picture-taking technology. Unfortunately a lot of the time our smartphones produce overly blurry... Read More . I know, that sounds kind of cool and creepy at the same time. Fortunately you have to opt-in before Camera MX starts recording moments automatically.

I particularly like that Camera MX’s interface lets you tweak a good number of settings without having to dive into a separate screen.

AndroidCameraApps-CameraMX-Interface

Download: Camera MX for Android (Free)

4) Retrica

Retrica is a tool for the Instagram generation, which is immediately apparent from the moment you first launch it and realize that it has activated your front-facing camera by default.

AndroidCameraApps-Retrica

Retrica is aimed at those of you who aren’t all that interested in how well a picture originally turns out — you’re just going to edit and filter it anyway. Then you’re going to stick it in a collage and upload it to a social network that will scale it down to a smaller size and reduce the image quality.

In that case, there’s no point wishing your phone were as capable as a dedicated camera. Here’s an app made specifically for the way millions of people now take pictures.

Download: Retrica for Android (Free)

6) Vignette

AndroidCameraApps-Vignette-Image

Like Retrica, Vignette doesn’t care about capturing a realistic image. Out-of-the-box, this app will radically alter your photos. It will apply filters, crop images down, and make any number of changes to get your photos social network ready. But Vignette does this while offering one of the more minimalist interfaces you will find in the Play Store. This alone was enough to catch my eye.

AndroidCameraApps-Vignette

Download: Vignette for Android (Free | $1.66)

How Do You Capture the Moment?

You may have a point-and-shoot or DSLR, but if it’s not on you at the moment that you’re witnessing a beautiful sunset or your kid just blew out the birthday candles, it’s isn’t doing any good. That’s when it’s time to whip out the smartphone in your pocket and hopefully have a camera app that won’t get in your way.

I’ve focused on interface and features in making this list of apps. If you want to see if one can actually improve the quality of your photos, well, that’s a question we’ve already tackled for some of these options before Tested: Can The Right Camera App Make Your Phone's Camera Work Better? Tested: Can The Right Camera App Make Your Phone's Camera Work Better? Did you ever stop to think that the right camera app may improve your phone's innate abilities? Is that even possible? Read More .

But I would love to hear what you think. There are far more camera apps where these come from. Which one do you keep installed on your phone or tablet? What cool things do you do with it 5 Ways to Have Fun With Your Android Phone Camera 5 Ways to Have Fun With Your Android Phone Camera 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... Read More ? How has it improved your photos? Tell us below!

  1. Denys
    May 26, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Facey Camera is one of the best Android camera applications I’ve ever tried. Very cool features for the capturing and amazing photo editor.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=top.facey.app

    This app has unique feature of taking pictures when face(s) are detected. So, You don’t have to worry that someone will be left out of focus even if You capture with back camera.

    Also it has an awesome photo editor that has lot of different filters and tools for tuning of the photo.

  2. Dan
    May 20, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    I'm looking for a way to record multiple 45-60 minute videos (ie: seminars/lectures/workshops) without using so much SD disk space. I just need to hear the presenter (don't need high quality audio) and see the presenter's power point slides.(don't need high resolution video)

    My S5 Galaxy Sport has MMS mode which is perfect, other than it is limited to 2 minutes duration before it auto stops. I don't believe you can extend the video duration limit in MMS mode, is this correct?

    Any apps out there that can meet my needs so I don't have to purchase a larger SD card?
    If you have any suggestions, please send them to: dlin39@yahoo.com
    Thank You.

  3. Anastasiia Chervinska
    August 10, 2015 at 10:28 am

    So timelapse ability is provided only by Camera zoom fx app? What about timelapse apps review? I'm searching for some easy timelapse app, and so fare this one is the best I could find - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.triladroid.timelapse The other apps are too complicated for me. However this one has a big disadvantage - its impossible to put music on the background.

  4. Diego Santos
    August 7, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    High resolution camera pro. Takes burst photos and save automatically to choose better photos after taken. Includes an option to take single photos in high resolution too and more options.

  5. Samit Tandukar
    August 7, 2015 at 6:10 am

    none of them is more robust than ProShot which after having great success in Windows Phone is now available on Android and iOS

    • Martin Harvey
      August 14, 2016 at 10:33 pm

      Samit, The description says raw (dng) but is this really uncompressed raw or just compressed with a dng fn? Surely the camera must have to produce uncompressed raw?

      • Martin Harvey
        August 14, 2016 at 11:41 pm

        I think I found the api related answer!

  6. Saturday Delson Sazaran
    August 7, 2015 at 3:44 am

    These are some familiar names. How about Open Camera?

    • Lucky
      December 30, 2015 at 9:37 pm

      Open Camera is great! I totally recommend it!

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