Camera apps at a glance:
Many third-party camera apps provide quick access to exposure compensation controls, or even let you assign the parameter to volume buttons.
The Google Camera app can capture spheric panoramas that can be viewed on the device or a web viewer. Also available as a handy standalone app for iOS.
A shake indicator delays the shutter until the device is held in a steady manner, in order to avoid image blur
at slow shutter speeds.
Filter effects can be applied at capture or in post-production and come in a variety of flavours, including film simulation, monochrome conversion or retro effects.
- Electronic level displays
Electronic levels indicate alignment for pitch and sometimes also roll, helping to capture level horizons and parallel vertical lines.
- Remote control
Camera Plus allows remote control of the camera of a second iOS device, useful for capturing group portraits that you want to appear in yourself.
Google Camera Android
Price: Free on Google Play
Google’s own camera app is a must-have for any Android user, and not just because it is a free install. The user interface is refreshingly simple, allowing you to focus without distraction on the image-taking process, but you still get a number of useful options including a self-timer, 3×3 framing grid, and quick access to exposure compensation.
However, the app’s special modes are the real highlight. Lens-blur, which attempts to mimic the shallow depth of field of a DSLR, is a little gimmicky, but the app also offers an entire range of excellent panorama options, including Photo Sphere, which allows for capturing 360° spheric panoramas that can then be explored on-screen. Photo Sphere is also available as a stand-alone app for iOS.
Score: 4 out of 5
Camera Zoom FX Android
Price: £1.99 on Google Play
Camera Zoom FX has a comprehensive feature set, but this means the user interface can appear cluttered at first. Buttons and gestures are customisable – for example, exposure compensation can be assigned to the volume rocker – while other helpful functions include an electronic horizon, shake indicator, voice activation, and several composition aids.
Apart from the usual scene modes we know from digital compact cameras, Camera Zoom FX offers an abundance of filter effects and frame options, which can be previewed in the live image. If that’s still not enough, you can try the Time Lapse and Collage modes, or have a go at the comprehensive post-capture editing options. Unfortunately, users have to make do without an integrated video mode.
Score: 4 out of 5
Camera FV-5 Android
Price: £2.49 on Google Play
Camera FV-5 is the Android app for users who don’t care about filter effects and simply want an interface that is as close as possible to that of a real camera. Important shooting parameters such as ISO, white balance, metering modes and exposure compensation are accessible directly from the main screen. Aperture, shutter speed and ISO values can be displayed, and a framing grid and optional histogram offer further assistance. Meanwhile, JPEG resolution and compression, contrast, saturation and sharpness are all adjustable, while a useful bracketing mode and customisable intervalometer facilitate the creation of HDR exposures and even time-lapse movies. A free trial version with limited output resolution is available but, as in the full version, there is no video mode.
Score: 4 out of 5
Camera Awesome Android/iOS
Price: £1.87 on Google Play / free on iTunes
Camera Awesome was developed by photo-sharing site SmugMug and is available for both iOS and Android. The app is a true all-rounder and offers various stills and video modes, in addition to comprehensive post-editing options, presented in a well-thought-out user interface.
An electronic horizon, several composition aids, manual white balance and exposure compensation are all accessible from a pop-out menu on the main screen. Other features include a customisable self-timer, burst shooting, intervalometer, and an efficient panorama mode. The editing interface offers a good selection of filters, textures and frames to spark your creativity. All features are available in the paid-for Android app but some have to be acquired via in-app purchase in the free iOS version.
Score: 5 out of 5
Pro Camera 7 iOS
Price: £2.49 on iTunes
With its intuitive user interface that resembles the controls of a DSLR and comprehensive feature set, Pro Camera 7 appeals to mobile photographers who like to be in control of the picture-taking process. It’s one of the few apps to display shutter speed, ISO and a histogram in real time, while it allows you to lock focus, exposure and white balance. An anti-shake feature waits for you to hold the camera steady before triggering the shutter, and a ‘Tiltmeter’ helps capture level horizons.
Video capabilities are dependent on device, but include 120fps slow-motion recording on the iPhone 5S. The Lightbox viewer offers a number of basic editing options together with a good range of filters, which can be further expanded via in-app purchase.
Score: 5 out of 5
Camera Plus iOS
Price: £1.49 on iTunes
There is a lot to like about Global Delight’s Camera Plus (which is not to be confused with Camera+). The user interface is clean and concise, and some of the control elements can be moved around, meaning the UI can be adjusted to suit different devices and hand sizes.
As with most camera apps, there are a few nifty filter effects and text captions to play with, but Camera Plus’s killer feature is undoubtedly the useful AirSnap function. This works in a similar way to the remote-control apps for some smart cameras and allows you to control the camera and see the live-view image of a second iOS device – all via a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection. This is particularly useful for capturing ‘group selfies’, photos of pets and a range of other scenarios.