How is the camera app in your phone? If you are looking for something that has more features or an easier-to-use interface, here are some cheap or free alternative camera apps for Android.
Here I look in detail at three different camera apps for your Android phone. I specifically looked for ones with advanced features and manual controls because these let you get more creative with your picture taking. I actually tried more camer apps and the three below are just my favorites.
I also tried Footej Camera PRO, but immediately uninstalled it when it asked me to subscribe for £14.99 a week. That is an astonishing £779 a year! Focus &DLSR Blur-ReLens Camera has easy-to-use manual controls, but it didn’t seem to have muuch more than the phone’s default camera app. It is more useful for applying effects to photos already in your photo library.
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Halide-Pro camera for android
Halide-Pro camera is an alterative camera app for Android phones and it aims to offer more control over the photo taking process. It can be used for free, but it is so cheap at £3.79 that many people will not mind paying for it. The app had a 4.6 rating when I downloaded it and is highly regarded.
The first thing that struck me was the screen brightness. The app opens with maximum screen brightness and this is useful outdoors when shooting on a sunny day. It is eye-watering indoors, but it can be turned off.
A menu at the top of the screen provides useful features like AF-Track which automatically tracks a moving subject and keeps it in focus. Beauty effects that smooth the skin, whiten teeth, remove bags under the eyes, change your nose, lips, eyes and more. They don’t make huge changes, but the effects are definitely noticeable.
Auxiliary shows live luminance, RGB and waveform charts on the screen as you compose your photograph. DRA enables you to adjust shadows and highlights. Straighten tells you when the phone is not level, and there are more tools.
You can use automatic settings or manually adjust the ISO and shutter speed, exposure, and white balance. A menu in the bottom right corner enables you to choose shooting modes, like Fast Burst, Low Light, HDR, Time Lapse, Exposure Bracket, fisheye and more. It is also easy to switch from manual back to auto for a setting if you find that the shot isn’t looking like you want it to.
Taking photographs using manual controls is not easy, so it is great to see that this app has tutorials built in. It shows exambple photos using various effects and then tells you how to take them and what camera settings are required.
This is a great camera app that includes features not in the default camera app in your phone and a collection of tutorial guides.
HD Camera for Android: XCamera
XCamera is a highly rated, 4.8/5, alternative camera app for Android. It provides many more features than in the built-in phone camera and it is cheap. A subscription costs just £2.39 a year.
The menu at the top enables you to select from more than a dozen effects and functions. For example, there is a grid and guide line, but if this is not sufficient, there is Straighten and Auto-level, which automatically rotate photos to make verticals vertical and the horizon horizontal, even when the camera is not held straight.
A Blur feature keeps the centre in focus, but blurs outside a marked area. This is good for portrait photos to make the person stand out from the background. HDR is an option, and there is Vignette and automatic face detection. A selection of filters can be applied to the camera, like Bright, Warm, Vintage, Gold, and so on.
Select Pro Mode and you can choose automatic or manual modes for white balance and exposure. There is also a food mode with special filters for foods like salads, fish, pasta, fruit and others.
Usually, collages are made from photos you have already taken, but with XCamera you can shoot collages live. Select a collage grid and it is displayed onscreen. You are then prompted to take a photo for each part of the collage.
If you are looking for an alternative camera app with useful features, XCamera is worth trying. It has ads, but it costs very little to remove them.
HD Camera 2023 for Android
HD Camera is a nice camera app with easy-to-use manual controls, but there aren’t a lot of features that are not in the default camera app on my Samsung phone. However, it does have a nice interface that makes it easy to adjust the exposure, ISO, shutter speed, focus, and white balance.
It has several modes like Noise Reduction for low light shots, DRO for images with optimum brightness and depth, and HDR. It has a lot of filters that can be applied before a photo is taken, but I would rather apply them afterwards.
The app is free and I noticed a very small ad at the bottom of the settings screen, but not when taking photos, so it is worth trying. However, it does not do much that is not in the standard camera app.
That’s a landscape screenshot because it is the only camera app with a landscape view. Of course you can shoot in landscape mode on all the camera apps, but HD Camera is the only app that rotates the interface.
The camera app on your phone may be all you need and it could have advanced features you have not discovered. The built-in app makes it quick and easy to shoot photos because that is what many people want. However, there is often more.
For example, the bottom menu of the Samsung app shows Photo, Video and More options. Tap More and a screen of advanced photography modes is displayed. It has Portrait, Pro, Panorama, Macro, Food, Night, Super Slow-mo, Slow motion, and Hyperlapse.
Select the Pro mode and you can manually adjust the ISO, shutter speed, exposure, focus and white balance using a simple slider at the bottom of the screen. Tap the icon in the top right corner of the screen and new controls appear for adjusting the contrast, highlights, shadows, saturation and tint. These features may be all that you need.
Despite all these features in Samsung Camera Pro mode, Halide-Pro and XCamera offer even more. For example, Halide-Pro has a slow shutter mode with up to 30 second exposures, also exposure bracketing, the ability to save your favorite settings for quick recall, beauty options and more.
Halide-Pro camera is my favorite, but XCamera is also excellent and I like the auto-level feature that means you’ll never take another photo where buildings lean and horizons slope. It also has a burst shoot that ranges from as fast as possible to every 30s. It also has a good range of time, date and GPS stamping on photos.
Don’t choose. These two advanced camera apps are so cheap you can afford them both!
A final thought: A complaint I have about camera apps is that the on-screen controls are sometimes too small and fonts are too thin for me. Shooting outside on a bright day makes them even harder to see.
The main reason I don’t use advanced camera features more is because they are hard to see and use. I would like a camera app with big white on black text and big, easy to use controls you can see and use in the sun.