Android’s come a long way since my first fumblings a few years ago with a Dell Streak (“steak”). Both software and hardware have improved immensely since then. Sure, there are still some things that make you shake your head and question reality, but for the most part, Android 4.2 is a great platform.
In most cases when looking for a piece of software for a particular task, the problem you’re faced with is that there are too many options to choose from. So, I’m going to share a few of my favorite photo apps with you. (spoiler: none of them are Instagram).
Stock Android Camera
Yes, it’s built-in on the Nexus phones. It was a big deal with the release of 4.2 and has a fairly unusual interface. Radial menus for most control functions and a strange focus indicator. It’s a decent app, but I tend to fumble with it when trying to use it. The radial menus and icons are harder to figure out at a glance than they need to be and the control I want is never on the menu I go to first.
Ok, not a huge fan, but one nice feature in the Gallery app is a new set of built-in photo filters that are on par with just about any other camera app. Combined with Android’s impressive sharing capabilities, it lets you edit some great pictures without installing anything else.
Camera Zoom FX
This was the first alternative camera app I bought for my Galaxy Nexus. I bought it for the built-in effects, but it turns out to be a very capable camera app in its own right. With a bunch of setup options for guidelines, stability indicators, and horizon leveling, it’s already more useful than the built-in app. Add in some additional shot controls like timers, timelapse and voice-activation and you’ve got a stew goin’.
How are the effects? Delicious. You can grunge up any decent photo and make it look like you’re shooting a $10 Lomo Diana without the embarrassment of actually handling one.
Apparently this is one of the most popular Android photography apps according to the Android Photographers group on Flickr. I tried it and it’s decent. I find some of the control settings a little hard to get to though, buried in the settings menu. If I need exposure compensation, I don’t want to leave the camera’s live view to do it.
Nice effects though and good level of control if you can dig into it.
If there were a camera app for nerds this would be it. Every control right there on the screen. There are so many controls, that the developers made a curious choice: The live view from the camera is in a corner of the screen. This real-time resizing comes at the cost of performance. It’s slow. Yes, there are lots of controls there to fiddle with. There are probably going to be times when I pull this out because I need a very specific bunch of settings. God help me when that’s true.
Hey, remember Snapseed? It used to be for iOS only and it’s by the very capable crew at Nik Software. Then they shipped it for Android. And then Google bought it. You can tell because it has a G+ icon in the top strip.
Don’t let its checkered past confuse you though. This is one of the few apps built by a company with a pedigreed history in producing professional image editing software. The controls are specific and very finely tunable. You should be able to produce some great photos with this. Only problem? It’s doesn’t have camera software builtin so you’ll be relying on one of the others to take the actual shot.
I like flickr. It’s no secret. Their app has finally gotten some love as well.
The app ain’t bad, but the built-in effects are slow. You’re better off using one of the other image editors and using flickr to upload to flickr. It also shows up as a sharing option in the Android sharing menu for smooth, comfortable convenience. Nice!
A late addition from the Android Photographer group. Just installed this and it looks like a very capable camera app. I’ll have to play with it a bit but it might just be a thing.