One of the most exciting things about the release of Android Lollipop was the addition of a highly improved camera API. For years, Android has been behind iOS in terms of camera ability, so this API update is a game changer. The ability to shoot in RAW image format or manually adjust ISO, for instance, undoubtedly opens up new doors for a mobile photographer in what they can accomplish with an Android camera. Specifically, shooting in RAW allows photo editing to be taken to the next level by photography enthusiasts. Unfortunately, not every Android camera app utilizes the API, so here’s a list of the best ones that do.
Please note that these are not in any particular order
You’ve probably heard of Camera FV-5. It’s been mainstay in the Android photography realm for a while now. Its interface interposed the familiarity of a traditional DSLR providing a DSLR-like viewfinder, ability of exposure bracketing, adjustable ISO and white balance. These features have always made Camera FC-5 stand out as an app that would be fantastic for any person with experience on real DSLRs, as a result of the manipulation it provides over photography. The ability to capture in RAW format and the ability to shoot with fully manual settings will without a doubt make this app an incredibly powerful image capturing tool.
Manual Camera is another fantastic Android camera app, though it is a new player on the field, as it is a recent release. It’s clean and polished UI makes for an organic experience when adjusting ISO, shutter speed, white balance and exposure composition. All of that makes for a great manual photography experience on Android Lollipop. It was made from the start to take full advantage of the new Camera2 API and it does that very well.
L Camera stands out in this group because it is an open source, experimental Lollipop camera app. In fact, it’s not even on the Play Store, because the download link is on its GitHub page. It, naturally, provides all the features pertinent to the 5.0 update, including true manual focus, adjustable ISO and exposure time, and RAW output ability. Additionally, there is a 30 fps full burst shooting mode with optional exposure bracketing. It’s all packaged with a material design UI.
A Better Camera
Surely an excellent choice for the average person Android photographer, A Better Camera utilizes the Camera2 API in its inner framework, effectively doing more work for the user. Unlike the other apps on this list, A Better Cmera does not allow for user adjustable ISO, focus, or shutter control, but it provides many modes in which these are varied. It has the unique ability to shoot in HDR, but it cannot save RAW images when shooting in this mode.
These are, without a doubt, the best Android Lollipop camera apps available today. Each one utilizes the Camera2 API in a unique and useful way, with varying and fairly good UI. At least one of these should work for you, but if none of them do, fortunately, many more Android camera apps will be implementing the Camera2 API changes in the future.
Take a look at this chart by XDA for a feature by feature comparison of the four apps.
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