15 July, 2012

Review: Android Camera Apps!

Decided to do a photography-related apps review, because I've tried so many, and I think there are a few decent ones in the Android market worth downloading.

Two things to note, though.
  1. I am not a fan of Instagram, so don't ask me why it isn't included in this review.
  2. I don't photoshop faces, so there's nothing about camera functions to make your eyes bigger, etc. in this review either.
So... here's my verdict!




OVERVIEW

Well, every app is like a runway model - size does matter. So the table below shows the file sizes of the best camera apps I have downloaded to date, for your consideration.

The table below is a good guide, if there's any specific function you are looking for. For apps that don't have its own camera function, most of them would show a prompt directing you to another camera app you have. Meaning to say, the downside of the app is that you'd have to run two apps at the same time to use it.

The apps in order from left: Cartoon Camera, AfterFocus, Little Photo, LINE camera, PicSay, Skitch, ColorTouch, PhotoGrid, QuickPic

I've also included the QuickPic app, which I think is the best photo album layout application I've ever used. Instead of going through folders and folders, the app shows all folders with photos, and with a tick function, you can move/delete/sort/copy photos really quickly and easily.

It also comes with basic crop and resize functions for quick pictures edit.

Interesting points to note:
  1. While Little Photo and Photo Grid are not big in size, they take up a lot of RAM to run. Therefore, they may not work for older/slower/fuller phone memories.
  2. Someone had told me that Little Photo does not work for her LG phone too.
Okay, now that I'm done with the overview, here are some of the best functions of each app. Feel free to skip through, if you already know that it isn't what you're looking for! ;)


HIGHLIGHTS

Cartoon Camera

This is a no-brainer application with no camera zoom, no focus button, no post-shoot preview. It comes with six photo effects that you can choose before you snap a shot. The photo color and effect intensity values are adjustable.

Effects from top left: Cartoon, Color drawing, Sepia, White Strokes, Dark Strokes & Colored Edges

AfterFocus

I'm loving this application because of how it creates the artsy selective focus (ie Focus Foreground Blur Background look) so easily.

The top left photo below is the original photo and the second one shows the instructions. You can choose to outline the area to focus or choose to do the shading, that makes it more precise. Either way, it's easy to operate. (: The photo on the top right shows the effect adjust control.


The app introduction also shows that you can create a fast shutter speed illusion by blurring the background with motion blur so it makes you look like a pro who got a focused subject with quick speed! (shown on bottom left photo)

Other effects available include the usual artsy color variations, as well as the dark gradient border, etc. Nothing new there.


Little Photo

This app is honestly one of my favourites ever. In fact, it's one of those apps that I started out with, and never had a reason to uninstall or replace.

The app comes with a focus-on-tap function, and with a camera timer. You can choose from many effects, including the popular polaroid, vignette and even neoprints-lookalike effects (starry, comics, etc.) You can adjust the intensity of all the effects and frames.

One of the best effects I love is white shine, that helps to make dark-looking pictures look brighter/better-lit. So you can take a photo without flash at night (because my phone doesn't have flash), or indoors where it's dim, and then use white shine to make it look like a bright, professional set. Compare the first picture on the top left, with the last picture on bottom right.



The only downside of this app is that it doesn't save your photo immediately once it's taken. So in cases where your phone forces close the app, that's it. But if you press the back button by accident, there's a prompt asking if you want to save your work before closing the app.



LINE Camera

LINE Camera is one of my latest downloads, and it's also a very stable deal. It comes with in-built camera, make-me-chio photo color effects, artsy photo borders/frames as well as really cute ones that other apps hardly offer (for free).


Another awesome feature is its stickers (the star icon in the photo toolbar above). There are many varieties of decorations as you can see below, ranging from photos, speech bubbles, emoticons and alphabet styles. It's truly a 90's neoprint machine, mobile and modernized.



PicSay

The selling point of the application is in its name - putting speech bubbles in photos. Therefore, you can choose from different speech bubbles, colors, styles, and sizes. Other than that, the decorative aspects are pretty limited.


Another catch about this ep is that the photo resolutions become very small after edit.


But you can pay for the premium, and get better effects and bigger sizes. But I'm not a fan of buying apps so...


Skitch

Allow me to side-track a little-

Many new phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note comes with a scribble notes function, which is very convenient for quick note-taking. For the older phone models, we have default memo apps that are pretty decent too. However, I've discovered a really awesome note-taking application - Evernote.

My point is, Skitch and Evernote are in the same family, so you can save Skitch work in your memo book, and make them available on your phone and computer. (Sync FTW)


While Skitch has even lesser functions than PicSay, the resolution is definitely more decent. It shows when you draw a box, an arrow, and type some text. It's all very well-configured, easy to use, and of high quality.

Four main functions - Freehand Scribble, Insert Arrows, Insert Text and Insert Shapes
I've yet to figure out what the finger button is for though. Anyone has any idea?


ColorTouch

The one and only feature of this app is the black-and-white function. You take a picture in color, and you can paint part of it into black-and-white.


That being said, it's one function I really love, especially because it would be a more tedious process on photoshop.


Photo Grid

I love this app for a few reasons -
  1. The novelty of shaking your phone to change collage layouts
  2. There are a lot of collage backgrounds to choose from
  3. Importing pictures for the collage is incredibly easy and convenient
  4. If you're uploading a blog entry on-the-go, it's so much easier & data-cap-friendly to upload collages
For Instagram fans, the collage is also available in square (480 x 480) resolution for your dear Instagram followers. ;) Simply choose the box with s function, instead of box with l (refer to bottom of the second picture)


That being said, there is a down side to using this app - it takes quite a while to load, when changing from one collage layout to the other. So instead of shaking your phone to see a new layout, it's often shaking your phone to see 10-20 seconds worth of Loading... each time.

Just a quick demo of the funky layouts available.

This wasn't the first collage app that caught my attention either. The first one I used was Photoshake but of which has lesser variations, and more of a hassle to choose + import photos for collage. If you're looking for a collage app that loads quickly, though, go for Photoshake. I'm more of a perfectionist sometimes. =/


That's it! I hope you found something interesting to spice up your photography journey on your phone, without having to pay a single cent for apps! ;D

Leave me a comment if there's anything you love and/or hate about any of the apps mentioned that I didn't include, or if there's any app I haven't mentioned that you think I'm missing out!

Yay! I'm finally done with this entry! Took me... 3 days? The next applications review would be Applications for Functional Purposes. =D