Smartphones: what are the alternative applications to the camera?

Smartphones: what are the alternative applications to the camera?

Do you regularly take photos with your smartphone and want to find an application containing more functions than the one integrated by default? Do you simply want to improve the quality of your shots? Many programs have been developed to replace your device’s camera, Futura has selected the best of them for you.

If we had to name the biggest changes brought about by the widespread use of smartphones, there is no doubt that we could mention the way in which our relationship to the photo has evolved. Before that, the arrival of standard digital cameras  had made it possible to multiply the number of pictures taken in dizzying proportions, we had gone from film that could contain a few dozen photos to memory cards capable of storing thousands.

But the democratization of smartphones has changed the situation again, quite simply, because almost anyone now has a camera at hand, that is to say about 75% of the French population for example. Try to imagine Facebook or Instagram if there were no photos… Today, the quality of the pictures taken by high-end smartphones has nothing to envy that of some classic cameras. It is in this context that many publishers have decided to develop photo applications whose vocation is to replace the one integrated by default. Futura has made a selection of the best of them and presents them to you.

Open Camera

Open Camera is a free and open source photo application for devices running Android. It is intended for people with a minimum of knowledge in photography or for self-taught amateurs curious to discover the possibilities offered by their smartphone.

Its interface is simple and quick to learn. With one touch, the user can switch from photo mode to video mode or change the sensor to take the picture (front or rear). It also has a discreet bar to adjust the zoom (with the additional possibility of spreading or bringing two fingers together to increase or decrease it). If he goes to the settings, he can customize the interface to his liking by selecting the items that will appear on the screen such as the time, the zoom slider, the direction compass, the percentage of remaining battery, the available memory, etc.

In addition, he is able to select the most suitable settings for the shots he wants to take. Thus, he can choose the exposure level, the ISO and the white balance, but also manage the flash, activate the “ red eyes ” option, define the focus (automatic, infinity, macro, blocked or continuous). He can then add a scene mode among the ten available (landscape, sports, night, fireworks, etc.) and apply color effects (black and white, sepia, etc.).

Several photo modes are available: standard, DRO (D-Range Optimizer, HDR, etc.). It is possible to activate the automatic stabilizer, but also to choose the optimal resolution (from 144 x 176 to 4,000 x 3,000).

Open Camera also contains several practical functions. For example, the duration of the self-timer can be set and a voice countdown can be started. It is also possible to set a delay between shots taken in burst mode and even take pictures remotely using voice commands. The potential offered is really gigantic: without mentioning everything, we will end by mentioning the possibility of adding text, geotagging the image and reducing noise.

There really is no reason not to try it: apart from being free, Open Camera is completely ad-free.

Open Camera is a very complete and highly customizable application. © Mark Harman 

MX Camera

Camera MX is a free app for taking photos or recording videos on Android devices. It is aimed at people who do not necessarily want to configure the usual options in photography, but prefer to have available many filters and special effects easy to use to embellish their shots.

Thus, with Camera MX, there is no question of technique with white balance, ISO, etc. The user still has the option to adjust the resolution of photos, add a grid on the screen, choose one of 12 scene modes available (action, night, sunset sun, etc.) or capture a video accelerated mode (up to a speed multiplied by 5). Its interface is particularly practical: the essential parameters, such as the flash, changing the camera, activating HDR mode or switching to video mode, are accessible directly on the screen.

For the rest, it will be a question of selecting the filters and special effects that you want to apply to your images. Camera MX then reveals all its potential: it contains not only the filters to which amateur photographers are accustomed (black and white, sepia, dark, etc.), but also others, much more original: image distortion (mirror, kaleidoscope, etc.), reproduction of an artistic style (pop art,  cel shading, etc.) or special brand (8 bits, thermal camera, etc.). Interesting clarification: all filters can then be refined simply by moving a slider.

In addition, the user has the possibility to add one of the 28 special effects (snowflakes, candle flame, sun rays, wall, newspaper, etc.) and to select the frame or border of his choice among the 19 included base.

Finally, we note the presence of two interesting special functions: the ”  Live Shot ” is a photo followed by a short video when you press it and the ”  Shot the Past ” allows you to go back a few seconds before the shot to see if a better shot is available, which is convenient for capturing moving objects.

Special effects and additional filter packs are available, each priced at € 1.99. By subscribing to the Camera MX newsletter, you can acquire one free of charge.

Camera MX is the ideal application for those who like to have a large number of special effects and filters to retouch their photos. © Magix software GmbH 

Candy camera

Candy Camera is a free application for recording videos or taking photos, which has the particularity of being specialized for portraits and selfies. It is recommended for people who are used to staging moments of their life on social networks.

Candy Camera is extremely easy to learn. In fact, at first, the user only has access to a few settings: brightness, flash, grid and self-timer. He can also choose the format of his creations: full screen, 3: 4, 1: 1 or a combination of 2 to 25 images.

In addition, he can add stickers and apply one of the 30 exclusive filters to make his shot more alive. Before shooting, he can also use the skin “perfector” and put on a sparkling effect.

But Candy Camera also has many photo editing and retouching functions. The user first has all the standard functions for this type of application. Indeed, it has the possibility of adjusting the brightness, the contrast, saturation, resolution, skew the image, rotate it, crop it, etc. But, and this is its whole point, Candy Camera includes a multitude of features to retouch faces and bodies in a very easy way. With a finger movement, it is possible to refine a silhouette or make it more plump, to whiten the complexion of a person or, on the contrary, to make it more tanned. Candy Camera integrates editing functions specific to several parts of the body: waist, legs, hips and chest for women, abdominals and pecs for men.

In the same vein, it is possible to refine the contour of the face, to lengthen or reduce the shape of the eyes, to make them symmetrical, to erase dark circles, to widen a smile, to decrease the size. the nose or erase skin blemishes. Ultimately, touch-ups that would take a long time using professional software like Photoshop only last a few seconds with Candy Camera. Whether you are a fan of selfies or not, the result is stunning!

Candy Camera is available for Android and iOS.

Candy Camera is the perfect app for people who take a lot of portraits and selfies. © JP Brothers