A few years ago, a camera was a camera. These days, a phone serves as the primary camera for most of us. And that’s great — if something worthy of photographing pops up spontaneously, we usually have time to record it for posterity. Digital photos also allow us to shoot photos to our heart’s content without worrying about cost. Mobile cameras offer speed and reliability at an unbeatable price point.
What these cameras don’t always provide are high-quality photos. While mobile cameras have become far more sophisticated and powerful over the years, they still sometimes come up lacking in comparison to traditional cameras.
“Mobile cameras have made a quantum leap over the last few years,” said technology expert Jason Hope. “First the iPhone gave every phone owner the opportunity to shoot photos of reasonably good quality. Newer phones, like Nokia’s Lumia series, have pushed that capability even further. Today’s mobile camera technology is good enough to make a cell phone the only camera most people need.”
That doesn’t mean a consumer can just buy a new phone, take it out of the box and expect to get sterling photographic results. Phone cameras still vary wildly in quality, so one has to buy the right hardware, and marry it to the right software.
Here’s a look at some of the best photo apps on the market.
Let’s start with the titan in the category. Instagram’s brilliant filter features made the app a huge hit and an absolute must-have in the category — for iPhone owners, anyway. Android users were forced to wait impatiently for their own version of the app, which was eventually snapped up for a cool $1 billion by Facebook. While that price tag was criticized as excessive, it looks like a bargain today. Along with its strong photo features, Instagram’s social element is its strongest asset. It’s essentially a stripped down, photo-centric mini-version of Facebook — but with much more cachet.
Camera Zoom FX
For those of us whose camera skills are solely of the “point and press” variety, an app like Camera Zoom FX is an absolute necessity. Instead of fumbling through the confusing interface of a phone’s native photo app, users can use this slick and intuitive interface to instantly upgrade their photos. The app helps with elemental tasks such as photo composition, which will greatly improve the overall quality of camera shots. A slew of filters and frames are included, and users can also edit images should they so desire. This app offers the unbeatable combination of power and ease of use, and can make the worst photographer passable. While the sharing functions pale in comparison to Instagram, they are serviceable.
While there are many photo apps that offer filters, few do it as creatively as Paper Camera. This app features filters in a cartoony, sketch style that is visually arresting and full of whimsy. Paper Camera doesn’t offer a ton of functionality, but what it does, it does extremely well. Along with more than a dozen filters, the app allows users to easily share photos to a variety of social media accounts.
For most of us, Photoshop is our go-to photo app when it comes to desktop or laptop computing. Photoshop Touch, that app’s mobile version, offers some of the same classic functionality. When it comes to working with mobile images, there are few apps more powerful. For users with intermediate-level skill, this is the app to get. But while it’s tops in the mobile category, this version isn’t nearly as feature-packed as its desktop cousin.
Flickr is well-designed and easy to navigate. It’s not the most powerful photo app, but it offers basic editing tools, frames and filters and easy sharing to popular social media sites. Essentially, it does everything most users require, although it isn’t going to overwhelm anyone with regard to depth and features. The app’s strongest suit is perhaps its appearance. The app is beautiful, super fast and a joy to operate.
About Author: Amy Taylor is a technology and business writer. Amy began her career as a small business owner in Phoenix, Arizona. She has taken that knowledge and experience and brought that to her unique writing capabilities. She really enjoys new business related issues that are tied directly to technology.