The 5 Best Free Camera Apps for Android in 2018

Get better photos and selfies and access advanced editing tools

Asian woman taking phone picture of Pudong skyline in the night,Shanghai
Yaorusheng / Getty Images

Everyone's a photographer these days. Smartphone cameras are a far cry from the original camera phones, both more sophisticated and offering better picture quality every year. In addition to the camera app that comes with your Android smartphone, there are many free third-party apps out there. We found the best free apps for Android that are great alternatives or companions to your stock camera. Note that some of them have in-app purchases for premium features, but all are available for free download.

Explore Your Stock Camera First

The stock camera on your phone is worth a try before you download a third-party app. Pixel phones have the Google Camera built-in, while Samsung, LG, and offer alternative cameras. You might find the stock camera has all the features you need, including filters, editing features, a timer function, shooting modes such as panorama, and others.

Pixel phones have a fast camera that can achieve the bokeh effect (blurred background quality) and has built-in optical image stabilization. It also supports 4K video. The front-facing camera has a portrait mode for perfect selfies. Pixel users also get free unlimited storage of full resolution photos in Google Photos, which is a big plus.

Meanwhile, the latest Samsung Galaxy smartphones have dual lenses to get the blurred background effect and improved low light performance. LG's latest models rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to identify a scene and choose the best shooting mode. Even many of the Android budget lines, such as Asus Zenphones, HTC Androids, and Huawei models feature dual-lens cameras, selfie enhancing filters, and more.

To get the most out of your built-in camera, make sure your smartphone is up to date, and take a look at the settings; there may be features you haven't yet discovered. Still, if you find your stock camera is lacking or don't have a flagship smartphone, consider one of the following apps.

Candy Camera: Best App For Next Level Selfies

Candy Camera (free) gets an Editors' Choice from the Google play store and focuses on selfies. It has filters meant to make photos more flattering, beauty functions including makeup, stickers, and a collage creator. You can see examples of what Candy Camera can do on its Facebook and Instagram pages.

What We Like:

  • It offers free editing features and filters.
  • You can use filters in video chats aka Candy Call.

What We Don't Like:

  • Slimming feature is troublesome.

Cymera: Best For Fixing Selfies

Cymera by SK Communications includes filters, collages, skin correction tools, stickers, and a range of editing tools; edit photos from other apps, including Camera360 and VSCO. The app is free to download, and its listing mentions in-app purchases, but it's only free filters, effects, and other tools in the in-app shop.

What We Like:

  • Offers tons of free filters, stickers, and other effects and tools.
  • Can edit photos from other apps in addition to your gallery images.

What We Don't Like:

  • Somewhat confusing interface.

Open Camera: Best App for Customization

Open Camera (free) is almost the perfect complement to Android as both are open-source. It also offers a ton of features, such as image stabilization, GPS tagging, a timer, and more.

What We Like:

  • There are no in-app purchases or distracting ads.
  • You can configure it for right-or left-handed use.
  • The app supports RAW (uncompressed) images.

What We Don't Like:

  • Some performance issues reported in the Google Play store reviews.

Photoshop Express: Best App For Photo Editing & Collages

Photoshop has long been the go-to software for photographers, and its mobile app doesn't disappoint. The free Photoshop Express app includes all sorts of editing features, including crop, rotate, flip, watermark, and correction tools. It also allows you to create photo collages and even print them from the app.

What We Like:

  • It has helpful tools, such as blemish removal, exposure control, saturation, and more.
  • The app includes more than 80 filters.
  • You can add a watermark to photos before sharing them online.

What We Don't Like:

  • May take you a while to learn how to use the tools.

Camera360: Best App For Selfie Stickers

Camera360: Selfie Photo Editor (free with in-app purchases; $0.99 - $4.99) includes lens filters that you can use while taking a photo, as well as a photo editor and a library of stickers. It earns an Editors' Choice on the Google Play Store.

What We Like:

  • Can add stickers and 3D stickers to your photos.
  • It has a built-in photo editor.

What We Don't Like:

  • Ads can be intrusive.