As the old saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. For the majority of us today, that camera is built into our phone so it’s important to have apps in your library that enable you to get the most out of your smartphone’s snapper.
A Better Camera from Almalence, as the name might suggest, is an app that wants to improve upon the stock camera app included on your Android device. While most stock camera apps allow users to take a decent picture, A Better Camera comes chock-full of features to really stretch what your device’s camera is capable of.
There are bells and whistles galore with A Better Camera — the app brings along with it many of the options you’d expect to see on compact or DSLR cameras. Single shot, burst mode, HDR, expo metering, dynamic range optimization, night mode, scenes, self timer, panorama, photo sequence, groupshot (with best face selection), multishot with object removal, preshot, HDR video — all available in one app. You can also tinker with settings like ISO, exposure, focus, white balance and flash while displaying all manners of grids, levels and histograms on screen. You can also alter file saving and sharing parameters.
If it sounds advanced and technical, it’s because it is. Or at least, it can be. In A Better Camera, you make it as technical as you want. While the above feature set might not appeal to the average consumer, anyone with an interest in photography will no doubt benefit from a few of those features. Because ABC packs them all into one app, you can easily replace your stock camera app with A Better Camera and make the most of the additional functions when needed and strip back the functionality when using it more casually. A Better Camera does a good job of explaining each feature the first time you use it making it a bit easier for those just dabbling in mobile photography.
In terms of results, photos are generally of a very high standard. While you are bound by the constraints of the hardware you are using, ABC does a great job on the software side to make your photos look good. Aspects like dynamic range optimization and HDR intelligently improve image output and with exposure and white balance control you can ensure your camera adapts to the environment. As you’ll see in the photo below, despite conditions being quite dark, gray and overcast, ABC managed to pick out the detail in the wall art I shot.
Most of A Better Camera’s feature set is available for free. The app costs nothing to download and you can begin immediately using a bunch of the features mentioned above. There are no obtrusive ads which is great and should you want some of the more advanced features, you can access these through individual or one collective in-app purchase. At present, A Better Camera is offering all of its features for 50% off.
There are tons of features and this, of course, comes at a cost to the user experience. A Better Camera isn’t the fastest moving app, it can be slow to capture and save pictures at times and navigating the UI is not the easiest. Although ABC does its best to illustrate which option does what, there are so many icons it can be hard to parse all of the information and it takes a considerable amount of time to really get to grips with the app and all of its functions. For those well versed in the lingo of the photographer, it might be less of a barrier, but you’ll still need to spend some time trialling the app to figure out all of its capabilities.
The Good: A plethora of features, editable settings and optimizations make ABC a significant improvement over the stock camera app. Free to try and ad-free. Explains each feature for first time users.
The Bad: UI is a bit dense with a number of icons filling the screen and menus to navigate through. Certain modes can be slow to capture and save images.
The Verdict: A Better Camera really is an app that does what its name suggests. It can help you improve your photo taking by maximizing the capabilities of your phone’s camera. The UI might not be the best and the awesome featureset might be too much for some, the app is perfect for keen mobile photographers who want an incredible amount of control over their picture taking and DSLR like features on the go. There’s also a large community built around the app helping to make it better with every revision, which is nice to see.
A Better Camera is free (and ad-free) to try so check it out on Google Play. If you like it and want its extra functionalities, you can unlock them via an in-app purchase that is currently 50% off.