Android camera apps are dime a dozen, so we will be reviewing some of the most popular ones to compile an informed list of go-to replacements of your stock apps. Which in and of itself might seem like a plausible, yet debatable idea. Most users of HTC devices will tell you their stock camera app is the best one ever, and perhaps people who know one or two things about photography would argue the stock camera app that comes with your device is the best option you can use. But what if you are not happy with it, and want to try out alternatives?
Z Camera is one such alternative app that’s quite popular and gaining traction on Google Play for a reason. It is free and offers quite a few competitive features that might get you interested. So, let us take a closer look at what it does.
First of all, it lets you take photos, videos and dynamic photos. The latter being the soundless short motion photos, kind of like iOS’ live photos analogue. The app has an in-built feature of converting them to GIFs for easier sharing, but you can keep them on your device without conversion.
Z Camera also comes with an in-built Gallery and a Private Folder you can use to take some of your private stuff off sight. You get to choose a 4-digit password and use it every time you access the folder. You do not need to unlock the folder when you select the photos from other folders to move them to a private folder. What I appreciate is that by default the private folder is stored in SD card.
Another perk of Z Camera is it has in-built filters, and even though they are a selection of your regular go-to filters, Z Camera lets you apply them before you take a snapshot and preview whether that’s the effect you’ve been looking for.
Z Camera also has a nifty selfie and welfie feature, with an auto beautify effect. Right next to the selfie button there is a switch camera button that turns on your front and back cameras respectively.The app comes with an HDR feature you can use in low-light environment, and I intentionally tested the app at night, with my table lamp on only. Here are two shots, the one on the left was taken with my stock app, the one on the right with Z Camera, filters off.
It’s quite evident my stock app result is more hi-res than Z Camera, but then come the filters, and if you are after some nifty cinematic effect you could find them attractive.
Finally, the dynamic photos feature is quite novel, and may make you keep the Z Camera for the sake of live shots alone.
Performance-wise, Z Camera does seem to take shots faster than my stock Samsung camera app, but it is slower to find the focus. Z Camera comes with a few additional perks, like emoji, doodle and text in the photo editor panel. Its UI is intuitive, indeed, and the buttons are one tap away, self-explanatory. Z Camera is free and displays ads once in a while, provided you have an active connection. It did crash on me a couple of times.
- Free, fast
- Intuitive UI
- Dynamic photos (convertible to GIFs)
- Multiple filters you can preview before taking the picture
- Photo editor with emoji, doodle and text options
- HDR for better shots in low-light scenes
- Selfie beautifying shots
- One button to switch cameras
- Stability issues
- Even though you can set the images and video resolution from the app’s settings, the images taken with Z Camera are lower-res than the ones taken with my stock Samsung app
Developer: Zero Team
Download from Google Play
Z Camera is free and accessible, with a few attractive features for non-techies. Its Dynamic photos with in-built conversion to GIFs tool is wonderful while the option to preview images with a filter applied is handy. In-built pass code protected Private Folder, filters and image editor with a decent number of tools make it a worthwhile app among the free alternatives to your stock camera app. We would recommend you to give it a go.