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Put more focus on your Android camera with these photo-editing apps

by Marty Gabel

It’s unlikely that the camera on your Android device is ever going to be a match for a dedicated DSLR or Micro Four Thirds camera. However, there is no denying that the quality of our smartphone cameras continue to improve, despite the small sensor size and form factor.

As any good photographer will say, “The best camera out there is the one that’s with you.” Whether you’re rocking an $8,000 Leica or a $49 Android phone, it’s all about capturing the moment. So with that in mind, here are a few good apps that can help you get the best out of your device’s camera, whether they offer fun filters or simple cropping and sharpening tools.

Adobe Photoshop Express (Free)

Strangely enough, Adobe, the champion photo manipulation software, offers a fairly bare-bones Android app. But it’s still good when it comes to the basics. It lets you crop, adjust color, and adds a few interesting filter effects for good measure. Plus it’s easy to share images with your family and friends. Though there are more feature-filled apps out there, its simplicity and speed still make it an effective choice.

Vignette ($4.11) and Vignette Demo (Free)

Vignette is more about photo filters and frames than it is about touching-up your images. It’s a bit like the popular iPhone app Hipstamatic and offers a vast array of filters (84 at last count) to make your Android photos really shine. Choose from loads of vintage-style effects as well as funky film-like modes like cross-processing or tilt-shift. The app is regularly updated by its very dedicated developers, and though its interface isn’t perfect, its powerful options should please most shutterbugs.

PicSay Pro ($4.29) and PicSay (Free)

PicSay doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that is no bad thing. Behind its fun look and feel, and easy to use tools, it actually packs quite a lot of power. This is especially  true in the full version. PicSay offers a bunch of very handy manipulation tools including sharpening, cropping, hue/saturation adjustments and so on, but it also tacks-on a number of fun filters to make your photos pop. There’s also the option to add speech bubbles so you can make your very own comic strips or simply embarrass your friends.

FxCamera (Free) and Retro Camera (Free)

FxCamera and Retro Camera are more about adding special effects and filters before you shoot, rather than manipulating your images afterwards. They are still worth a look though because they are both free and quite a lot of fun. Choose from a number of old-school camera effects like a Polaroid, LOMO LC-A, Holga, toy camera or fish-eye lens and shoot away. You’ll never be quite sure what you’ll get, but both apps offer a great user interface and some handy options to tweak things the way you want.

picplz (Free)

picplz makes this list because it is the most like popular iOS app Instagram. It not only lets you shoot and then add cool effects to the image you just captured, it also makes it easy to share the image with your friends on social networks, web sites or to add it to your Dropbox account. While its filters and effects resemble those found on other apps in this list, its sharing features alone means it deserves including here.

Honorable mentions...

Creating a list like this means not everything is going to get included. It’s worth mentioning that there are tons of great photo manipulation and editing apps in the Android Market that are definitely worth your time, and so many of them are free to try out. We would be remiss to not mention some great photo manipulation apps like Little Photo which features 70 different effects, Camera360 with its many filters, cool HDR effect, plus some unique scenery modes. There’s also PicsIn Photo Studio which, like PicSay, offers both filter effects and photo editing features and PhotoFunia which puts more a fun twist on proceedings so you can place your image in all manner of places and situations.

Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.