Camera Awesome for Android hands-on

November 15, 2013
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SmugMug recently released Camera Awesome for Android. This release came after a rather long period of being available for iOS only. But putting that to the side, the app is $2.99 and brings the obvious ability of being able to capture images or video along with quite a few features. To begin with though, the Camera Awesome app is able to capture images quickly, really quickly.

To that last point, while some may prefer to not spend $2.99 on a camera app, we can justify the cost just for the quick capture. Taking a picture on the Nexus 5 you have a few seconds before the image is actually captured using the stock app. With Camera Awesome, the image is grabbed almost instantly.

The image you see sitting below is how the app launches. Looking towards the left (from the bottom) and you have easy access to the app settings, camera settings (White Balance and ISO), composition grids and a level for horizontal shots. There is also quick access to the flash settings, which includes turning the flash on like a torch and the option to switch between the front and rear-facing camera.

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Shifting over to the right side and you find access to the Gallery and the slider to switch between still and video. Of course, the shutter button is there. The other item, the small triangle, that provides access to the different camera modes. Tapping that will have the regular setup as well as Burst Mode, a timer, settings for intervals, an Image Stabilization mode and Panorama.

There is also a Big Button mode, which as the name suggests, gives you a big button. In this case that means a shutter button on the display. Th regular settings provides options to adjust the resolution quality, set your location preferences, pinch to zoom, face detection and whether or not you want to use the volume buttons as a shutter. You can get a look at most of these in the gallery sitting below.

Along with capturing images (and video), Camera Awesome also includes the ability to share and the ability to edit. Sharing is not all that exciting, after all, it can be done using the stock Camera app and Gallery. Needless to say, SmugMug has it setup so you can share to a handful of services and then many more with a tap of the "other" button. The sharing setup is detailed below.

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Moving past sharing and we come to the editing. Aside from the quick image capture, this is one of the reasons why we really like Camera Awesome -- having this all built into one app seems to simplify the process of capturing, editing and sharing. Of course, that is all just personal preference and can also be done using the regular Gallery app.

Once in the gallery portion of the app, a tap of the wand icon will bring you to the editing tools. From here you can adjust the ratio and also choose from a variety of filters, textures and frames. Camera Awesome also has something called Awesomize. This, when turned on, will give you a slider that makes adjusting the image pretty simple. Awesomize doesn't always provide a perfect result, but it is an option we like having around.

Otherwise, another perk of the Camera Awesome app is the ability to tap to focus on a single spot. In fact, there is a Focus and Expose setting and they can be kept in the same location, or dragged apart for a bit more flexibility. This is easy to get started, but may take some getting used to in practice. A single tap on the display brings the focus and expose sitting together while tapping two separate points will split them.

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We know there are plenty of camera apps for Android users, but we happen to like Camera Awesome and are happy to consider it money well spent. That all having been said, the Camera Awesome app remains available in the Google Play Store. And lastly, below is a sample image captured using Camera Awesome on the Galaxy Note 3.

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  • Angelo Allegra

    How does it compare to Camera 360 Ultimate? Any idea?

  • David Loman

    The option for focus+exposure doesn’t seem to work on the GNote 2. I tried it several times now and I just can’t get it to focus on one point and use the exposure of another point. Apparently, according to a video on You Tube, it performs differently depending on the device. It would seem as you need to have a powerful GPU in order to have that feature. On the video, it was tested on an HTC One, and your tests were on a Nexus 5 and GNote 3 which both have kick ass GPUs. Well… I’m guessing that’s the issue. I’ll be switching to a Nexus 5 or Note 3 soon though. Hwoever, I don’t see the app so awesome.

    • Oisin Judge

      I don’t think GPU has anything to do with it as it seems to be working fine on my Moto Droid RAZR. Did try long pressing two points at the same time as a tap just doesn’t do it for me

  • paulmike3

    If I wanted a 4 year old, outdated, iOS app UI – I’d buy an iOS device. Seriously, stop reviewing things until they stop breaking Android’s UI guidelines.

    • http://rbrt.me/ robertnelson

      Valid complaint.

  • JLishere

    This makes me hopeful that the stock camera on the N5 will be improved with a software update. Almost every complaint I’ve heard (shutter lag, noise filters and ISO) can be addressed with software.

  • Scott Thompson

    Why do you mention the Nexus 5 when this app is not yet compatible with the Nexus 5? It’s true that the N5 takes too long to focus, but this app won’t help since it can’t be installed on the N5 (not through the Play Store, anyway)

    • http://rbrt.me/ robertnelson

      I installed it on my Nexus 5, from the Play Store on the web. No special access, just a regular install.

      • Scott Thompson

        That’s awesome! For some reason it does not show up in search results when I search on my device, and the play store on my PC says “This item is not compatible with your device” for my N5…

    • KID ANDROID

      Shows compatible for my N5 here in Canada through the Playstore directly on the device.

  • Matt

    Bit odd,since,Moto X is one of the phones that is supported,and,touch to focus doesnt focus,there’s no HDR options,and the view finder,oh god,the view finder runs on a 640×480 resolution!

  • aznmode1

    I use this on my note 3 as I find the note 3 low light pictures in particular when using flash is a bit dull. This sharpens the picture and have more details and is on par now with my s4 when it comes to those shots. I do have a bug where when I record video with flash, the flash turns on before I record and once I press record the flash turns off. Really odd. So for other shots I still use the stock one. Overall though Camera awesome is a great alternative to other apps like Camera fx, or 360 once that flash bug is fixed on my note 3.