4 camera apps that enable manual controls on Android Lollipop

4 camera apps that enable manual controls on Android Lollipop
Last year, when Google launched Android Lollipop, it also released a new camera API (application program interface) that provided support for manual camera settings. This, however, doesn't mean that all Lollipop devices get manual camera controls by default. Instead, it means that they could take advantage of new camera apps that are specifically developed to provide manual settings.

Right now, there aren't too many third-party apps that feature manual camera controls, but those that do are worth your attention if you want to better control your Android phone's, or tablet's camera.

Of course, various Lollipop-based handsets - like the LG G4 - already offer some manual camera controls. However, in their case, trying a different camera app than the one that's pre-installed can be fun. Plus, some of the apps presented below let you take RAW photos - a rare thing in the smartphone space.

Before planning to get any of the apps listed below, you should first check if your Android Lollipop device actually supports manual controls. To do so, you should download the Manual Camera Compatibility app (Google Play link) for free and run it on your device. It will tell you which manual camera settings are - or are not - supported.

Manual Camera

This app's name is as straightforward as it gets, because it can really turn your Android phone's snapper into a full-fledged manual camera. As far as we know, this was the first app to make use of Android Lollipop's new camera API. Its main features include manual shutter speed, manual ISO, manual focus distance, manual white balance, manual exposure compensation, and the ability to shoot RAW (DNG) photos. Manual Camera is also quite fast, so you can quickly capture moments as they happen.

Download ($2.99).

Camera FV-5

Camera FV-5 is another application that offers support for RAW (DNG) photography, in addition to plenty of manual settings: ISO, focus, exposure, shutter speed, and so on. Camera FV-5 also features a "DSLR-like viewfinder display" that enables you to see stuff like exposure time and aperture in real-time. While Camera FV-5 is a paid app, you can try its Lite version for free (this, however, limits photo resolution, and doesn't provide RAW support).

Download: Camera FV-5, full ($3.95), Camera FV-5 Lite (free).

A Better Camera

A Better Camera offers support for RAW photography, too, but it looks like for now this is limited to the Google Nexus 5 only. In any case, even without RAW support, the app has lots of useful features, including manual focus, manual shutter speed, and manual white balance. The app can also take 360-degree panoramas up to 100 MP.

Download (free, with in-app purchases).

Open Camera

Open Camera is called like this because it's completely free (no in-app purchases here). It doesn't offer RAW support, but it's still got nice features, like manual focus distance, manual exposure time, and manual ISO. The app further offers an auto-stabilize option - this way, your photos "are perfectly level, no matter what."

Download (free).



1. JoshN

Posts: 202; Member since: Apr 01, 2015

How did "A Better Camera" get that good a picture from a HTC One M8 :-p

2. Sidewinder

Posts: 515; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

I'm using snap camera app on my s4 with camera2 ui enabled. It takes better pics than the stock tw camera and has way more controls and parameters.

3. Bogdan86

Posts: 48; Member since: Oct 06, 2014

if anybody finds a way to shoot manual shutter speed and ISO on galaxy S5 let me know ! stupid Samsung !

6. rsiders

Posts: 1954; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Did they not include the APIs in the 5.1.1 update?

7. rsmani

Posts: 5; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Camera FV-5 works on non-Camera2 devices as well, and controls like ISO for instance work on all devices from Android 2.3 onwards, and it works on the S5 too. There's shutter speed control as well for all devices, but the resolution tops at 2 MP, while on Camera2 devices it is full res.

9. Norris

Posts: 121; Member since: Jun 26, 2015

That's what the article is all about!You can Install any one of these apps to get manual controls on your device,I recommend Camera FV-5.

4. jauling

Posts: 82; Member since: Feb 13, 2015

i hear android 5.1 has a much better and less buggy camera api than 5.0

5. rsiders

Posts: 1954; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

And don't forget about the newly released ProShot app for Android which I highly recommend for phones that have the Camera2 APIs enabled. Unfortunately it looks like even after the 5.1.1 update my Xperia Z3 won't have these features which is why I'll never buy another Android device until Google makes all features of an OS update mandatory and not optional.

8. fay99

Posts: 118; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

Manual camera is a joke. No idea why PA still mentions it. It's less than a year old, but the lazy developer already ditched the app without any update for few months. Not all phones ***with camera2 api*** are fully compatible.

10. rsiders

Posts: 1954; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

You do realize this an OS problem and not the app's fault right. If Google made all features required instead of optional in OS updates this would not be as big an issue.

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