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Camera ZOOM FX

theappwhisperer | Software/App Reviews | Published Mar 6, 2012

Camera ZOOM FX (currently on sale – 40% off) - $2.99 / £1.79
Android 1.5 and up 

The user interface is professional looking but, considering the space available, the controls are small and close together. The 'cross-hair' and AF point are optional.

Camera Zoom FX is a camera control and image enhancement app for Android-based phones and going by the number of times it has been downloaded (in excess of 500,000) from the Android Marketplace, is one of the most popular of its type. With a professional looking user interface and impressive range of camera features, not to mention the effects and enhancement filters, it’s not difficult to see why. However, with Android it’s worth noting some of the camera features, such as the digital zoom, LED flash, and control of a forward facing camera, are dependant on the hardware capabilities of the smartphone on which you install the app.

Be that as it may, with controls flanking either side of the live view image, Camera Zoom’s user interface is slick and mostly intuitive, On the left you have a slider for the digital zoom, LED flash, as well as white balance, autofocus, and a choice of filters, all using simple tap-commands. On the right, further options are offered in the shape of a self-timer, burst mode and useful time-lapse mode. On-screen icons are easy to see but they’re small and the mode option icon on the right is placed uncomfortably close to the shutter button– an odd choice when there’s plenty of space available.

We were also rather perplexed by the lack of a touch-focus option or indeed any exposure and focus-lock features. The app also lacks other advanced features, such as face detection and video capture, features that the smartphone we were using (an HTC Sensation XE) supported with the stock camera app. 

A range of effects filters are offered and these can be 'stacked' one-after-the-other, for impressive results. Images are edited 'non-destructively', so you can always return to the original and apply new effects if you want to.

The FX filter option comprises of ten presets (displayed in real-time) and various effects filters (Tilt-Shift, mirror, distort, etc), plus overlays and grids. These are easy to use, but lack any adjustment sliders to alter the strength. Like the camera controls, the icons are quite small requiring finger-tip precision. In capture mode, the image displayed doesn’t make full use of the panel’s real–estate and several of the effects are only available in a square format making the image look even more cramped.

Ultimately, on the HTC Sensation XE that we're using, Camera Zoom FX doesn't add much to the already very well-specified native camera app, but the effects filters, while not as extensive as we would like, can be supplemented with further ‘packs’ the user can download. Camera Zoom FX may make more sense on a phone with fewer camera features and our advice would be to check first.

What we like: Professional looking interface, burst and time lapse modes, reasonable range of effects filters and enhancements.

What we don't like: Camera features lack touch focus and AF/AE lock, live view image a little cramped, small icons.