Camera ZOOM FX

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.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

Comments

Total comments: 22
bibiki78
By bibiki78 (10 months ago)

I love this app. I have been an Android user for more almost 2 years and Camera Zoom FX is one of my favorites.

0 upvotes
SimonMurie
By SimonMurie (Apr 2, 2012)

I'm a big fan of this app but i'm not some filter effects freak or anything :) I got the Galaxy S2 and its a nice step up from the stock app for actual photo taking, plus it's a bit quicker to the draw too. Picked it up on sale for only 10 cents with a couple other camera apps in December.

0 upvotes
amicus70
By amicus70 (Mar 11, 2012)

Mmmmh, try the Camera360 Ultimate and the befunky-photoeditor. I would say they will do pretty the same but for free....

0 upvotes
Tom Z
By Tom Z (Mar 7, 2012)

25 cents US right now in the Market... I think it is today only (2012 3/6)

0 upvotes
Jeff Peterman
By Jeff Peterman (Mar 7, 2012)

I have a Samsung Galaxy SII Skyrocket that has decent camera, but a poor camera App. This one looked interesting until I read "lack off a touch-focus option or indeed any exposure and focus-lock features" as these are precisely the features I need that are not offered in the stock App. (The stock App does have exposure compensation but not exposure lock.)

0 upvotes
Jeff Peterman
By Jeff Peterman (Mar 7, 2012)

Hmm, based on some other comments here I looked more closely and found the settings I want in the stock App. So, I'm happy!

0 upvotes
leeruikang
By leeruikang (Mar 6, 2012)

Nothing enticing for a Sony Ericsson Xperia user like me, of which the camera provides a plethora of focusing options such as touch focus , multi-point focus (no kidding), face priority focus, one shot focus and infinity mode. Also not to leave out the spot, center and average metering modes, as well as the the sweep panorama function. I do my post processing using Pixlr-o-matic, which never fail to impress. How do you get 4 mp output with Pixlr-O-matic? Even at large settings I only manage a 1.5mp output.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
StephenMcCloud
By StephenMcCloud (Mar 6, 2012)

"free to purchase"? Who writes this stuff?

2 upvotes
Scott Everett
By Scott Everett (Mar 6, 2012)

Fixed. :)

0 upvotes
Swordfish
By Swordfish (Mar 6, 2012)

Saved file is too compressed. And there's no EV compensation, which the stock app has.

0 upvotes
LichtFan
By LichtFan (Sep 19, 2012)

You can set it to 100% jpg quality in full resoluion

0 upvotes
Nikonworks
By Nikonworks (Mar 6, 2012)

No useful information.

How can something appear to be 'Professional' in appearance and have 'too small' buttons at the same time,

These articles appear to be 'fill' as opposed to providing real information for us DPReview readers.

Editors: 'Where's the Beef?

1 upvote
Michael Ma
By Michael Ma (Mar 6, 2012)

I've tried out about 20 of these camera replacement, layered post processing/framing effects and there are 2 apps that stand out.

Pixlr-o-matic made by Autodesk. It is making a serious investment to steal the instagram market before the instagram app is released on Android. The highest resolution output is 4.2 megapixels. Blows away the <1 megapixel output of picplz and Lightbox.

I also recommend is "Photo Editor" by dev.macguyver. It is the only one that lets you edit file in it's ORIGINAL SIZE and you can adjust the white balance, saturation, contrast, brightness. Seriously, most of the time, all you want is WB correction, saturation, exposure adjustment, and a bump up on the contrast.

I personally don't use Camera Zoom FX but prefer the camera that comes stock with the Galaxy S2. I have customized the left 4 functions to do AWB, Auto Contrast, ISO, and Exposure controls. With these settings, I can pull off the highest quality image possible in any situation, in my opinion.

3 upvotes
Nikonworks
By Nikonworks (Mar 6, 2012)

I downloaded photo Editor by dev.macguyver.
Th first thing it states is my photo is too large and that it will automatically resize it'
How do you get it to edit in its Original Size as you state above?

Thank you.

0 upvotes
dtmoody
By dtmoody (Mar 6, 2012)

Thank you for this review on an Android based piece of software. Much appreciated.

6 upvotes
msaPrintRunner
By msaPrintRunner (Mar 6, 2012)

I love this app. I have been an Android user for more almost 2 years and Camera Zoom FX is one of my favorites. It's a versatile app that I can enjoy anytime and anywhere I want.

2 upvotes
Maverick_
By Maverick_ (Mar 6, 2012)

I have been using Camera Zoom FX on my Samsung Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.0.2 Ice Cream Sandwich for some time now. For me the most important feature of the Camera Zoom FX (not mentioned above ) is the "Stable Shot." Stable Shot, which is basically steady shot, uses an algorithm that senses movement and waits until the camera is steady before it takes the picture. It works really well.

I have replaced the stock camera app with Camera Zoom FX. Not mentioned above, Camera Zoom FX allows you to also shoot video, although it simply launches the stock video app, so in essence you don't need to use the stock camera app any more.

I also use an HDR Camera app for daylight shooting.

Once last thing, to the "theappwhisperer" the proper phrase for something that is smart and hip is "sleek" and not "slick." Slick means sly or shrewd. Sleek means smooth, glossy, graceful and such.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
theappwhisperer
By theappwhisperer (Mar 6, 2012)

Thank you for your comments above, regarding the 'slick' and 'sleek' terminology. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the use of 'slick' as an adjective is thus,

"done or operating in an impressively smooth and efficient way"

This is how this word was used in the review. Accordingly, the Oxford English Dictionary describes the word 'Sleek', again as an adjective as:

"(of hair, fur, or skin) smooth and glossy"

Obviously the word 'sleek' would of been totally inappropriate in this review and that's why it was not used.

1 upvote
Guy Swarbrick
By Guy Swarbrick (Mar 6, 2012)

'Sleek' would, indeed, /have/ been totally inappropriate. Much like the word 'of' in the phrase 'would have'...

1 upvote
Maverick_
By Maverick_ (Mar 6, 2012)

I think it's another one of those UK/US English phrasing, spelling and punctuation differences. For example in the US we end our sentences with the close quote symbol, in the UK you don't. Meaning the close quote follows the period (full stop) and is not placed before it. Also we spell things very differently as well. Such as the "z' vs "s" in words like specialized. No "u" in color. And lots more.

If you use an American dictionary as reference the word slick means sly, shrewd and sleek means hi-tech, glossy, graceful and such. In the US we typically use sleek for any such references.

0 upvotes
Maverick_
By Maverick_ (Mar 6, 2012)

Here's a correct use of the word "sleek" in an article from today's New York Times, referring to the new A Class from Mercedes:
The markedly sleeker new car is aimed at young consumers who, in Mr. Zetsche’s words, “drove their first cars on the PlayStation.”

0 upvotes
Guy Swarbrick
By Guy Swarbrick (Mar 6, 2012)

We'd use sleek for that, too. It doesn't mean hi-tech, it does mean smooth, streamlined, clean... as in hair, fur, skin or car bodies... I suspect, etymologically, they're the same work but on this side of the pond - and that side, in my experience - things are sleek looking but slick in operation. Except oil slicks, of course, which are both. Even when they're caused by Amoco. ;)

0 upvotes
Total comments: 22