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Android Toy Camera Apps

Doug Pardee | Software/App Reviews | Published Mar 12, 2013

Here are reviews of some of the most popular toy camera apps for Android.

By "toy camera app," I mean an app that includes its own image-capture capabilities, rather than using another app such as Android Camera, but which delivers reduced resolution (usually 1 megapixel or less) or which forces the use of filters. In other words, there's no way to take a straight full-resolution picture with a toy camera app. Obviously, these apps are for having fun with, not for anything like serious photography.

The smart-phone that I used for testing these apps produces 2560x1920 (5 megapixel) images. It's possible that some of the resolution figures will be different on other devices.

Contents:

RetroCamera (v3.83 reviewed)

In short:

Pros:

Cons:

Verdict:

RetroCamera has a very different gestalt than other toy camera apps. It wants to remind you of working with actual cameras rather than be an image-capture app. Some people will like it, others will hate it. The limited choices and the high resolution (including optional full-resolution original) are things you'll likely consider, but in the end it's probably going to come down to whether you enjoy the fantasy-camera illusion or not.

Image capture

Photo adjustment

Plays well with others?

App info

Paper Camera (version 3.4.1 reviewed)

In short:

Pros:

Cons:

Verdict:

If you like the specialty effects that Paper Camera offers, you'll probably overlook any shortcomings in the specifications. Paper Camera is a pleasure to use; it has a nicer "fit and finish" when compared with the free apps. Everything just seems to work smoothly.

Most people aren't going to use these effects on a regular basis, though. So the question is whether it's worth a couple of bucks to you or not.

The specialty filters:

Image capture

Photo adjustment

Plays well with others?

App info

Pudding Camera (v3.0.1 reviewed)

In short:

Pros:

Cons:

Verdict:

Easy to use, but the multi-snap collages are about the only thing that stand out when compared with other free toy camera apps.

Version 3 is brand-new. This review was originally written based on version 2.6, then updated to version 3.

 Image capture

Photo adjustment

Plays well with others?

App info

Cymera (v1.2.9 reviewed)

In short:

Pros:

Cons:

Verdict:

Despite what appears to be an unusually complete list of features, Cymera tends to be best-suited for portraits of people, especially selfies. The filter selection isn't as edgy as with many apps, though not as conservative as Pudding Camera's are. The requirement to have a Cyworld account and to upload your photos there in order to upload to sharing sites won't sit well with everyone.

Image capture

Photo adjustment

Plays well with others?

App info

Little Photo (v6.3.1 reviewed)

In short:

Pros:

Cons:

Verdict:

The very high rating by users is a bit puzzling. It must be the huge selection of edgy filters that can be applied during editing. The camera function is almost totally devoid of any features, and Little Photo has no ability at all for sending photos to sharing sites.

Little Photo isn't particularly user-friendly. For example, the editing menus don't come up until you touch the area where they should be. And the editing menus overlay the photo that you're editing.

There must be some reason that users love Little Photo, but it would seem to be in the running to take the prize as the least useful and least lovable toy camera app for Android.

 Image capture

Photo adjustment

Plays well with others?

App info

PhotoWonder (v2.0.9 reviewed)

In short:

Pros:

Cons:

Verdict:

Even among the toy camera apps, PhotoWonder's resolution is poor: 800x600. On the other hand, it offers a number of features that other toy camera apps don't. There's live view with one of nine filters, and you can change your mind on the choice of filter after taking the picture — particularly useful for saving an unfiltered original. A wider range of filters can be applied to the final copy of the picture after capture. PhotoWonder also has a comprehensive collection of editing tools, including cropping if you think you still have too many pixels.

The shooting process is unusually complex. There are separate preview/edit steps for the original image and the final image, and both require that the user tell PhotoWonder to save the result, and an additional sharing step is always presented after saving the final image. Saving both the images results in two photo files for each image you take and then edit.

Image capture

Photo adjustment

Plays well with others?

App info

FxCamera (v2.6.0 reviewed)

In short:

Pros:

Cons:

Verdict:

FxCamera is quite popular despite its limited feature set and the abysmal resolution of the photos it produces. When a square aspect ratio is selected, FxCamera delivers only 600x600 pixels, which isn't even as large as Instagram's puny 612x612.

Other than the rather attractive user interface, there isn't much to commend FxCamera. But users rate it highly nonetheless.

Image capture

Photo adjustment

Plays well with others?

App info