Apps To Replace Your Native Camera

Set yourself free from the native camera's limitations


The native camera on the iPhone is pretty decent, but not exactly feature-rich. The iPod Touch 4’s camera leaves even more to be desired. Here is a collection of apps to replace your native camera with something better. Some of them also have some nice editing features, but this AppGuide is really all about taking higher quality and more interesting photographs.

Essential Apps

  • Free

    King Camera

    by Applications

    King Camera is a rare app that actually lives up to its name! It stands out from the crowd because it has all of the camera functions you'd expect, such as big button, timer, burst, time-lapse, sound trigger, and many more. Plus it adds video camera features, which most apps in this genre don't have: video flashlight, white balance, exposure lock, and more. And it has a full editing suite, with crop, rotation, saturation, exposure, highlights, just to name a few. But wait, there's more: lots of fun things you add like borders, vignettes, textures, filters, and effects, all of which and be mixed and matched and saved for future photos. I can't even almost list all of its features here, but suffice it to say, there is a just ton packed into this powerhouse app.

  • $2.99

    Top Camera - HDR, Slow Shutter, Video, Photo Editor

    by Lucky Clan

    This is another excellent, feature-rich camera replacement app that shares many features with other essential apps. All the photography and basic editing features you'd expect are there. It doesn't have nearly as many filters/effects as King Camera and some of the others; that isn't this app's focus. However, Top Camera has two remarkable features that the others do not: excellent HDR (far superior to what's in the native camera) and Slow Shutter mode. Both of these features are comparable to what you'd find in the stand-alone apps.

Notable Apps

  • $2.99


    by tap tap tap

    This extremely popular app is another great take on what the native camera should be. Adjust focus and exposure separately. Turn your flash into a continuous fill light. You get 5x zoom, alignment grid, stabilizer, timer, and more. For use after the fact, this app has scene modes like a digital camera (such as Sunset, Beach, Portrait, etc.) in addition to lots of other editing and effect features. You really can't go wrong with this one. I have nothing bad to say about this app, it's not a fluke that Camera+ has topped the iTunes charts for so long. I just think that some of the newer contenders have come out with an even better product.

  • Free


    by Cocologics

    ProCamera is quick and easy to use, with separate focus/exposure and white balance adjustment, a full-screen shutter, anti-shake stabilizer, 5x digital zoom, alignment grids, self-timer, detailed EXIF data, and more. It does also have editing and effects to add after the fact. Oddly enough, my favorite thing about this app isn't its camera-replacement feature set. Have you ever noticed that iPhone photos taken indoors often have a yellow tinge? I have found the yellow correction filter in this app to be even better than some dedicated editing and filter apps.

  • $1.99


    by Two Teeth Technologies

    If fast is what you want, check out QuickPix for quick startup. In addition to being faster than the native camera, this app also allows you to shoot simultaneous video and still photos so you don't have to choose. Set the app up take a picture immediately upon opening if you like. Shoot burst photos as well. This app has a nice balance of speed, simplicity, and nice features for people that are not looking for the more feature-heavy apps found in the essential category. Another cool thing about this app is that it is universal, so iPad users can enjoy it as well.

  • $1.99

    Fastest Camera Pro - Never Miss a Photo Opportunity Again!

    by BRIAN Burke

    They weren't kidding with the name -- this is simply the fastest camera I have come across. Open the app and your first photo is taken immediately. Take another right away with no noticeable lag. Burst shot button allows you to take 3, 5, or 10 shots in a burst. Using flash will slow it down, of course, but for situations where you need speed (and not flash), you can't beat Fastest Camera.

  • $1.99


    by Joby Inc.

    This is one of the best free camera replacement apps out there. It's from the same developers as the popular Gorillacam, and seems to be its replacement (although Gorillacam is still available, it hasn't been updated in a while). This app offers such features as self-timer, burst shot, press anywhere shutter, geotagging, anti-shake, tap to focus, and more. The time lapse photography feature allows you to create a stop motion film. Share directly to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, or email. For free, it's a great bargain.

Decent Apps

  • $0.99


    by Occipital

    This is definitely a niche app. It really has only one feature that’s missing from the native camera, but it’s a big one - more megapixels! You can actually double your photos’ resolution with ClearCam. The app actually takes a rapid series of pictures and combines the information to create one higher quality, clearer, sharper photo. It’s great for low light situations and fast-moving subjects.

  • Free


    by Joby Inc.

    Get great features such as anti-shake shooting, a custom self-timer with adjustable burst shooting (you set both the number of shots and the time lapse between them), alignment grid and a “press anywhere” shutter button. Pre-iPhone 4 users will appreciate the 4X digital zoom. This is a helpful and feature-packed iphoneography app for the bargain price of free. Still, you're better off getting Joby's newer free app, Frame X Frame.

Shoot Panoramas

  • Free


    by Microsoft Corporation

    Quickly and easily shoot a panorama, up to 360 degrees. You can shoot left and right; you can even shoot up and down to create a sphere.

Get Creative!

  • Free

    You Gotta See This!

    by Boinx Software

    OK, you’re not going to actually replace your native camera with this one or any of the others in this category, but here is a really cool app for your photography folder. Simply pan as if taking a video or panorama, but the result will be a series of overlapping photos - sort of a cross between a panorama and a collage. Difficult to explain, but so creative, easy to use, and just plain fun.

  • $1.99

    Burst Mode - High speed camera

    by Cogitap Software

    As its name suggests, Burst Mode allows you to shoot a whole bunch of photos in rapid succession. You can take a handful or take hundreds of pictures in the blink of an eye. Great for fast-moving action when it’s hard to decide exactly when to hit the shutter button. Or just create a photo collage of all the shots together.

  • $1.99

    QuadCamera - MultiShot

    by Art & Mobile

    This is a rapid succession camera just for fun. Set up the time between shots, the number of shots (up to 8), layout (2x2, 4x1, 4x2, or 8x1), color effects (vivid, hi-contrast, grayscale, and more) and then hit the shutter button!

  • $0.99


    by Hipstamatic, LLC

    This is more kitsch than must-have, and it certainly won’t replace your native camera, but the experience of using this app is very much like using a real old-fashioned photobooth. The results are quite similar, too.

  • $1.99


    by Hipstamatic, LLC

    This wildly popular app allows you to take a wholly different type of photo. Choose the “camera lens” and “film” within the app, and then shoot. The results are artsy, retro, fun, and unpredictable. In fact, I would say this app is pretty much responsible for starting the retro iPhone camera app trend.

  • Free

    Retro Camera Plus

    by Urbian, Inc.

    In the same vein as Hipstamatic, you shoot retro photos with this app. Choose from one of five different retro “cameras” (there are detailed descriptions of each one in-app) for surprising and often beautiful results. Retro Camera Plus makes a nice complement to Hipstamatic, or simply an introduction to the addictive world of retro iPhoneography, since it is a free app.

  • $1.99

    Snap Camera! - Write notes on your pictures the easy way.

    by iBrazuca

    This one is notable, not because it's a better camera replacement than the rest, or even because it has a lot of features (it really doesn't) but because it has one fun feature the others don't. Snap allows you to quickly and easily add text to your photos. Tap to add text boxes with any color background and tons of color/size/font text options. Add as many text boxes as you like. Move them around with your finger until they're in just the right spot, and then send them off to Twitter, Facebook, Email, Tumblr, or Print with a tap.

Better HDR

  • $1.99

    Pro HDR

    by eyeApps LLC

    HDR allows photographers to take the best lit areas of two different photos (one too light in parts, and one too dark in parts) and combine them for one great photo. A simple HDR feature is included on the iPhone 4, but most iPhoneographers find it lacking. ProHDR is a huge improvement that offers more control and more pleasing results. Once your two pictures are combined into one photo, you get sliders to control brightness, contrast, saturation, warmth, and tint.

  • $1.99

    True HDR

    by Pictional LLC

    This app is much like Pro HDR, except that you get to control which parts of each shot will be the “light” and the “dark” part. The down side is that you don’t get the sliders that allow you control the light after the pictures are combined. It’s a matter of personal preference which of the two is better.

Other Apps