This Android camera app alternative is better than what you’re using

A sample photo from the ProShot app.

A photo of our back yard I snapped using ProShot.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

My Pixel 8 Pro takes rich, accurate photos with excellent color space and depth. With the help of AI, it does much of the heavy lifting for me, without my having to make any adjustments to the settings.

But sometimes I want control over the camera settings. I might want to create something more artistic or with a specific look. For that, I need control over specific camera settings, something the default app does not offer. I want to be able to adjust ISO, white balance, shutter speed, etc. 

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So, what do I do? I turn to a third-party app. 

I used to use an app called Manual Camera, but that app hasn’t seen much development over the past few years. If you take a look at the Google Play Store, you’ll find several options, some of which are free and some which can run you nearly $20. Some of those paid apps are good, while some of them are prone to crashing or other issues. 

It turns out, one of the better apps in the Play Store costs just $6.99 and it’s a doozy of an app. With ProShot, you get different camera modes (Auto, Program, Manual, Custom 1, Custom 2), Drive Modes (Photo, Video, Slo-Mo, Light Painting, and Timelapse), the ability to change flash, white balance, ISO, shutter speed, and focus, options for media format, one-finger zoom, and more.

ProShot automatically optimizes for your hardware and even has a separate Evaluator tool, so you know if the app will work with your hardware (I highly recommend using the Evaluator before purchasing ProShot). 

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The thing about ProShot is that you really should know what you’re doing before purchasing the app. Why? Because to get the most out of the app, you need to understand concepts such as ISO, white balance, shutter speed, fps, etc. Without a solid understanding of how those things work, you’re just spending money on an app from which you will not benefit. 

I would go so far as to say that apps such as ProShot are geared toward photographers (or those looking to dip their toes into getting more out of their phone’s hardware). If you just want to point and shoot and allow the phone to do all the work for you, then stick with the default.

Otherwise, ProShot is a brilliant choice.

The ProShot UI.

The ProShot UI is easy to understand… if you know what you’re looking at.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

There’s a lot to like about this app. Outside of being able to control the hardware settings, one of my favorite features is the one-finger zoom. With most camera apps you have to do the ol’ pinch in or out to zoom. With ProShot, you use one finger and swipe (slowly) up or down to zoom in or out. I can hold the phone with both hands and use my thumb to zoom in or out, all the while retaining a steady camera. This is great for video, when otherwise you’d zoom in with a pinch and the footage would become shaky. 

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In a similar fashion, changing a setting is usually a one-finger affair. For example, to change ISO, tap the current ISO setting and then tap the setting you want, which means you can keep your shot framed as you change the settings.

The manual ISO settings in ProShot.

Godzilla says, “Know your ISO!”

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Another feature I really appreciate is the manual focus. Although autofocus is incredibly accurate, sometimes it doesn’t always know what should have the focus in a shot and will bounce between subjects. With manual focus, you are in complete control and that can be a boon.

As far as the results are concerned, you can snap some stunning photos with ProShot. With just a bit of understanding, you can get considerably better shots with this app than with the default camera app on your phone. Even with the stellar Pixel 8 Pro AI, I was able to get better photos with ProShot than with the Google Camera app. 

Is this app for you?

This is an important question because if you don’t understand the basics of photography you’ll wind up spending the money and getting frustrated with the results. If, on the other hand, you do grasp the fundamentals, you will be able to get better results from this app. 

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To decide if the ProShot app is for you you need to ask yourself 1) Do you understand the basics of photography or, if not, 2) Are you willing to learn? If the answer to both of those questions is “no,” then don’t bother. However, if the answer to one or both of those questions is “yes,” trust me when I say you should go ahead with the purchase. I’ve tried many camera apps and this one has the best ratio of features to cost that you’ll find on the Google Play Store.

And the results speak for themselves.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a free version of ProShot (or a trial). However, as I mentioned earlier, there is the Evaluator, which you should install and allow it to evaluate your hardware, so you know if the app is a good fit. If your hardware is suitable for the app, make the purchase and snap some incredible photos.