The Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X have really good camera hardware, and for the first time the logic that processes the photos is also pretty darn awesome. There's no doubt that all this makes for the best camera to ever grace a Nexus phone, and (surprisingly) it also means your Nexus has one of the best cameras on any smartphone in 2015.
One place where things still need a little work for some of us is the app that drives the whole thing. The Google Camera app isn't bad — it's light, it's quick and it's included by default — but it can be lacking when you go looking for features.
Google Play has you covered.
Before we begin, let's talk a little bit about APIs and support of them. With Marshmallow, Google gave us a newer, and arguably better, Camera2 API. That means application developers might have to change a few things to support all the features, and to do things like make sure the picture isn't upside down.
It's not a huge deal, but it can make a difference. An app you might have loved and one that worked great on your previous phone can be a little buggy on your new Nexus. Some of these apps will be updated, and things will be peachy again. Others may not, and you'll need to find something new. I'm tracking a handful of camera apps on both the 6P and the 5X, and have some that are worth recommending.
This has been one of my favorite camera apps for a while. It was also one of the few apps that worked with the Nexus 6P at launch, though the new Camera2 API wasn't fully supported.
With Manual Camera, you get manual controls. The name fits, eh? You can control ISO, shutter speed, white balance and focus distance on your new Nexus (note that exposure control is not available on the Nexus 6P or the Nexus 5X) to take control of the way your photo will look. RAW file support is also featured, so you can use a photo editor to fix things after you tap that button.
The developer has been updating Manual Camera, but "officially" only the Lollipop Camera APIs are supported. Having said that, it covers my needs as-is.
A Better Camera
Recent updates have made A Better Camera one to try on your Nexus 6P or Nexus 5X.
Features like Night Mode, Time Lapse, video pausing and multi-shot are done really well, and other features like exposure bracketing and better metering modes mean you can get better pictures than you can with the Google Camera app.
With plenty of options, and an easy to use interface, A Better Camera is well worth trying. The free version is excellent, and the $3.99 pro version also features HDR+ video, "Smart" Multi-shot, High-res panoramas and a Super Sensor mode for even more control. And it's all open-source!
No camera app comparison can be complete without mentioning ProShot.
ProShot will get you trying things you've never tried before with your camera, because it has adjustments and settings for everything. Luckily it has an awesome — seriously, kudos to everyone involved for how this is done — full tutorial that shows you how everything works.
The features are insane. Manual, semi-manual or automatic control over the flash, ISO, focus, shutter speed and white balance are included, as is RAW file support. But that's just the beginning — there's a Light Paint mode, an on-screen histogram, support for custom aspect ratios, zero-lag bracketing, night and action scenes and more. If you want to do something with a smartphone camera, no matter what it is, ProShot can help you do it. You can even set a pseudo-shutter priority mode like a "real" camera.
And the pictures look great!
Your favorite camera app
This is just a sprinkling of apps that I think you should try if you love to take pictures with your Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P. There are probably other great apps that I just haven't tried yet!
This is where you can help. If you have a favorite camera or photography app that helps you take better pictures with your 5X or 6P, you need to share it. Jump into the comments and let us all know about it, so we can give it a whirl, too. I know I always love trying out new apps, and I'll bet plenty of others are the same way.
Community hugs and thanks in advance!