ProShot, CameraPro or the native Windows Phone 8 camera. Which is better?

We've taken a look at two Windows Phone 8 camera apps, ProShot and CameraPro, that give you a decent amount of control over your Windows Phone 8 camera. ProShot has a little friendlier user interface but CameraPro has a few more features.

While both these apps can be appealing to those who are looking for more control over their Windows Phone, do they make a difference where the rubber meets the road? Is the image quality with these two apps better than what the native camera app can produce?

We loaded up CameraPro and ProShot on to the Nokia Lumia 920 to see how image quality shook out.

First we take a look at indoor photos.  Photos were taken from a tripod using indoor photo lamps at 75% power for consistent lighting. All three images were taken with the settings on Auto, at 7.99MP and 4:3 aspect ratio. All the photos yielded different shutter speeds but the same ISO of 100. The CameraPro image used a shutter speed of 1/170, the ProShot 1/250 and the native camera app used 1/200.

Indoor Photo Sample: ProShot, CameraPro, Lumia 920 (from left to right)

Image quality on all three was nice. Looking at the cropped portion of the test image I would have to give the sharpness edge to ProShot by a hair with the native app on the Lumia 920 coming in a close second and CameraPro being the softer of the images.

Cropped Indoor Samples from left to right: ProShot, CameraPro, Lumia 920

Outdoor shots, also taken from a tripod for consistency, yielded similar results. Again, each camera app was set to auto and choose ISO 100 but different shutter speeds.The ProShot image was taken at a shutter speed of 1/1/2300th, the CameraPro at 1/1250th and the Lumia 920 at 1/3200th.

Outdoor Photo Samples from left to right: ProShot, CameraPro, Lumia 920

The overall outdoor sample taken from all three was of decent quality. The CameraPro image was a tad overexposed but based on the crops, the sharper of the three. Having stared at these images for way too long it's hard to tell but I'm leaning towards giving the Lumia 920 better color tones.

Outdoor Samples Cropped from left to right: ProShot, CamerPro, Lumia 920

It was a little surprising to see CameraPro be the softer option indoors and the sharper option outdoors.  Not sure if it's the glare of the lights softening the image.  CameraPro did use the slower shutter speed and that may have produced a softening glare.  But then you have to ask why ProShot and the native app turned softer outdoors.  The saving grace in all of this is that the softness, exposure, and color balance on all these sample photos is not detrimental and can  be easily adjusted for. 

We did take a the camera out at night.  I'm not sure if it's possible but it looks like CameraPro and ProShot both tap into the Lumia 920's low light algorithms. The scene was lit by two building lights and an adjacent street light. All three images were taken with a tripod for consistency and all three apps were set on auto.  For the third time, all three choose the same ISO, 640, but different shutter speeds.  ProShot used a shutter speed of 1/7th, CameraPro used 1/5th and the native camera app on the Lumia 920 used 1/6th.

Night Samples from left to right: ProShot, CameraPro, Lumia 920

The full images look very comparable with the ProShot having slightly better exposure.  All three captured nice low light images and based on the crops, sharpness appears to be similar to what the indoor shots produced.  The ProShot appears to have a touch more sharpness than the Lumia 920 with the CameraPro being the softer of the three.

Night Samples Cropped from left to right: ProShot, CameraPro, Lumia 920

Just one quick note on these sample images is that the only editing done was to resize the images for publication.  If you are interested, the full sized, individual images can be downloaded here (opens in new tab) (just under 25MB).

Moving beyond image quality, the native Windows Phone camera app does a nice job but the settings are out of site. On the Lumia 920 we wouldn't mind seeing a settings bank similar to what we see on the Lumia 900 but it'll do.

Both CameraPro and ProShot provide a nice alternative to the native camera app for those who want more controls. Which is best? I see it as a coin toss. CameraPro has more features and controls while ProShot has the better user interface. Judging on image quality, all three captured nice images but the exposure and sharpness processing (at least indoors and at night) of the ProShot seems to have a slight edge.  However, if you're not into tweaking camera settings and prefer the camera do the heavy lifting the native app on your Windows Phone, be it on the Lumia 920 or HTC 8x, will do a very nice job of things as well.

While CameraPro lacks a trial version, ProShot does have a trial version that will let you explore the settings but won't let you save photos. You can find CameraPro here at the (opens in new tab) Windows Phone Store for $2.49. You can find ProShot here at the (opens in new tab) Windows Phone Store for $1.99.

QR: CameraPro

QR: ProShot

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • Seems like ProShot is the choice for me, but I wished CameraPro offered a trial version as well.
  • You can't zoom while using CameraPro, but you can in the native app. How about in ProShot?
  • I rarely use the digital zoom so I forgot to mention that... you can only zoom with the native camera app.
  • Exactly ! Which is?
  • Both of these,look nice, but I'm waiting for a Fhotoroom update.
  • Being able to launch from the camera dedicated button beats everything else.
    Good would be if Lenses allowed a predefined lense to be launched automatically when camera is launched. But for now 3+ taps to have the camera ready may cost you the moment pass...
  • 3 taps if the phone is unlocked, otherwise you'd also have to enter the password before being able to launch a lens :/
  • Proshot freezes on my Lumia 920 after the first image if set to auto. Other than that I like it. While proShot's UI is a lot more polished, too, the accessibility of the functions in camera pro is just perfect. I just wish it looked a tad... nicer! The grid lines are too fat, the buttons a bit ugly... I'm such an interface wh*&% :D
  • Yes, proshot also freezes on mine, but I am sure the developers are working hard on a fix, as well as additional features. Out of the three, proshot has the best looking interface, more "professional" looking (my humble opinion)
  • 8x users do not by camera pro until it is updated.
    Glad I bought ProShot a while back, always thought the picture was sharper.
  • For Hell. Camera pro doesen't work on HTC x8. Please test apps on both Nokia and Htc before you make any review,
  • Um... did not have any issues on the 8X.
  • Very nice review! And surprising. One would say that 3 apps using the same hardware would yield the same results. To see that software actually influences the hardward results is surprising and gives me second thoughts on how to interpret the quality of apps. So software and thus apps do matter. From now on I have a different view on how to use my apps using the camera function!
  • I am not sure if the different results above are really due to the apps. Slight AF and AE variations are expected from shot to shot even from one app, no? Some information on what's available for camera app developers would tell us a lot, I think. For example, does a 3rd party app have a control over AE and AF algorithms and the JPEG engine? I am guessing not.
    FWIW, I have all those apps and I haven't seen any meaningful difference in their output so far. They do provide different UI and access to additional controls which is nice and the real reason I bought them.
  • For fun you can mount a dedicated camera on a tripod, set to full manual controls, take two shots and then import into PhotoShop. Add each image to a layer and the do a difference blend.
  • It would be nice if someone also compares Nokia's camera extras app. i.e compare pics taken with those camera apps where you can select the best picture out of a bunch of pics. 
  • I believe it's not available for WP8 (yet?)...
  • Agree WPCentral how can you write a review without noting that some of these don't work on flagship phones?!
  • None?  At least on the L920.  I can't believe the L920 doesn't have a metering mode setting like the L900.  Does the 8X have a metering mode setting?  That's what I see the L920 suffering from the most, metering goes off right away because it looks like they use average metering instead of spot metering and images appear darker.
  • Oh... I agree... I really wish the 920 had the settings features the 900 has.  Not sure if it's a case where Nokia felt strong enough about the internal processes to scale things back or if there was some sorta conflict that prevent things.
  • Yes, it seems like the 920 is stuck with average metering. I hate average metering! But I still like the phone.
  • How do you know it's averaging? Me thinks you are just guessing. Most cameras use matrix metering by default these days. It's considered the best in most point and shoot scenarios. But there is an app that let you spot meter. I forgot which one.
    In any case, I find the default metering to be very good on the 920. In fact, it's more reliable than my Nikon D7000 which tends to overexpose by 2/3 to 1 stop.
  • That was a guess. It could be matrix but I know it's not spot. I tried an app that appeared to allow a meter point to be set but it didn't seem to actually do anything on my 920. I just about always center weight or spot when using an SLR but I can use skill in picking points of exposure that way.
  • Haha, i bought 4 plugin and grabbed 5 free ones without second thoughts, including CameraPro and Proshot - the more choices of lenses the better. 
  • I'm more than happy with the native.
  • Camera Pro crash at start up. So nothing to test or see.
  • Yes it does crash BUT... If I tap the screen to take a pic there is zero softness on my 920! The pics do look great and I'm happy the softness issue can be fixed.
  • Did you really make the third images(in every test) on Lumia 920? My lumia makes blurry images everywhere, it's a lot worse than my old lumia 900. I heard that nokia will fix this bug but in future. Or you guys already have this fix on your phones?
  • where are you from? both my lumia 920 don't have blurry images
  • I'm from Russia and on our forums( almost everyone with Lumia 920 have blurry(like slightly unfocused) images. I read that Nokia will fix this in future update, Portico, hope this is right, because one of the main reasons I got this phone is its cool camera!
  • Did you get the updated firmware yet? Much better on the new firmware.
  • I use the native camera. Just take your picture with the right scene. Edit with integrated Creative Studio. Pick  your filter of choice and ad a little sharpness. Done. perfect pictures. 
  • Hi, i purchased both apps, and i like ProShot over CameraPro. Btw, i'm just wondering how to use the manual focus override? Can someone explain, please? Thank you :)
  • Left is native, right with filter and a bit of sharpening.
  • Does OIS on the Lumia 920 work on the 2 apps?
  • good question, I am expecting the answer too
  • I wish there was a version of Camera+ for WP8, the iOS version was fantastic a couple years back when I had an iPhone.