As someone who loves tinkering with his gadgets and tries to get the most out of them, i’ve always been somewhat disappointed with camera applications available for the android platform. Usually, they either cost money (Vignette), or are crappy anyway (Camera360), just adding some colorization filters to the functionality that is already provided by the stock Android camera.
The HTC camera applications that ship with their Sense UI are usually better than anything you’ll find in the Android market, sadly though, they rely on proprietary libraries shipped with Sense, which itself heavily modifies the Android UI system. Bottom line: unless you’re running a Sense ROM on your HTC Device, you simply can’t use the stock HTC Sense camera application.
As lots of people prefer a stable non-Sense (ha ha!) ROM such as Cyanogenmod on their device, running the HTC application is out of the question, and usually you’ll find a lot of people discontent with the stock Android camera app’s functionality. It lacks proper focusing modes (like tap to focus), the UI looks like it was written for the Gameboy and usually, you don’t find a lot of options to adapt the application’s behavior like shutter sounds.
A pretty nice Android camera application is the MIUI Camera. MIUI is an all-in-one ROM developed by a group of chinese developers that ships with customized look & feel and a lot of their own apps replacing the stock Android ones. The slight downside to this ROM is that localization hasn’t progressed to the point where you can just expect that the application will greet you with menus in your native language, the best you can hope for is english. Another point is that you can’t just download MIUI’s apps from the market, since the developers evidently want them used solely with the MIUI ROM.
Would be silly if that stopped us though, wouldn’t it?
Extraction and Implantation
Since there are no easily installable .apk files available for this application, we’ll have to install MIUI Camera manually. This requires a rooted phone as well as a file manager application that is capable of accessing and altering the file’s internal memory partition. I can recommend Root Explorer.
The MIUI Camera application ships with the MIUI ROM, so that’s where to get it. English MIUI ROM files tend to get announced in the xda-developers forums (this contains the link to a current HTC DHD ROM thread). Since it’s a bit of overkill to download the entire ROM (65MiB) for just the small application, i have extracted the current (ROM version 1.4.22 v2) system .apk and uploaded it:
MiuiCamera.apk (412KiB) on Multiupload
Now let’s get going. Get the .apk onto your SD card and unmount it from your computer so it can be accessed by the phone.
Open up Root Explorer and navigate to /sdcard.
Long-press the MiuiCamera.apk entry and select “Move”.
Use the back-button to navigate to the root directory and then go to /system/app.
Use the button in the top right corner to re-mount your system partition to read+write (“Mount R/W”).
Hit the button in the bottom saying paste. This should move the MiuiCamera.apk file to the internal application storage.
Long-press the MiuiCamera.apk file and select Permissions. They’ll need to be rw-r–r–, meaning you’ll have to select Read for User/Group/Others as well as Write for User and deselect everything else.
Re-mount as read only (“Mount R/O”).
Possible (or probable) fallacies
The apk listed above is taken from the HTC Desire HD version of the MIUI ROM, meaning it may not work with other devices quite as flawlessly. If indeed it does not, and you still want to give the application a try, find your device’s forums on xda-developers and look out for a MIUI ROM thread containing a download link. You’ll find the .apk in the “flashable” ROM zip file under system/app/MiuiCamera.apk. As soon as you have that file, the above process should lead you to a desirable result.