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5 must-have lenses for the Windows Phone 8 photographer

Windows Phone 8's lenses are accessed from the native camera app.

The Windows 8 photographer can boost their capture creativity by looking in two places. Most editing apps, once downloaded, will live in the main menu alongside apps for productivity, news and whatever else you might be interested in.

Lenses, on the other hand, can be accessed from the Windows Phone 8 native camera application. When in the capture screen, users tap the arrow icon to view their lenses menu. While developers have yet to flood the Windows Store with options, we found a few lenses worth shooting with:

The ProShot lens allows for manual shutter and ISO controls.

1. ProShot; $1.99

For the old-school manual photographer looking for more control than found in the Windows Phone 8’s native capture tool, ProShot offers an alternative. The app lets photographers choose their shutter speed, ISO, white balance, focus and flash. 

For silly self shots in the style of Apple's OSX Photobooth app, CamWow has you covered (and colored.)

2. CamWow; Free

While serious apps are good for everyday shots, sometimes its nice to get a little crazy. CamWow provides several real-time filters to make your photos look out of this world. The effects range from X-ray to pop art and can be applied on both the front- and rear-facing camera. 

Pictures Lab adds retro, lo-fi effects to your photos.

3. Pictures Lab; $2.99

More of a photo editor than capture application, Pictures Lab applies customizable retro effects to images. Capture in Pictures Lab allows users to choose either tab to focus/capture or face detection focus.  After the image is taken, users then decide which filters they would like to apply. Each filter comes with its own customizable options like brightness and contrast control.

Microsoft's Blink lens lets you pick the best shot from a series.

4. Blink; Free

One of the first lenses available in the Windows Phone 8 Store, Microsoft's Blink lens is a great addition to your mobile photography collection. When you are ready to capture the action, Blink takes a series of photos and lets you pick the one that you want to keep. It's perfect for fleeting moments and fast-moving subjects.

The Refocus lens creates a Lytro-like effect for Windows Phone 8 devices.

5. Refocus; $0.99

One of the fastest moving trends in consumer photography is the Lytro effect. Post-capture focusing has found itself in everything from hardware rumors to iOS apps. In early May, the Refocus lens brought the effect to the Windows Phone 8 Store. The app is similar to FocusTwist for iOS but is half the price. It's great for indecisive mobile photographers who want to choose their focal point after snapping the photo.


Total comments: 3

I just discovered this post and wanted to share one of my top photography apps I stumbled across. It's called Camera360 and is free app that basically combines 1, 2, and 5 (though 1 still has a lot more manual control options).

The app seems to make my images a lot crisper than I normally get the default camera (htc 8x). The only downside is that after so many updates, there's a lengthy slideshow about the app you have to get through once.

I don't know how long it's been around. I found it back in April or May. I'm glad to see it's constantly being updated though and improved.


When I saw 'lenses' in the title, I thought the article would be about physical lenses that are stuck onto the side of a phone.

Glancing at the article, I thought it would be about software 'lenses' that emulate the fisheye effect or other similar things.

Item No. 1 isn't about any lens effect at all... Since it isn't a stand alone application, it seems to be a plug-in that is hosted by the native camera application..?

Item No. 1 sounds like a very useful thing whether it is an application, plug-in, or lens.

I am interested that these various things can all be called lenses. If I remember correctly, MicroSoft is the one that has decided to use the term 'lens' for add-ons or plug-ins...?

Edited 2 minutes after posting
Erin Lodi

Yes, "lenses" is a unique feature for Windows Phone operating system users. If you're not a Windows Phone user, this is certainly different terminology than you're used to, but it all makes sense on a Windows Phone, which is the only OS where you'll find these digital lenses.

1 upvote
Total comments: 3
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