HTC One M8’s Duo Camera Gets a Breakdown, Detailed Explanation of Features

March 27, 2014 - Written By Nick Sutrich

When HTC announced the new HTC One M8 the other day, it amazed everyone with not only the improved build quality of the phone, but the polish of the software included.  Nearly every aspect of the hardware was supercharged too, from the Snapdragon 801 to the screen improvements that were made, but there was one thing that was seemingly ignored in the upgrade schedule: the 4MP Ultrapixel camera.  It’s the same low resolution as last year’s HTC One, and it disappointed many people because of the sheer lack of pixels coming out of the camera.  One thing was changed though, and that was the addition of a secondary camera just above the Ultrapixel camera on the back of the phone, which led to lots of speculation as to what the thing actually did.  More over many wondered how many megapixels that camera was and just how it worked.  Thankfully Anand Shimpi from Anandtech has broken down the technical details here and even given us a great demonstration of the abilities of the Duo camera and how it enhances photos going forward.

First off let’s look at the sensors, all of which have actually been changed from last year’s HTC One M7 to this year’s HTC One M8.  The Ultrapixel camera was switched out from ST Electronics’ VD6869 sensor to the OmniVision OV4688, both of which feature the same 2 micron pixels and a 1/3″ sensor size.  It’s difficult to tell exactly what’s been upgraded in this switch, but that’s something that’ll need to be determined over time.  The Duo camera on the back is actually the same camera from the front of last year’s HTC One M7, and is a 2.1MP OmniVision OV2722 sensor with 1.4 micron pixels and a 1/5.8″ sensor size as well as a wide angle lens.  Images captured with the Duo camera are actually 60% larger than the same Ultrapixel images from the One M7, and that’s because the Duo camera captures both an image and depth information.  Depth information takes up 60% of that additional file size, while the 2.1MP image itself is around 40%.  What this depth information does is let you add professional-looking effects with ease, and helps the camera quickly and accurately separate the foreground from the background.

The sample shots taken by Anand are impressive to say the least.  While they lack the resolution needed to make large prints, they will look great as 4×6’s and on all the social networking sites.  The HTC One M8 was made for these sorts of shots, and it’s really obvious when you look at just what the software does and how it works.  The shots above were made with the UFocus feature, which separates the foreground and background and applies a bokeh-style blur filter to the background, enhancing the overall image and seemingly erasing any problems with the original photo.  While the UFocus depth cannot be adjusted like a Lytro camera can, it does allow you to select a focus point and adds significant enhancements to an otherwise ordinary-looking photo.

Foregrounder is another use of the Duo Camera that applies effects to a scene in a way not yet seen before.  You choose a focus point much like in UFocus, but this time it doesn’t blur anything out, rather applies an effect to the rest of the picture in question.  Sketch and Cartoon are two of the options available, and they make this scene look better than your ordinary cartoon camera would by using the Duo Camera’s depth information.  Hit up the source link for further breakdown, including videos of the seasons effect and picture samples using parallax effects, stickers and more.