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A Closer Look At: The Camera on the HTC One (M8)

April 10, 2014 - Written By Alexander Maxham

The camera on the new HTC One is arguably one of the most interesting parts of this new smartphone. We all know what to expect in terms of the build of the device, and the software. But with the camera being a 4-megapixel sensor, everyone was a bit disappointed, but you can do quite a bit with this camera and get some great images as well. While the camera is a 4-megapixel camera, it uses UltraPixels which are larger pixels, about twice as large as most sensors on smartphones these days. This allows for more light to come in and more detail as well. But the resolution is still quite small. However, for most people the resolution shouldn’t be an issue, since most people are posting on Instagram, Twitter, Google+, etc. I’ve been using the camera for about a week now and I’ve actually enjoyed it. I didn’t get much time with the M7, but I’ve heard that it had quite a bit of issues. Now the M8’s camera is pretty solid. So in this feature breakdown, we are going to go through every inch of the Camera and gallery apps on the HTC One M8. Let’s start with the camera

The Camera

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The camera app is probably the most well designed and user-friendly camera app on a smartphone right now. I’m not even joking. Some OEMs pack so much stuff into their camera that it’s a bit confusing trying to find a certain mode, or filter, or something else. HTC makes it all very easy to find. At the bottom of the screen you’ll find the menu where you can adjust the ISO, brightness, the white balance and more. There’s also the rest of the camera options like the cropping, face recognition, etc. Now underneath the shutter button, you’ll find the button which will show you how to jump into some of the other modes like the video camera, selfie camera, Zoe, Pano 360, and Dual Capture – which we first saw on the Galaxy S4 and it’s now on just about every phone. On the other side of the shutter button is your most recent shot, which will take you into the gallery.

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Pano 360

This is HTC’s implementation of Photosphere, which every OEM calls it something different. But out of all the implementations of Photosphere we’ve seen since it was launched in Android 4.2.2, I think HTC has implemented it the best into the camera app. It’s really easy to set it up and use, which is great, and I’ve never been good with Photospheres, but I think the HTC One (M8) has made mine look pretty good.

Zoe

By now, we should all know what Zoe’s are. HTC allows you to add all kinds of pictures into a short video, it even adds filters, and music in the background to it. They are typically about 30 seconds long, and I actually took the time to go ahead and use each of the 9 themes, and put them all into one video, which is shown above. So that you can see how great they look.

Selfie Camera

I really hate the name for the front-facing camera, but it is called the Selfie Camera and it is a 5-megapixel camera. A bit surprising since the back camera is a 4-megapixel shooter. But for a front facing camera, it takes some pretty good pictures. There’s not much else to say here.

Gallery

There’s a lot to talk about in the gallery here. When you first open it up, you’ll see all your albums. Which if you tap on one – we’ll say the camera album in this case – you’ll see a new page which shows a Zoe at the top that HTC auto-created for you with the shots you’ve taken. With the rest of them down below. So now if you jump into a picture, you can tap on edit and see all kinds of goodies that HTC has packed in.

Under effects, we have Ufocus, Foregrounder, Seasons, Dimenion Plus, Sticker, Copy & Paste, and Touch up. Now with Ufocus, you can change the focus point after you’ve taken the picture. Which will then give that blur effect which you see with DSLR cameras and high-end point and shoots. With foregrounder, you can change the background to be sketched in, blurred in, black and white or cartoonish. These are probably my most favorite features in the gallery app. Next is seasons, which you can choose Sakura, Dandelion, Maple Leaf or Snow. All of which will turn your picture into a short video. Now if you jump into Dimension Plus, it’ll give you a 3D effect, which you can tilt to see. Which is cool, but not all that useful. Then there’s the stickers. So you can add all kinds of stickers to your picture, but only one. There are bow-ties, hats, glasses, and much more available. You can also touch-up the picture, smooth out the skin of the faces in the picture, remove red eye, etc.

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Next up is filters, now they have plenty of them here including Muiro, Noirin, Jardina, Satura, and a few others. But what is the coolest here is that you can create your own filter. To create your own filter you can change the white balance, exposure, contrast, brightness and a few other levels as well. It’s actually pretty awesome. And you can save it for the future as well. We’ll have to do a separate tutorial on how to create your own filters.

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Then there’s Frames. So these just add a frame to your picture. We’ve got white, corners, wooden, airmail, grunge, montage and a  few others here. Although you can’t create your own. Then finally is the tools section. Where you can draw, rotate, crop, flip and straighten your picture.

You also have your share button, camera, and delete buttons. Which we don’t need to go over, I don’t think.

Final Thoughts

I must say that I am pretty impressed with the software for the camera here. It’s pretty good from a user standpoint, as well as the post processing. There’s so much you can do in the gallery app without even using another third-party app to edit photos like Snapseed or even Photoshop. Hopefully some people can get past the 4MP camera on the HTC One (M8) and actually see what it’s capable of.