HTC One M8 Gets a Camera Improvement Courtesy of the Community

The HTC One M8 is HTC metal flagship from earlier this year, and has garnered much love and attention from smartphone enthusiasts since launch.  One of the focal points of every review, every remark, every 'ooh' moment regarding the M8 is the camera.  Mostly it's the fact that it isn't exactly stellar, especially for a 2014, top-tier and top-cost smartphone.  But the Android community, specifically those with a little extra time and know-how, are best at not only loving Android, but also helping to fix and modify some of the shortcomings and fallings-short of their favorite devices.  The M8's camera is one of those points of interest.

XDA Developers' community has pushed out many useful, helpful, and genius modifications and fixes, and the HTC One M8 modification by use Jishnu Sur.  The camera mod is on version 2 at the time of publication, and further support may come when something glaring needs to be fixed.  Ready to hear what it actually changes, and not the 'it fixes everything in little ways that you won't notice except in the end product' spiel?  Let's see.

The camera mod, as of version 1, added the 'tap to shoot' feature, replacing the 'tap to focus' of the stock application.  It modified the profiles for capturing media so that the end-result audio quality would be higher.  The LPEG quality was changed to be 95 (high quality pictures).  The bitrate (the speed of video-captured data while playing back) was changed from HTC stock (1080p at 20Mbps and 720p at 14 Mbps) to a very nice custom (1080p at 25-40.5 Mbps, which varies based on light conditions, and 720p at 20-36 Mbps, also varying for lighting conditions).  The bitrate for the sound of captured media was also increased from stock (156 kbps) to a higher custom (192 kbps).  Also, Sur was able to improve the color reproduction of all the auto, manual, and HDR modes and their outputs.  Sound pretty great already?  Yeah, Sur got the application to be even better with version 2, whose improvements are coming next, but I would go get that mod after reading that just for the sake of color reproduction, especially if you use your M8 for more than selfies and Instagram food-shots.

Version 2 adds even more goodies to the already greatly improved camera.  The video bitrate (the Constant BitRate/CBR) was set to 35 Mbps.  Sur added an 'Action' scene for the camera, likely making the shutter super quick, but that is coming in a minute.  He also added the usability of the flash for burst mode (as well as self timer in that one), EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) mode, night mode, and for panoramas.  He also added self timer support for the panorama mode, as well as removing the resolution limit from the mode.  The shutter speeds, as mentioned previously, were also extended to a speed of 1/9000 and a slowness of 1/100.  The 1/9000 is for ultra fast captures and the 1/100 is for super fast shutter even in a pitch black lighting situation, according to Sur's changelog for version 2.

Interested yet?  I certainly am, and I don't even have a HTC One M8.  If you have the phone and the need and desire to improve the camera markedly and noticeably, then read this last requirement: root.  Yes, since this app does replace a system app, you'll need root permission and a custom recovery to install (flash) this mod to your device.  So if you have the skills and file to do so, go ahead and flash away and let us know how the improvements are working for you.  If you don't exactly know what you're doing with root, continue on reading, or value your warranty and step away.  If you have a rooted M8 and a custom recovery, download the file, get into recovery, 'install zip', then find select and okay the install, then reboot and enjoy the better camera.  Either way, or any in between, the M8 has a unique shooting experience, and can fit many needs, but with Jishnu Sur's modification, it can fit even more.

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About the Author

Phil Bourget

Staff Writer
Using Android since 2012 and the Galaxy S III, I'm now running a Nexus 5 paired to a Moto 360 to keep updated on the Internet of stuff. Usually found on Google+ or in class.