It’s Day 5 of my 30 Day Challenge with the new HTC One (M8), and for the past few days I’ve been using the camera like crazy trying to gauge exactly where I stand when it comes to the 4-megapixel “UltraPixel” camera. Although I was a pretty big fan of it on the original HTC One, it’s still one of the most controversial aspects of the phone, so I’ve decided to do a little more thorough research by using the camera and taking different pictures in various situations and comparisons.
The camera itself is pretty complex, but easy to learn. You can swipe right or left to switch bettwen front and rear-facing cameras, and there are a few menu options along the bottom (or right side if in landscape mode) of the screen like the camera button, shooting mode (like Panorama, Zoe, Selfie, etc. modes), video recording, timer, and gallery. There is also a three-button menu with more options like effects mode, flash, and more. The camera is saturated with options from the get-go, which I find to be a good thing.
But let’s take a look at some of the pictures the phone actually produces, shall we?
Photos taken outside generally turn out pretty good, in my opinion. The very first photo that I took with the M8 was on a plane I was taking to Cincinnati, which I think turned out very well.
However, the way a photo looks on the significantly smaller screen of a phone compared to a computer can make all the difference. I uploaded the photo to my computer, and I did notice that it didn’t look as bright or sharp as it did on my phone, but that’s a given. Overall, though, the quality of the photo was still decent; the photo’s resolution is initially 2688x1520, but when you resize it to a more standard size (I did 1061x600) the photo still looks bright, crisp, and clear. That photo was taken without any special shooting modes, zooming, or adjustments made to it. That’s what photos a la mode look like on the HTC One (M8).
Zooming is where we start to get into the scary bits of the M8’s camera, which is where the whole 4-megapixel thing plays a major role - or does it? For this segment, I took photos of a far off dandelion pair from my balcony using both the M8, which has the 4-megapixel UltraPixel camera, and my Moto X, which has a 10-megapixel, nothing special camera. Let’s see how they turned out:
And zoomed in:
Alright, so I’m no camera expert; the main difference I see here is that the Moto X seems to oversaturate the colors a bit. The HTC One M8 does a better job of capturing the true colors. As for the actual zooming test, it looks like the Moto X does manage to take marginally clearer photos than the One does, especially when it comes to the blades of grass surrounding the dandelions. As for the dandelions themselves, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell that they were actually dandelions unless you knew beforehand. They're both not great.
I also took a less intensive zoomed in image of some trees, just as a “bigger picture” example:
To make a long story short: If you’re looking for a camera with good zoom, the M8 (nor the Moto X) are going to be what you’re looking for.
Perhaps the One isn’t great for zooming in on photos, but that’s okay; indoor and low-lit situations are where the HTC One is really supposed to shine, so let’s see how that fared out! I took two photos of this Jones soda bottle in the kitchen. The first photo was with the kitchen light turned on, and the second was with the kitchen light turned off. You might be surprised to see which one turned out better:
The one where the light was on didn’t activate the auto flash, but when the light was off and I focused in on the bottle, the flash went off and produced a surprisingly clear image - one I wouldn’t have imagined would be produced under such dark conditions. This happened with a couple of other objects as well. I’m quite pleased with the HTC One’s low-light photo performance.
(As a side note, I was not pleased with the soda. 2/10, would not recommend.)
The front-facing camera on the original HTC One was pretty good at 2-megapixels, but the M8 takes it up three notches with a 5-megapixel camera. A selfie addict’s dream come true, the 5-megapixel camera on the HTC One is also pleasant to work with. Unfortunately, as a woman with ghostface syndrome it can be difficult to get the camera to work well with an abundance of natural light on my face, as seen here:
One word: "Boo."
It can take a bit of work to get the light to work with me, but even if the original photo doesn’t turn out that great, the One provides an abundance of editing options for your photos once you’re done. Tools, Frames, Filters, and Effects are all categories with an abundance of popular sub-categories (filters, crops, stickers, frames, touch ups and more) that make the M8’s editing program one of the better stock ones out there in my opinion. It’s very simple to work with, and makes me look a little less plague-ish in the end.
All in all, I think most aspects of the M8’s camera have their merits. The only thing that I really don’t like about the camera is the unclear zoomed-in images. Since that’s the only thing I really don’t like about the camera, though, I think that overall the phone’s camera quality is quite good. I enjoy using it, at least.
Of course, the camera is just one small part of a smartphone that does a whole lot more than just take pictures. I look forward to sharing more of my experiences with you guys on my 30 Day Challenge over the next 25 days!