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Filters

The built-in camera app on the HTC One X stands out not only for the sheer number of image filters available, but also for the high degree of user customization that is permitted. These filter combinations, dubbed 'Effects' by HTC, can be grouped into two broad categories: those you can apply before taking a shot and those that are used to process post-capture variants of the original image.

The One X has 15 separate Effects filters that can be applied before you shoot an image. You access them by tapping the blue Effects icon next to the shutter button.

The pre-capture Effects are underwhelming to be honest, largely comprising updated versions of effects that have existed in HTC phones at least as far back as 2010. Even more crucially though, these Effects cannot be undone once you press the shutter button. Unlike Instagram, which saves your unaltered original alongside the processed version, choosing a pre-capture Effect on the One X means you're stuck with your choice forever. So if you want to 'un-fisheye' that photo of your dog at a later date, you're out of luck. 

The Effects available after you're taken the picture (demonstrated below) are far more useful. Not least because of the flexibility they provide.

These Effects are simply pre-built combinations of individual filter settings. And you can access and modify these filters directly to create and save your own customized presets.

In the Gallery app, simply tap the image to reveal the Edit menu and choose the Effects option.

 You can begin with a favorite stock Effect and modify its individual filters or start from scratch.

With an Effect selected, tap the Edit button in the upper right.
A list of the filters that make up the Effect are displayed in a column on the left.
You can adjust sliders for an existing filter and/or add any of the app's additional filters.
You also have the option to add a frame around your image.

You can stack as many filters as you like to create a customized Effect preset which is saved alongside the built-in ones, making it easy to apply to additional images. The filter adjustments are surprisingly robust, if a bit fiddly to manipulate due to the tiny slider. If you've got the time to spare though, you can certainly produce results more pleasing than those of the stock Effects.

Face detection and Auto smile capture

The One X offers a face detection feature, accessible from the Camera options sub-menu, in which the camera prioritizes faces when setting focus and exposure. In addition, you have the option of enabling Auto smile capture. When active, the camera will shoot an image automatically when your subject smiles. All you have to do is hold the camera (or place it on a support for a self-portrait).

Face detection and Auto smile capture can be enabled in the Camera options sub-menu of the Settings menu.
With both features enabled, a white box indicates the camera has detected a face and the camera will take a picture as soon as the subject smiles.

While you may well want to leave face detection on for a day of shooting, the prospect of your camera  taking pictures on its own without your consent is obviously less welcome. HTC's method of handling this is at best, confusing. When you switch apps, Auto smile capture is disabled when you return to the camera app, which is sensible enough, although it means the common act of reviewing your image (via the Gallery app) forces you to turn the feature back on again. Yet if you put the phone to sleep via the Power button while still in the camera app, Auto smile capture will be on the next time you wake your phone and could potentially take a picture without you or your subject's knowledge. We'd much prefer that this feature be disabled any time the phone goes to sleep.

Digital zoom

While the One X has a fixed focal length 28mm equivalent lens, the camera does offer a digital zoom. As you can see below, however, image quality deteriorates noticeably when the camera upsamples the image.

The scene as shot with no zoom.
From the same location the maximum zoom setting was used.
100% crop
100% crop

While the zoomed image displays prominent artifacts and edge halos, keep in mind we are viewing the crops here at 100%; something most users will have little cause to do. At smaller, and more typical viewing magnifications these artifacts are less noticeable. So if you'll be sharing lower resolution versions of your images, digital zoom can be a usable, though compromised option.

Comments

Total comments: 76
Lng0004

You need to learn how to better hold a smartphone in landscape mode.

Something like this.
http://www.wix.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/2.-Hold-the-Smartphone-like-a-Camera.jpg

The placement of the buttons and on-screen shutter are fine.

2 upvotes
Amadou Diallo

On cameras with the lens positioned as on the HTC, the grip in the example you linked to is a great way to get your finger in the picture.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Sasparilla

One other thing that should be mentioned is the downside of the Camera lens being located on the very end of the Camera bump on the back of the phone (its not recessed). When you set the phone down it rests on this lens (which most users believe is made from plastic, not glass, because of how easily and quickly it scratches). This is not durable.

Look through user reviews of the One X and you'll find example after example of people complaining about how quickly the lens scratches, affecting their photo's, even though they're careful with their phones. This makes sense since the phone rests right on the lens when you set it down.

This probably deserves to be flagged in the review because of how likely it is to get scratched and compromise the phone's photographic capabilities. JMHO...

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Ryan Williams

I agree. I had a One X and this immediately stood out as a huge design flaw. They could have made the metal around the lens protrude just a touch further out to protect it.

0 upvotes
photosen

Interesting, but the more I use / suffer my android phone's camera and read these reviews, the more I appreciate my DSLR!

0 upvotes
HubertChen

I am a DSLR shooter and I am curiously asking my fellow colleagues: Are you also getting the urge to retire the Point-and-Shoot Camera and the Mobile Phone from the camera bag and replace it with a 5" phone such as this one. Despite slimming down the bag ( which is always a good thing ) we would gain a larger and higher resolving camera display. ( Put an EyeFi SD card into your camera and pair your mobile to constantly receive images while shooting ). Maybe if enough of you like this post we can hope for an Article on this matter ?
To the never ending flood of posters " I would never use a phone to shoot pictures / any Point-and-Ahoot is so much better ..." please consider this before you post: Above scenario is not replace Point-and-Shoot with mobile. If I need quality, I have my DSLR. But if I want unobtrusive, the mobile works better than Point-and-Shoot. And for happy snapping or documentation purpose this's mobiles quality is good enough!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
HubertChen

Dear connect team,
Very useful review and extremely well put together. Congratulations and thanks. I only have one gripe. Several posters commented that all severe shortcomings you listed can be fixed with installing apps. I hope you will consider for the future:
1) Not all dpreview readers on connect are Android nerds and know what you skipped. e.g.: I know DSLR photography intimately. I have an Android phone, but I use it to make phone calls. I have never installed an App in my life. It does not mean I will never do, it means I need a reason to do so. If this' phones significant shortcomings could be fixed with installing apps then this is most important information to me, which you skipped!
2) Connect has never written a generic Article what Android Apps can do for photography. Once written you might refer to it.
3) Reading your Articles, it seems iOS is more capable for photography, reading reader's comments, seems Android Apps are better. Care to make this congruent?

0 upvotes
Najinsky

You can't be serious. The studio comparisons is unusable on the iPad. This is your mobile site, don't you think making it usable on mobile devices would be an important key feature?

Big shame as the review seems well put together.

0 upvotes
HubertChen

Dear Najinsky,
Thanks for your post. I tried to understand your problem and looked very closely. So far I found the studio comparison extremely usable and very revealing and the Nokia Pureview 808 shows that a mobile can produce impressive results under these conditions. Using the same scene for DSLR and Mobile allows me to compare the Studio Comparison pictures shot with same model as my DSLR and compare it with the mobile which gives me an excellent idea of what this phone can do in terms of image quality. Could you be more specific as to why the scene is unusable for the iPad? Or did you meant iPhone and then did you meant that the iPhone does not look too good compared to the Nokia ?

1 upvote
Najinsky

Hubert, when the test scene is displayed, a small area is selected that lets you see the 100% crop for each of the cameras being compared. On the iPad, this square can not be moved to examine different parts of the scene. When the scene is touched to select a different area, it does detect the touch and moves the square, but only to the bottom of the scene, not to the area touched.

0 upvotes
HubertChen

Hi Najinsky, thanks for your reply.
1) I want to confirm you talk about the comparison on the following pages:
http://connect.dpreview.com/post/6087954753/htc-one-x-review?page=6
[ Range of pages from page=6 .... page=9 ]
2) I have tried to reproduce your problem. On every page I was able to move the position of the crop rectangle. On every page I could move it using 5 methods: 1) by dragging the cropping frame in the big picture or 2...5) by dragging the cropped image for each of the 4 phones. In all 4 x 5 = 20 instances it worked.
3) Are we talking about the same thing here ? If so, I can confirm you that on my system it works.
4) You may try the following: a) Relaunch the Browser and reload the page. b) If no good, reboot c) If no good, try a different browser, d) if no good, try a different computer.
5) My configuration for your references: ( OS: Win 7-64 | Browser: Chrome )
6) This comparison does not contain an iPad but: ( HTC One X | iPhone 5 | Nokia 808 | Galaxy SIII ).

0 upvotes
HubertChen

Dear Najinsky,
please let us know your results and good luck for finding the problem :-)
Hubert

0 upvotes
Fire Dragon

Hi Hubert,
I think what Najinsky is trying to say is that he tries to use the studio comparison tool from his iPad, using iPad's Safari browser....

0 upvotes
HubertChen

Dear Fire Dragon,
Ahh! Thanks for clearing this up. Boy do I look stupid now.
Dear Najinsky,
My apologies for misunderstanding your post and clutter you with my response.

0 upvotes
HubertChen

Dear Fire Dragon,
After some more thinking I owe you more thanks. I never considered that nowadays when building a website one not only have to test on various OS with various browser but additionally have to include touch pads as well. This was completely not on my radar screen. Thanks so much you took the time for straighten me out! I appreciated that very much! ( And I will get a touch pad now ).

Comment edited 49 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
JoeR

I would definately not consider a smart phone based on the camera features alone so these reviews are not that interesting to me. There are better reviews available that evaluate the whole phone.

I own a Samsung smart phone which is very useful for all sorts of things, but I rarely use it to take images. I suspect that this will change in time as the phones become more sophisticated.

I will be upgrading at the end of the year and am currently researching the options. I am not brand loyal except for Apple (brand reject) which I defniately will never buy.

1 upvote
Ryan Williams

Seems like a website dedicated to mobile photography isn't really for you, then. ;)

Those of us who do use our phones to take lots of photos are delighted to have articles that go beyond a quick layman glance at the photography features like most phone reviews. That is, indeed, the whole point of this site — for mobile photographers that want that little bit more.

It's true that most — but not all — camera phones are inferior to even entry-level compacts, but that doesn't mean they're all the same. During the past two years there's been a huge shift forward in mobile camera quality and there is most definitely variation in image quality and features.

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Lng0004

Whoops...

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
itsastickup

I wouldn't want to go near this unless I knew that HTC had mended its poor battery life ways. My brother deeply regretted getting the HTC Desire for this reason.

1 upvote
EDWARD ARTISTE

this is the truth. HTC are idiots. they will make the greatest phone is the world, but wont ever bother to mention nor sort out the horrendous battery life.

Ive been htc exclusive since winmobile 7. sheesh.

0 upvotes
Music Hands

Nonsense ... I've had the HTC One X for several months, heavily use it every day - and never have to recharge during the day.

2 upvotes
Bruce Clarke

Yes, mine easily does a whole day, and with light use, usually lasts for 2 days. It's also been improved by the recent update.

1 upvote
Cobber55

Turning off syncing and other unnecessary things will improve battery life considerably. I have had a HTC Desire for two years now and it still gives me over 24 hours and up to two days battery life between charges. Just do a search for 'Improving HTC battery life". With factory defaults the battery life is probably less than a day.

0 upvotes
Jostian

yip, I easily get 2 days, obviously hard gaming will nail battery but I watched movie (prometheus which is 2 hrs long and it used 20% battery, typical battery life is 35 to 45 hours.

0 upvotes
Lng0004

@Edward: Most users know how bad the One X's battery life is. Smart users know how to set up their One X to get the best battery life.

0 upvotes
Bruce McL

Many of the items in "The Bad" category can be fixed with a different camera app. There are lots of HDR and Panorama apps out there. There must be at least one camera app that displays the shutter speed. Some apps will even allow assigning one of the volume buttons as a shutter button.

How about mentioning some of these alternatives in the review? Certainly many readers will try other apps if they buy this phone.

3 upvotes
Amadou Diallo

You're right about apps providing additional capabilities, but if we included them, we'd essentially be reviewing Android, not the specific phone. We have and will continue to provide articles on photo apps that enhance the shooting experience.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
EDWARD ARTISTE

Honestly, take a look at the alternatives- ts generally beat down versions of ios apps.

0 upvotes
Mike Walters

If you really want to know the shutter speed buy a camera.....

1 upvote
HubertChen

Dear Bruce,
Thanks so much for this information. Really useful and relevant. Without your input this phone had dropped from my list of candidates, now you moved it back into the top 3.

Dear Amadou,
I can see where you are coming from and I agree that these fixes would be generic knowledge to the Android Universe and thus would apply to all Android phones. But ( and this is a big but ) have you considered that:
1) Not all dpreview readers on connect are Android nerds and know what you skipped. e.g.: I know DSLR photography intimately. I have an Android phone, but I use it to make phone calls. I have never installed an App in my life. It does not mean I will never do, it means I need a reason to do so. If ( even all ) of this' phones significant shortcomings could be fixed with installing apps then this is most important information to me, which you skipped!
2) Connect has never written a generic Article what Android Apps can do for photography. Once written you might refer to it.

0 upvotes
Joe Ogiba

I would wait for the new 5" HTC J Butterfly phone with 1080p display or 440dpi. It has 1.5Ghz Quad Core, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal , Micro SD slot, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and is coming to Verizon soon.

http://www.bgr.com/2012/10/17/htcs-j-butterfly-specs-1080p/

0 upvotes
Jostian

Only to Japan though, for the moment...

0 upvotes
EDWARD ARTISTE

Dont forget 6 hours of battery life. All wasted.

0 upvotes
Jostian

6 hours... mmm definitely not dunno what hTC u r using but my HTC One X gives me 35 to 45 hours of use...

0 upvotes
AnandaSim

Q: Is the oversharpening native to the camera API or just to the native camera app? If I use a different camera app does it bypass the sharpening?

Q: The native camera app has several settings for sharpening. If I push the slider to minimal sharpness does that mean I back off sharpening?

The link to "guide to Android operating system" is broken

0 upvotes
Jostian

oversharpening can easily be tuned down by adjusting the sharpening level in the app. best news of all is that there is a superb camera mod for the One X which allows the saving of photos without any compression, pics are just brilliant, see here http://www.flickr.com/photos/jostian/ (the low light blue chairs has great detail even in the poor light, but no oversharpening etc.) photos look great I think.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Lilianna

what is the name of the app or mod?

0 upvotes
HubertChen

Jostian,
Very interesting. Are you saying you can save RAW ? Or better JPEG & RAW, or better JPEG and DNG ? Any more information on this ?

0 upvotes
Jostian

Hi, one can just adjust the compression level, so 100% = no compression, unfortunately not RAW, see link for info http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1925013

0 upvotes
PAUL TILL

You can have a shutter button if you install a custom ROM, I use the power button on my Galaxy Note, which by the way is a much better phone/camera than the One X.

0 upvotes
Jostian

you are entitled to your opinion i guess but the 'plasticky' feel of the note just makes it feel and look cheap. Trolling I suspect but I'll bite...

0 upvotes
PAUL TILL

Well it's been dropped many times and still is unmarked. Have you broken the screen on yours yet? I had one for two days before the screen cracked falling off the sofa!

Oh and good luck changing the battery at the end of the year.

http://imageshack.us/a/img18/1156/screenshot2012082621162.png

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Jostian

dropped twice too, no problem, dunno about yr note but I wont need to change the battery after a year, have an old HTC sensation which is 3 yrs old and battery still fine too... enjoy the Note its a great device.

1 upvote
zadamz

Wow, 3 years old HTC Sensation. That's quite unbelievable given HTC Sensation was announced less than 1 and half year ago! :D

1 upvote
EDWARD ARTISTE

no dude, its not.

0 upvotes
Jostian

apologies, Desire not Sensation

0 upvotes
papablues

I liked it for 3 weeks when the screen broke on me (started flickering) in the middle of using it (no, I didn't drop it or anything, it just started flickering). So quality control at HTC might not be perfect.

1 upvote
jramskov

You forget one thing in your review: The front element of the lens is plastic and scratches easily :(

1 upvote
Bruce Clarke

Yes, that's my main worry. I look after mine, but still getting marks on it already. At least with my Desire I could buy a new back with lens cover.

0 upvotes
jramskov

I think it's a big mistake to do, especially on a high end model.

1 upvote
Lilianna

i have several high end phones and all of them live in Otterbox or other gel cases. All have the back set up such a way as to recess the lens window, providing extra protection.

0 upvotes
jramskov

Lilianna: That shouldn't be neccesary.

0 upvotes
Lng0004

Why shouldn't it be necessary? Do you buy a camera and expect the lens to be protected without a lens cap? If you're obsessed with protecting the front element, just buy some film protector and cut it to fit. Easy fix.

I'd also like to hear your proposed solution.

0 upvotes
Jostian

detail in the low light shot and portrait shot is excellent and easily betters the SIII and iPhone 5, I'm impressed by the detail it captures, yes 808 is easily the best but from the pics shown in the review and the comparisons the HTC comes in second IMHO.

0 upvotes
Lilianna

the One does do superb low light, my One S has the same camera.
The 808 is indeed the King of phonecams!
Sadly my 808 has the losing network connection malady and is soon to be on its way to Nokia USA :(

0 upvotes
Jostian

just dunno why they gave the 808 such a low res screen, even lower res than 3 yr old N8 (which I have in the drawer, great camera)... nokia, always getting things half right!

0 upvotes
grafli

In my oppinion the HTC one X is THE best camera phone, after the Nokia 808!
I had one, but the battery was shitty.

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Henrik Herranen

One sincere question to DPreview:
why is sensor size not in your "Key Specifications" list on page 1? From a theoretical, and also from practical standpoint that is the one single number (or pair of numbers (X*Ymm)) that sets an upper limit for image quality, and in my opinion even more interesting than how many megapixels the sensor has.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
wetsleet

but why would you even need to know that, when the purpose of the review is to distill the actual IQ? Surely knowing the actual IQ is far more useful information that knowing some parameter which itself is not even a measure of IQ, but only bears on theoretical IQ.

Comment edited 58 seconds after posting
1 upvote
zadamz

Measuring IQ is quite subjective and takes some time to do it yourself. Sensor size is quite useful to quickly guess image quality.

It's also interesting how IQ/sensor size compares between different cameras.

2 upvotes
HubertChen

Dear wetsleet: Well put!
Dear zadamz: The whole point of studio comparison shots is to remove the subjectivity from comparison of quality. I would say they did a pretty good job!

0 upvotes
jadrzew

A DSLR it is not and it was not meant to be. Very good camera for everyday snapshots although I hold the phone differently than the person testing it here (upside down) and use my right hand fingers to trigger shots which gives me a slightly better location of the screen buttons. That's perhaps because I am totally right handed. It took some getting used to, it now feels very comfortable though.
Camera aside a very good phone with great screen.

1 upvote
vision63

Sprint's HTC 4G LTE is a One X variant with a "physical" shutter button and a Micro SD slot added. I use the camera all the time and love it. You should have included it.

0 upvotes
M Lammerse

I own the one X, it's a wonderful phone but I hardly use it as a camera. I use it mostly as a phone and I use my camera's for my photography. Guess i'm a bit old fashioned. There is one thing I don't like of the One X and that is the battery power. I have to recharge my phone on a daily basis, that is with about an 40 min. 1 hour calling a day, a little bit of internet/whatsapp/Twitter/Facebook (about 1 to 2 hours a day in total) Already on stand by the phone is an electricity junkie (have to say that all my connection options are on wifi/bluetooth etc.)

I relation to photography I think that the Sony Xperia S delivers better options. I've seen a few images of my colleague who has a Sony Experia S and also operational wise it's more aimed at image taking than the One X

Comment edited 51 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Benarm

HTC One X+ (Jelly Bean) was recently announced and shipping soon.

1 upvote
Cobber55

The lack of a physical shutter button is a deal killer for me. What a pity as I like my old HTC Desire and would have preferred to keep with HTC for my next phone. Usable camera features, such as a shutter button, are top of my list of requirements.

2 upvotes
HubertChen

See posts above. There are several posters hinting that you can use other buttons such as power or volume buttons after re-purposing them through an app.

1 upvote
Cobber55

Thanks HubertChen, after some time, when it actually came down to the wire I went with the slightly newer HTC One X+. When using it in comparison to a Sony Xperia T the HTC was just the better choice for me. I take back what I wrote a month ago.

1 upvote
Fellwalker

Well. I am amazed that the "Conclusion - the bad" did not include a comment about the ridiculously wide angle of the lens. 28mm is very wide angle. When I started in photography, I was taught that 50-55mm is a good all round lens, and I loved the 58mm on my Zenit-E. A decent wide angle was around 30mm and by the time you hit 24mm you were talking fish-eye.

To me, 28mm is too wide for a standard lens with no zoom. Now if they even had a 2x optical zoom, I would be happy.

The camera aspect of the phone seems to be aimed at indoor party shooters, or holding it at arms length to take a self portrait with that couple you met on holiday in that great bar just down the street from the hotel.

0 upvotes
Henrik Herranen

"A decent wide angle was around 30mm and by the time you hit 24mm you were talking fish-eye."

Than, I'm afraid, you were talking wrong. A fish-eye is a fish-eye, and a rectilinear lens is a rectilinear lens. Nothing directly to do with focal length. E.g. Canon has a 14 mm rectilinear lens, and until recently had a 15 mm fish-eye in its EF portfolio.

2 upvotes
HubertChen

Dear Fellwalker,
28 mm is moderately wide and still can feel like a "normal" lens to you once you shoot with it for a few days. Please note that mobile phones would be mostly used for social photography and believe me, 28 mm is way more useful. It means if you sit a the table on a birthday party, with 50 mm you get the cake and the birthday kid. With 28 mm you get the cake, the birthday kid and friends.

1 upvote
Lng0004

28mm is ridiculously wide? Yikes.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf

I like the standard black background better. Easier on the eyes when pixel peeping.

One X's camera is not very impressive for a flagship smartphone.

0 upvotes
wetsleet

and the black background is far better suited to viewing on mobile devices - far less eye strain, and on OLED displays better for the battery also.

0 upvotes
Music Hands

I find the camera very impressive (and convenient). My others are Sony HX30V and A55 with 5 excellent lenses. But for well-lit everyday shots, the One X is plenty good. And for 1080p video, it's also quite good. Yes, the other two are slightly better; but nowhere near as convenient or available.

0 upvotes
gvnkamera

thnk cobber

0 upvotes
Total comments: 76
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