mobile photography technology, culture and community
www.dpreview.com

HDR Mode

High Dynamic Range (HDR) modes capture two or more images at different exposures and then blend the individual frames. This helps to reduce highlight and shadow clipping in high-contrast scenes.  HDR capture is pretty much a standard feature on smartphones these days but implementation and results vary greatly. On the One M8 you select HDR mode in the menu and snap away, there are no further parameters or settings to play with.

Looking at the results below the HTC One M8's HDR mode is less balanced than competing solutions. In high contrast scenes smartphones often have trouble with highlight clipping and the M8 is no exception. Yet the phone's HDR mode focuses on the shadows and leaves the highlights virtually untouched.

Standard Mode, ISO 200
HDR
Standard Mode, ISO 125
HDR

In the two samples above you can see how the shadows have been lifted heavily while the highlights are still clipped. In the second sample the blue sky has turned cyan, too. Overall the M8's HDR results look unnatural and don't do anything to recover highlight detail. This is in stark contrast to systems like HDR mode in the Apple iPhone 5s, which leave midtones looking natural but give you some detail back in bright areas. Overall the M8's HDR feature could really do with a review of exposure and image blending parameters.

Sweep Panorama

The HTC One M8 shoots panoramas in portrait or landscape orientation. Panorama mode is selected in the settings and once activated you simply capture a pano by panning the camera. As you do so you can see the individual images being auto-aligned. The process is easy and quick but we have seen better results on competitors, specifically the iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S4. With a width of approximately 6500 pixels the images aren't particularly large and when you zoom in to 100% view you'll notice quite a few small stitching errors.

Like most phones the One M8 locks the exposure with the first frame which explains the slightly dark exposure of the first sample below. In the second sample you can also see a pretty ugly color shift towards the highlights. The blue sky turns cyan before it totally clips to white.

6610x1814 pixels
6592x1914 pixels

Dual Capture

Like most other recent high-end Android phones the One M8 can capture images with front and rear cameras at the same time and create a picture-picture effect. To do so you have to select Dual Capture in camera app. The HTC version of this mode has a nice touch in so far that you can adjust both size and position of the small image inside the larger frame. 

This is the default size and position of the small image inside the large frame.
The size of the small image can be adjusted though, this is as large as you can go. 

360 Panorama

Google started the trend to 360 degree panorama images on Android devices with Photo Sphere and by now most manufacturers pre-install a proprietary solution or one that is based on Google's technology on their high-end devices. HTC's version is called 360 Pan and can be accessed via the camera selection screen. Most 360 panorama apps work in a very similar way. You are guided by an on-screen target as you capture frame by frame to complete the sphere around you.

In terms of usability the HTC solution is one of the best solutions we have seen. The targets are bright red and easily visible in bright light which cannot be said for most other sphere apps we have tested. In the top right corner of the screen you also have a progress indicator which makes it it easy to spot if any patches have been forgotten.

HTC's Pan 360 offers a very good user interface. 
The red squares are easy to align, even in bright light, and you get a progress indicator in the top right corner.

Unfortunately the image results do not quite match the good ergonomics of the app. The sample below was shot on a market square with most of the  buildings and objects at a good distance from the camera. We would always accept some stitching errors on objects that are close to the lens, like my bicycle that I had dropped just in front of me, but on buildings in the distance the stitching  should be better. 

The market square of Landau, Germany, captured with Pan 360 on the HTC One M8

If you zoom into the into this image you can see a lot of small stitching errors and ghosting all over the buildings in the distance. When viewed on Google+ you still get a good impression of the space though and Pan 360 seems to deal well with moving subjects in the scene.

Selfie Mode

The image size you get out of the HTC One M8's front camera is almost the same as the rear shooter. That's more than the front cameras on many other smartphones but overall the image quality is still limited. If you look at the full image size you'll see a lot of noise reduction and smearing of fine detail but it's good enough for a quick snap in good light. 

In Selfie mode the self-timer is set to 2 seconds by default but you can turn it off or switch to 5 or 10 seconds as well. Otherwise the menu options are limited but you still get HDR and Portrait mode and have access to White Balance, Filters and exposure compensation. 

Front camera, ISO 125

Manual Mode

The HTC One M8 also offers a shooting mode that allows for manual setting of white balance, ISO, shutter speed and focus. If you leave ISO and shutter speed on Auto you can alternatively use exposure compensation. All parameters can be modified on easy to use sliders and while you might not want to use manual mode on an everyday basis it is definitely useful in certain situations.

In manual mode you can modify a range of shooting parameters via sliders on the screen.

Like most smartphones the One M8 attempts to keep the ISO down in low light by using very slow shutter speed. This leads inevitably to blur on moving subjects. Manual mode allows you to select the shutter speed you need to freeze motion. With ISO set to Auto the app will then select the sensitivity that's needed to achieve that speed.   

Gallery app and editing

Apart from the Duo Cam features that are described on the previous page the HTC gallery has not changed much from the One to the One M8. images are sorted by Album, Location or timeline. For each of those a larger cover thumbnail is displayed that turns into a "Highlight Movie" a couple of seconds or so after it appears on the screen. Highlight Movies are videos that mix up still images and videos in a folder and throw in some effect filters for good measure. We had a closer look at them in our HTC One review

Once have selected one of the albums you can tap on thumbnails to show the image at full screen and use the pinch gesture to zoom in and out. Another tap then opens up a fairly comprehensive range of editing options. Video editing options are limited to trimming of your clips.

The gallery app sorts your images by album, timeline or location. 
A range of effect filters is available, you can even create custom filters with a number of editing tools.
Adorn your images with an abundance of frame options.
If a face is detected in an image you have a range of portrait editing tools at your disposal including skin smoothing and red-eye removal. 

Comments

Total comments: 53
Bilgy_no1

The 'UltraPixel' marketing would have had some credibility if the sensor was bigger than the usual 1/3" size. Theoretically, it's better to use more pixels and downsample in low light. At least in good light, you'd have more detail. Nokia's approach (now copied by Sony) is the way to go.

In general, exposure and colour is pretty good, so in good light you're left with some nice looking shots, on screen. But when you zoom in just a bit, the detail falls apart quickly.

Apart from IQ, my biggest gripe is with the operational speed of the One M8. When viewing a photo full screen, you tap the screen to display the options: they slowly slide into view from the bottom. It almost takes a second before the second row (Back, Home, App Switcher) buttons are available. The Back button is needed to get back to shooting mode, so it's a pain to wait for it to show up. The processor is fast enough to display this immediately, so the animation is useless and annoying.

0 upvotes
hrhken

I have the HTC ONE M8 after owning th M7. Two weeks of use, indoors and out. As a point and shoot, the M8 took a small step backwards, HOWEVER< Using THE FULL FEATURE SET, I can get better results than the M7 if not in auto mode. I am starting to like the M8 camera, a bit more.

0 upvotes
Lukemynick

Thank you for the great review.
So the score has actually gone down from 7.5 IIRC to 7.1. What gives? I was hoping for improvement, not regression, so... no-go.

Btw HTC opt for conventional 13MP sensor for their One Mini 2, Desire 816, and even One Ace. As such I beg Connect to review any one of those.

Please do, and thank you again.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

Just like with our cameras reviews we'd expect slightly better performance form a new model to get the same score as an older one.

0 upvotes
Denis of Whidbey Island

Remind me why these phone reviews appear on the front page of DPReview. Were the readers of that site interested, they would be watching this one.

1 upvote
tkbslc

Got you to click, didn't it? That's why.

2 upvotes
Denis of Whidbey Island

Clicked to complain, not to read.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

Well, it wasn't written for you then but the people who are interested in phone camera reviews. There quite a few of those.

3 upvotes
tkbslc

Angry clicks and happy clicks get the same number of ad views....

2 upvotes
Denis of Whidbey Island

This is not entirely dissimilar to saying that it's fine to put links to TV reviews on the DPReview home page because some people who read DPReview are also interested in televisions. Really, what percentage of DPReview readers go to that site to find phone camera reviews?

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

Nobody is interested in everything. Some people look at DSLR reviews, some at compact reviews, some at lens reviews and, believe me, an increasing number is looking at smartphone camera reviews. There would not be much point in doing them otherwise.

0 upvotes
tkbslc

Can you take pictures with TVs? What kind of a dumb analogy is that? Phones have ever improving cameras in them which allows you to use them as a photographic tool. A Camera review of a TV would be 0 pages.

1 upvote
Daniel L

Had the last HTC one, which died while charging after one year of use. I would not touch any electronic devices that carries HTC brand. That phone was nothing but trouble from software to hardware, I have never experienced so much disappointment in an electronic device before.

Just replaced the dead fish last week with Galaxy s5 because The big iPhone is no yet next available!

....and DON'T BUY INTO 4MP image resolution crap. It's stupid. Who cares about better image quality on cell phone if you can't zoom enlough? I want to be able to zoom in images, read prints i can't tell from naked eyes, or similar purposes where cell phones picture are good for. I don't plan to do studio works with them. 4MP camera is as good as crap.

0 upvotes
LauP

>I have never experienced so much disappointment in an electronic device before.

While I agree with you on a relatively poor camera, I think you'd find very few people who agree with the rest of your assessment.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

Well, I liked both the original One and the M8 very much for their phone/mobile computing capability. the're also both very nicely made. the camera is really the only point of criticism. Unfortunately, if you like taking pictures with your phone it is a very major one.

0 upvotes
Interceptorv12

My work colleague had Galaxy S3 started smoking while on charge and eventually expired, so by your logic people should stay away from Samsung as well.

0 upvotes
Daniel L

@interceptorv12
No, why stay away from Samcrap? You should avoid Androids junk at all cost!

0 upvotes
sebastian huvenaars

I was showing interest in this phone, and then the camera results came rolling in from the web.

0 upvotes
joe6pack

If there is one thing that HTC has helped the photography community, it is that HTC debunked the myth of using less pixels but keeping sensor size unchanged results in better picture.

I have to admit that I was a believer. I have converted after seeing HTC One's samples.

1 upvote
Impulses

They didn't really debunk anything, it's always been a balance, go too far in either direction without increasing efficiency (too many pixels for the sensor size OR too few) and you end up with something that suffers by comparison, not a shocker.

0 upvotes
MistyFog

Many people have already known this to be a fallacy. I've been trying (unsuccessfully) to warn people not to fall for this scam but to no avail. There are many, who in reality are totally clueless about photography, yet think themselves as smart and sophisticated when they parrot HTC's marketing talk.

The only thing this sad episode really proved, is how totally clueless HTC's imaging team really is. Like I've always said, they're a bunch of salespeople wearing lab coats.

0 upvotes
Becksvart

Thones phones and their lattes.

0 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen

cell phone cameras have come a long way, but HTC seems to want to stay in the past. They'll be rewarded with low sales. Hope they take the next gen more serious.

2 upvotes
tkbslc

I guess "low sales" based on camera quality will depend on how many people buy phones with that as the primary criterion.

0 upvotes
tkbslc

Pretty weak camera quality for a flagship phone. Looks like they went to a new camera module for the newest HTC One Mini 2, so maybe they are wising up.

1 upvote
ProfHankD

Having a separate depth sensor means there are alignment issues, which are not helped by lower resolution. It would be interesting to see if the depth sensor could be used to stitch actual 3D models more accurately, but the simulated DoF effect looks too crude to be of much use -- at least for now. Obviously, shallow DoF "like professional cameras give" is what every tiny camera wants to fake this year....

0 upvotes
Impulses

They already released a phone with dual cameras for 3D, and a 3D display, and it actually worked... But nobody really cares about recording 3D content or watching it on such a small screen, at least that concept flopped quicker.

0 upvotes
ProfHankD

No, I'm not talking stereo pairs or single-view depth maps -- I'm talking about stitching true 3D solid models, like we use to drive 3D printers. There's a lot of tech for this, but I suspect there would be a healthy niche market for a phone directly spitting-out a printable model.

0 upvotes
Jogger

The depth sensor is a stupid gimmick and doesnt work well. They should just put a 2/3 or larger sensor in there with a decent lens.

0 upvotes
BradJudy

I think the issue that you've demonstrated with Ufocus is because the depth measurement is so much lower resolution than the actual photograph, not capturing small objects like the bicycle parts or doing a good job detecting exact edges. Because the Google app uses motion/parallax with the main camera sensor to identify depth, it's at the same resolution as the image and can (in theory) do a better job in these aspects.

0 upvotes
Impulses

In practice both produce poor results by overdoing the effect, introducing artifacts, errors in edge stitching etc. I wasn't very impressed with it on my N5 anyway, haven't tried it again since initial testing. LG's more subtle effect seemed to work better during a comparison I saw but it wasn't very comprehensive.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys

Another no-go. My Nokia 808 won't be beaten in IQ for another year for sure.

Unless Samsung or Sony comes out with a large-sensor, thick cameraphone with a prime, wideangle, bright lens. Samsung have released three small-sensor zoom/"Kamera" models (pretty good ones for a zoom camera but, at the same FoV, can't rival IQ-wise the large-sensor prime-lens 808); hopefully they also release a large-sensor fixed-FoV lens one as well.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Impulses

I don't see Samsung releasing a fixed FL anything outside of phones, zooms appeal to the masses and Samsung's all about mass appeal. I'd really like to see Sony take the QX concept to it's logical evolution and release a couple of prime editions, or at least one at 35mm with the 1" sensor...

It would HAVE to be significantly smaller than the two existing models, maybe even as small as something as a Panasonic 20/1.7... That'd be eminently pocketable and a MUCH better alternative than a smaller sensor P&S or phone. It makes sooo much sense, just gotta market it right. It's not like the concept of selling zoom to smartphone users really caught fire (existing QX).

0 upvotes
Menneisyys

"I don't see Samsung releasing a fixed FL anything outside of phones, zooms appeal to the masses and Samsung's all about mass appeal."

Well, when done right (significantly better IQ than the 808, OIS, 4K video, brighter lens etc.), such a model would make almost all existing Nokia 808 / 1020 users not happy with the ecosystem / the OS / the phone's allowed-for capabilities (e.g., phone call recording) switch. (I'd say there are millions of them.) I'd too switch to a high-end Android if and only if the camera would be comparable to that of my Nokia 808.

1 upvote
Impulses

Wow, you really think there are a million 808 users out there? Like actively using it as their daily driver? Seems far fetched, but even if there are, that's a very niche market. Samsung probably sells a million SGS5 just during launch week, pretty sure I remember seeing something about the SGS4 selling a million in under two weeks anyway.

Point is, few OEM (not even HTC) would build a phone hoping for a million sales at most. Frankly I don't see why you'd suffer thru the 808 just for the camera, I'd much rather just carry two devices but that's just me. Is Nokia's current Lumia THAT far behind the 808 that you'd give up the app ecosystem and everything else on a modern phone just for the better camera?

I think the modular approach is reasonable for people that want a truly great camera on their phone (rather than two devices), somebody just needs to chase the concept further. Phones aren't gonna go back to 12-15 mm form factors anytime soon.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys

"Wow, you really think there are a million 808 users out there? "

Nope, it was the cumulative number of the 808 and the 1020. (See my OP.) I'm certainly aware of the 808's only selling some hundreds of thousands - after all, it wasn't advertised at all and was only really targeted at camera and Symbian enthusiasts, not the Average Joes.

1 upvote
webrunner5

Thanks for the review. Yep, this phone looks pretty terrible camera wise. Not sure how you can beta test it and say yeah, lets release it the way it is??

As to the people on here that complain about every cellphone review. If you don't like them why are you even reading the review, or even commenting?

You guys NEED to wise up. This is not 1995, it's 2014. Cameras as we knew them are a dying breed. Hardly any young person prints anything anymore.

I have taken some pretty darn good pictures with my phones. Can I make a 20x30 print with them, no. Do I need to or want to no. My children and grandchildren see them just fine in emails I send them, and in return I get shots of them from their cellphones. What else you want, a picture from a 80mp MF back you are going to look at on your computer screen at 100??

I am not suggesting you throw away your cameras. I still own a LOT of them. But the average young person probably does not even OWN a real camera anymore.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Philip Goh

I would be interested in seeing how the HTC One M8's camera stacked up against the Moto G. We'd be comparing a phone from the top end of the market with a phone from the bottom end.

The Moto G gets a lot of flak for its poor camera, but looking at the samples above I don't think it's much worse than the HTC One M8. A review comparing these phones side by side will be very interesting.

0 upvotes
Robemo

Never understood these 'camera-phone' reviews. I don't know anyone who is serious about photography that uses a phone. I do know a lot of people using their phone for taking 'social events' pictures and then sending them to friends. They don't give a hoot about 'ultimate' quality images. It's about sharing a very basic image. Most of the time the images stay in the phone until memory runs out (and then they come to me ...'Help, my camera is not working anymore !'). If they ever print such an image, which they seldom do, it will be postcard size. The images in this review of the M8 look good enough for that for sure. Make these reviews more realistic by aiming at how almost everyone uses their phone and not by reviewing it for the rare geek that uses their camera phone like a Hasselblad.

Ron

4 upvotes
majicmoments

I totally agree.. DPR is churning out these darn things like a production line.. Good people at DPR, this site is viewed by photographers of all abilities.. please do more interesting things with cameras..as well as your decent reviews. If you are going to show us the latest phone or gizmo, then take a hint at what Ron suggests.. to give it meaning in our photography.. Azmi

1 upvote
Impulses

So they shouldn't compare IQ at all? Even if the majority of users will not do anything with the shots but post them to FB that doesn't mean they don't give a hoot about IQ... You do realize displays are getting better and better all the time on tablets, laptops and even TVs no? 1080p (2MP) is like the minimum people will accept across those devices now and they WILL pinch and zoom and often look at pictures in more detail than any "serious photographer" would while printing.

Frankly I don't much care about the camera on my phone because I won't use it for anything critical or memorable, I have other cameras, but for PLENTY of people now their phone is their SOLE camera and it'll be called to capture everything from first born sons to weddings. Your snobbish attitude is wholly unnecessary, if you don't care for a technical review of a smartphone camera and just want a subjective by the seat of your pants comment then read any of the dozens of tech blogs.

1 upvote
Danny

People who are 'serious' about photography often take the worst boring images. Pixel peeping my @ss, it's not the camera, it's the person behind it.

4 upvotes
Menneisyys

"I don't know anyone who is serious about photography that uses a phone."

Well, actually, the Nokia 808 can easily rival even DSLR's with decent ($1000+) lens used in their "sweet spot" (FoV and aperture combo) under small-sensor-friendly circumstances (low DR, plenty of light).

The 808 has an exceptionally good lens, corner-to-corner, and the sensor-lens combo is capable of some VERY serious detail retention. I just love mine.

2 upvotes
hydrospanner

"I don't know anyone who is serious about photography that uses a phone."

Then go crawl back in your third world hole and quit posting here. Every one I know that knows a viewfinder from a lens mount carries a smart phone, and every one of those smart phones has a camera. For a photo enthusiast, the quality/capabilities of their camera's phone, while not everything, are a greater factor in their purchasing decisions than an average person, so reviews like this can help them get a phone that best balances their need for features and a (relative) quality camera.

Only an idiot would complain that a smart phone doesn't stack up against a dedicated camera. That's not at all the point. By that rationale, dpr should only review "full-frame" and larger sensors, because anything smaller is pointless.

2 upvotes
tkbslc

I used to say the same thing until I got a good camera phone. Now my phone is my most used camera and I only take my DSLR for planned portrait sessions or special destination landscape shots, etc.

1 upvote
Lars Rehm

I am sorry this review is not of interest to you but there are a lot of people who do take pictures with their phones and who do care about the image quality of the cameras on those phones. Those are the people we target with these reviews.

2 upvotes
DrGonzoIsHere

I don't understand people complaining about these reviews, I much prefer DPR do a camera phone review than any of the other tech sites. I often use my phone when my camera isn't at reach, so a camera phone I have with me all of the time is invaluable.

Anyhow, great review and a big dissapointment with the M8, I just hope HTC can stay afloat for another year, with a new look on their camera technology, as the current 'less is more' philosophy isn't working.

2 upvotes
Robemo

As was to be expected lots of juvenile reactions and name calling.
But the facts are undeniable. Yes, the 808 is a wonderful machine (I have one), but no, it still does not come close to a camera (I have one too). If people are happy with their phone, good for them. Who cares, certainly not me.
But still these reviews are not completely fair and actually a bit misleading. Many if not most of the users of cameraphones will be completely happy with the results of the models that are reviewed here. While the reviews suggest huge differences, they are irrelevant to most. That is the reality I see all around me. Sorry Lars.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

Sorry to disagree. I would not recommend the One M8's camera to anyone, it's clearly worse than its direct competitors in most respects. If you are at all interested in the image quality that comes out of your smartphone you'll want to get something else which is why this review is very relevant. If you don't care about the IQ of your phone then of course it's not relevant to you and there's not much point in reading it.

1 upvote
Robemo

You are entitled to your opinion as am I. A pitty that you, like some of the name callers here, try to make it a personal thing by trying to put words into my mouth. My remarks had nothing to do with whether I care for IQ of phones or not. It had to do with the fact that the reviews could be more helpful for more people. Positive criticism. Not a personal attack. But feel free to ignore it and cary on the way you do. No harm done and looking at some reactions you have a nice group of civilized followers ...

0 upvotes
hydrospanner

Yeah, all except the fact that "your remarks" are based on your lack of perspective.

If you care so little about the subject, why keep commenting? Nobody here wants to know what you have to say after you've proven how ridiculous you are.

0 upvotes
Robemo

Aahhh, I see. And you represent the average intellect in this forum I guess?

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

Easy on the insults please or I will have to delete a few comments here. Where do you think is my review attacking anybody or anything on a personal level?

0 upvotes
Total comments: 53
About us
Sitemap
Connect