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27th March 2014, 11:30 AM |#8428  
hamdir's Avatar
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#HTCOneM8 Camera Analysis:

The M8 camera is a substantial improvement over the M7 in color balance, sharpness and processing

HTC One (M8) official camera page
HTC One (M8) official ZOE page

My M8 Flickr Albums: All my M8 photos, Istanbul vs M8, HDRs, Lebanon vs M8, 8/13/16MP upscaled, Duo Camera
HTC One M8 Eye Resolution Cap tests (13MP version of the M8)
HTC One M8 Eye vs M8 Sharpness Control tests (13MP version of the M8 vs Ultrapixel)
HTC One M8 Camera lens coating tests
HTC Desire 816 vs HTC One M8 camera: Medium light, pixel comparison and upscaling analysis (13MP vs 4MP UltraPixel)
HTC Desire 816 vs HTC One M8 camera: indoor, low light & dark comparison (13MP vs 4MP UltraPixel)
My initial camera hands-on and impressive manual control tests
UltraPixel Wars II
HDR comparative
Duo Camera effects, landscape mode, filters and Photoshop 16MP upscale filter
Custom gallery filters are great but be careful of quality degradation
5 levels of UFocus and Duo Camera observations

Rough explanation of the large pixel versus the tiny pixel precision problem
M8 manual mode, low light tips

The M8 sensor captures good per pixel detail, good enough to use it's 4MP image to achieve 16MP results similar to the competition's tiny pixel smudging

Download my M8 16MP Upscale-Smudge-Blackcrush Photoshop filter (Actions)

Tutorial: Photo Acute, stack upscaling - aka. M8 16MP super resolution

Oppo Find 7 UHD vs M8 Photoacute

How to capture images from your M8 in RAW format

General tips:

  • Rely on Auto focus in daylight
    The M8 fights over exposure on its own for great point & shoot results, be mindful that manually picking a dark target will over expose the image: 95% of the time auto focus will nail a great focus and exposure
  • Backlight and HDR
    Back light scenarios you will need to rely on HDR, but to get the most perfect HDR, hold and lock focus into the brightest spot in the shot, you can even lock on a brighter target outside the frame and re-frame
  • Limit High ISO in Low Light
    Auto mode is relying on super fast shutter and extreme high ISO (up to 3200) which will naturally give you well lit fast captured images but at the great expense of quality, instead you can rely on the slower shutter of Night mode or use Manual mode, in manual lower ISO to 800/400 leaving everything on auto, it will slowdown the shutter accordingly for better quality pictures at the expense of shutter speed
  • Total Photographic Control
    Manual mode basically gives you complete photographic control over the sensor, for example you can decouple exposure from focus for great closeups or slow down the shutter for daylight quality in low light or even artistic motion blur effects, the best thing about Manual mode is that it's all real-time in the viewfinder, once you see a great frame all you have to do is press shutter for instant capture

Great camera samples in the hands of professional shooters:
Rick Takagi
Colby Brown Photography
Jose Jacas

XDA users:
HTC One M8 Photo thread

So called bad camera

(notice that detail in the distant tree branches? that's the large pixel per pixel precision that no reviewer "wants" to see)

really excellent color and white balance:

Fastest camera around

My M8 camera hands-on and Manual mode tests
Originally Posted by hamdir

Finally had my first hands on the M8

in short the very best thing about the M8 is actually the camera and the best thing about the camra is the software / speed and the best thing about the software / speed is: Manual Mode

really this is just incredible on a phone and i didn't expect it to work so well, for those who have asked "why slowing down the shutter all the way down results in a white photo" well what do you expect? basic photography principal, slowing down the shutter means more exposure time, the more exposure the more light gets in, so as you extend exposure time you get better quality and more light but slower speed hence motion blur, if you go too far in indoor moderate light or outdoor the camera will be blinded by all the light, you need to subtly slide the shutter time to find the sweet spot in dynamic range, in other words you only to really to slow down the shutter all the way down in extreme darkness

but the very best of all is manual focus which works just like analog, you slide all the way down for super close macro or all the way back for infinite focus (no more missed macro or landscape shots) there is a macro and a landscape scenes for that but personally if i am capturing anything still life like landscape it will be Manual mode and only manual mode

in terms of stills i i didn't miss OIS at all as the motion blur is fought pretty hard even with slower shutter times, in fact i would say it fights motion blur a lot better than the M7, however i did notice that auto focus sometimes didn't lock correctly on target (indoor moderate light) the only weakness of this sensor is chromatic limits visible when taking a shot of spotlights, the lights show chromatic jagged issues around the edges

eitherway i am simply floored, HTC can put any hardware they want on this because simply the software is out of this world, they are basically milking this sensor at this point and the results really show, coming from the M7 it feels a like a complete new camera

in manual mode i had ISO all the way down and exposure at medium, so really image quality and the famous over exposure is totally in your hands

so what's the worst thing about the M8? Ufocus, i know you guys have posted tons of great results but seriously for the flagship feature of the second sensor this is really needs to work a lot better, so many limitations and rules and so hard to get right, the device i tested was with base 1.12.x and i know things are a lot better with 1.54.x but still like i said, they've extended the height of the phone and added an entire second camera in there, Ufocus should have worked considerably better day one

anyway just to prove how easy it is to control and snap with this camera, i snapped all these in just few minutes (indoor at night with spot lights)

Auto: ISO-200 Exposure 1/30

notice how on auto it slightly over exposed the top of the droid

now the fun part, Manual mode: almost a professional camera my friends

don't forget you can always save your favorite manual mode settings as custom scenes for later use , you can also use auto values in manual but cap their maximum

Manual: ISO-100, Exposure 1/15, basically i slowed down the shutter time until i had good exposure, did you say poor dynamic range? (i still find this image hard to believe that it's coming from a phone) this is not ufocus it's the natural bokeh of this phone

Manual: ISO-200, Exposure 1/30, Manual focus into closeup

Manual: ISO-250, Exposure 1/30, Manual focus into max distance (thanks to manual our focus is completely decoupled from exposure)

Manual: ISO-160, Exposure 1/15

nothing sexy about this except proving there is no left side blur and the only thing resembling distance in my location (the ceiling spots are of different colors at my friend's shop so the colors didn't look so great here) check out the full resolution image

and a few more using just auto mode and auto focus, this thing takes better closeups than any device i have ever tried and color wise: it wipes the floor with the M7

by the way all these shots with default sharpness, it's good but can look a bit odd at only certain edges, for that i only recommend dropping sharpness to -0.5

flickr set:

HTC simply needs to advertise it as the fastest camera in this world and professional manual controls > that would be make more sense to people than explaining the large pixel advantage

Originally Posted by Maximus78

My Beloved


Noticeable color definition improvements over the M7
Originally Posted by randombirt

M8Attachment 2652308
M7Attachment 2652309
M8 flashAttachment 2652310

M8 vs M7, you can see a much improved color balance in the photo above, M7 results used to look less appealing due to yellow/green bias

The new quality tweaks from the same camera is pretty impressive, I seriously hope they don't change sensor vendors as promised


Comparison with M7

the default digital sharpness algorithm is improved, reduced noise and artifacts, the image is actually usable at 1:1 now with default sharpness (which is something you can't say about 99% of smartphones)

(most noticeable in the Mitsubishi car below, you can easily read the number plates)


Just specify that the comparison is small, as we will soon prepare detailed material, put the lens where the lens core smartphones, which can boast the camera module.

I think at the moment people are interested in the difference in quality of photos taken on the HTC One (M7) and the new HTC One (M8). Below are pictures from the 100% crop. In fact, there is practically nothing to tell, as the camera module remained unchanged. In M8 fixed white balance (he was, in my opinion, just right) worked on algorithms for smoothing and sharpening (was noticeably less noise), added a little saturation. Perhaps, HTC has used M8 another lens (or perhaps because the software works), as in the pictures of buildings less distorted perspective because of the wide angle lens. Focus speed has increased, the focus is now happening more accurately even in difficult lighting conditions. Lubrication of the image also eliminated.

Originally Posted by hamdir

A very nice Techspot review camera page:

More depth effects incoming

HDR is overkill in low light as usual

shooting at ISO 3200 and a shutter speed of 1/10s produces bright, decent images

Manual mode shutter slow down

Flash tone results

and why you should be careful with auto exposure and fix it yourself


Manual Focus:

With the M8 camera manual mode you can decouple focus from exposure metering

check this using manual focus, that's very impressive:


In manual mode, you can change the following settings - white balance, exposure, ISO, shutter speed, focus. White balance is adjusted in the range from 2300K to 7500K, the values ​​in the range of 100-1600 ISO, shutter speed range 1/8000-4 seconds.

Most importantly, in my opinion, - the ability to manually adjust the focus. It does not focus on the subject on the screen tapom, namely the choice of a fixed distance, which will focus occurs. That is why now the new HTC One can take pictures of any objects close-up, and not only those on which the unit can focus in the "Macro".

Notice how easy it is now possible to get close-up pictures, including such as hair or fishing line, for example. On HTC One previous generation get such footage (some of) it is practically impossible, a new One is the question a couple of seconds and correctly exposed focus.

Naturally, most users would Manual shooting mode is useless, but in some situations it allows you to take pictures of very high quality as compared to those that do the same device in "auto" mode. Here is a good example of this situation - close-up shot figures in low light (in a dark unlit room).

Originally Posted by hamdir

13MP vs 4MP, 1:1 low light crop

Tiny pixel = smudge, so really where is that "detail" ?

here is the full image: M8 vs G2 Lowlight

Originally Posted by hamdir

HTC One M8 Camera per pixel analysis

Infinite focus by using the landscape mode or manual mode (drag focus all the way up) is really the best thing on the M8, the detail it collects at distance is really surprising considering it's just 4MP, HTC should have relied on their infinite focus to make the Ufocus post effect rather than a digital focus on top of optical focus


I have upscaled a landscape shot form the M8 to 16MP and applied a smudge filter

HTC One M8 camera in landscape mode @ 16MP

Fullsize 16MP (upscale + quality smudge filter)
Original 4MP

versus SGS5 @ 16MP native smudged results

Full size 16MP

Remember Gavin was only able to upload 38 photos out of 90, the rest were unusable because of focus and motion blur issues

1:1 Crops

Now let's do 1:1 crops, just to be fair i threw a third photo from the SGS5 which is actually at closer distance and in direct sunlight and finally compared with our M8 upscale


Since the competition is relying on excessive pixel smudge filters to hide all the bleeding from tiny 1.1um pixels, all that HTC had to do is to provide an upscale option (for zoomers) and reduce the default exposure a notch (since most reviews rely on default)

If anyone interested in phone photography i strongly recommend buying the M8 just for the manual mode on it's own

thanks to @gavinfabl for the SGS5 and M8 samples

Originally Posted by hamdir

one more thanks to @gavinfabl this is the most similar i found (same area different views)

13MP Note 3 vs 4MP M8, 1:1 daylight crop at around the same distance

mind you the original Note 3 photo taken is impressive because it benefits from something called down sampling when viewed in full so it looks more impressive no one can deny it, its a landscape daylight shot something clearly in favor of the N3 sensor, but still interesting non the less, is that "4MP" vs "13MP" sounds so massive but it's not, its a miracle that the M8 can show you good photos at it's native 4MP without any down sampling unlike the 13MP sensor relying on aggressive smudging, HTC is actually doing more with less

but as a crop you can see the M8 holds quiet well, it has much less smudging (even less if you reduce default sharpness) and you can pick up detail from that crop

and if you think that 13MP means over 200% a 4MP image, think again, it's only 50% difference in size:

now let's look at downsampling

Note 3 1600x900

Note 3 Sample 13MP

M8 1600x905

M8 Sample, original 4MP

The N3 photo is more impressive first because it down sampled a lot more than the M8 and second it benefits from superior light conditions contributing to the contrast

but looking at the entire image, can you claim that you see more distant detail on the Note 3 photo? if anything it's the M8 preserving more of it's sub pixel detail

no one denies that the M8 will be the weakest in landscape shots but it's not nearly as bad as some like to make it sound, in 1:1 crops it's actually clean compared to the smudgy mess of others and in low light in wins over a 13MP sensor because it resists smudging detail

the main issue with this shot is that it suffers from chromatic issues rather than low megapixels

Originally Posted by hamdir

Shockingly similar color range to the iPhones 5s (M8 on the right)

iMore: iPhone 5s vs. HTC One M8: Camera shootout

and really 4MP vs 8MP digital zoom is not that big of a deal

and here is my usual example of better per pixel detail from the UP camera, the distant tree branches by the 4MP 2.0um sensor collects much better detail than the 8MP 1.5um sensor on the iPhones 5s, the tinier the pixel the more these branches blend

Originally Posted by hamdir

The new Pano 360 ability is simply amazing

Engadget's sample full size

Anandtech's sample full size

it even blurs moving objects and this is really excellent stitching

i can even use it as a rough HDR or reflection map in my CG projects, if i want to quickly capture the reflections of a certain location


The Pan 360 mode lets you stitch together awesome panoramas with an incredibly easy to use UI. The tool just presents a bunch of red boxes on the display, line up the focus target with each box and it'll automatically capture/move to the next one. You never have to hit the shutter button.


Sweep Panorama
The HTC One (M8) allows you to take panoramic images very easily by 'sweeping' with the camera. The camera does all the processing and stitching and even successfully compensates for moving subjects.

here is a sample from the cut and paste effect but you can also manually refine the mask (sample from Photographyblog)


Manual mode shutter control:

Originally Posted by NIK516

I've tried in day light it's to bright need a nd filter if you really wanted to try. May give it a go. This is a 4sec exposure at night. I'll try some more tonight. Also the shots are very clean Iso 100 and this was set on a table not hand held.


keridel James Bricknell Apr 2
Using the shutter speed on the @htc One m8 is freaking awesome!

Last edited by hamdir; 15th March 2015 at 06:44 PM.
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