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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  
    the_tyrant's Avatar

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    Default I am willing to bet that the camera does not live up to the hype

    Ok, so today we saw the HTC One being announced, and I have a prediction: The HTC One's camera will not live up to the hype.

    before you dismiss my argument as simple fanboy rhetoric, I will explain my thinking, and I am willing to bet, that when the phone finally arrives, people will be disappointed by the HTC One's camera.

    Lets consider camera phones from the past few years. We have seen an explosion of megapixels, with the HTC Titan II sitting at the peak (lets not throw the Pureview 808 into the discussion yet). However, the sensor size itself has not actually increased by much. Thus what ended up happening was, image quality was pretty decent, but only if viewed on the phone screen or a computer monitor. once you blow it up, and view it full crop, the image quality quickly turns out to be horrible.

    Now what HTC is doing with the one, is completely opposite to what they did with the titan II. What ended up happening is, they reduced the pixels, but increased the pixel size. In my opinion, what HTC is doing is on the right direction, but they should have pushed it further.

    Now lets consider the pixel size for many popular current cameras:

    iPhone 5, S3, Lumia 920 - 1.4 m
    Nokia n8 - 1.75 m
    HTC One - 2.0 m
    Canon PS G12 - 2.70 m
    808 Pureview 8mp - 3.17 m
    808 Pureview 5mp - 4.01 m
    Canon EOS 60D - 4.30 m
    Canon EOS 1D Mark III - 7.20 m

    We can see that HTC One has a much larger pixel size than many other popular models like the iphone, s3, and Lumia 920. However, in my opinion, its not enough, the pixel size of the One is the same as the very well received Nokia n82.

    On paper, the Nokia n82 has actually pretty similar camera to the HTC One. Their pixel sizes are the same, with the n82 possessing a 5 mp camera, and the HTC one possessing a 4mp camera. Of course, the n82 is a much older device, and as such, on the software side, it has many deficiencies.

    Now when we compare full crops from the HTC One (from GSMarena) and the Nokia n82, we can see some curious things. but first, the images (I've circled some points of interest on the HTC one's image)



    Note how there is a bit of "purple" on the top of the phone, how there is noise on the black background, and how the text on the screen cannot really be resolved. Also, notice how the camera struggles with the hard edges.



    Notice how fundamentally, the HTC One does not completely pulverize the Nokia n82 (of course, a lot of that is software issues, as the HTC one hasn't launched yet). But this shows a major issue that the HTC camera team has run into.

    On phones such as the Titan II, nobody cared about full crop performance. You took 16mp pictures, and you view it on a 800 *480 screen. However, on the HTC One, full crop performance is a must. 4mp is still much more pixels than what the screen can display (1080p is 2 million pixels). However, it isn't that much more than 1080p, and in many cases, because of aspect ratio issues, the camera wouldn't even be utilized at 4 megapixels.

    What I'm trying to say is, in most cases, cellphone camera's produce horrible results at full crop. You can see a lot of noise, and image quality is usually quite abysmal. There are a few exceptions, such as the Pureview 808, but in general, you want to stay away from full crop.

    However, the HTC one's 4mp camera comes pretty close to 1080p, which is the screen resolution they would be viewed at. And in this case, the sensor and optics do not hold up. In fact, most cellphones and compact camera's produce bad images at full crop. In order to produce good full crop images, you either need a much bigger sensor, or you can pixel bin.

    This is why I estimate, that the HTC One's camera will probably be lacking. The pixel count is low enough (and the screen's resolution high enough) that you would be pretty much dealing with almost full crop images, yet the pixel size and the optics does not allow the sensor to produce a very image when examined at full crop.

    PS: There is also a pretty high chance that the HTC One will run into the same issue as the lumia 920- soft images in good light. here is an explaination for the 920: http://forums.wpcentral.com/nokia-lu...ape-shots.html

    The HTC One has a similar aperture, so i am willing to bet it will run into the same issues.
  2. #2  

    Default Re: I am willing to bet that the camera does not live up to the hype

    You know this from experience of using the One?

    Before predicting doom and gloom, maybe you should sit tight and hold your judgement until we actually have the phone.

    Sent from my HTC6435LVW using Tapatalk 2
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  3. #3  
    Dareoth's Avatar

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    Default Re: I am willing to bet that the camera does not live up to the hype

    These are good thoughts, and areas of concern. Full crop performance is going to be everything with this phone (a simple double tap to zoom will bring it there on any modern smartphone... the Nexus 10 or Retina iPad will be there automatically, basically) . It's supposed to be way better at full crop, but obviously that's a wait and see issue.

    My counter is pretty simple, and very circumstantial. Basically, HTC is claiming this is their device, the hero, bet the company phone. So, they have a pretty big motivator to not screw anything up too horribly. The line HTC must walk is too thin, and they have to know that, to let this phone any gaping flaws. Camera's are obviously a big deal in smartphone, but HTC has generally been seen as a leader in this space. (From images I've seen, the HTC One X is basically best in class for smartphone cameras, I much prefer it's images to the GS3 or the iPhone 5. It's certainly comparable. Haven't seen if the DNA did anything special, nor about the Optimus G images). It would have been really, really easy for HTC to throw a 12mp, or even bump it to 15mp or 16mp, on there, combine it with the new, better, faster, and so on Image Sense chip, plus software improvements, and claim the best camera in mobile, and leave it at that and it would have been fine. They could run ads all day about it too.

    But they didn't. They surely had late stage prototypes with the traditional spec bump camera. They went with this... and instead of hiding it, blew it out as one of the big features. I just can't imagine them doing that if it wasn't better, distinctly. Is it going to be a flawless mobile camera revolution? HTC hopes so, but probably not for the reasons you list among others. But will it be the best smartphone camera? You have to think it's going to be right there, because otherwise HTC is a terribly run company, because they would have been there basically by spec bump inertia.
  4. #4  

    Default Re: I am willing to bet that the camera does not live up to the hype

    Yes I also predict that the camera will be a bust. Photos taken at the HTC event and HDR video, including the official two girls walking into sunlight video, are all terrible. Even without these samples, the idea of a 4MP image is preposterous. There's this magical thing called pinch-to-zoom that has been oh so popular since the iPhone came out. Everyone does it to get a better view of an image, to zoom in, and to crop out faces or objects. 4MP won't cut it at all. You'll maybe do a slight zoom, but any more and it will be a blurrrrr. If HTC wanted to be revolutionary, they should've put a bigger sensor into the phone and made it a little thicker, keeping the 8MP resolution. The tradeoff by halving the resolution to increase light gathering per pixel may not be a desirable one. You might get marginally better night-time shots, but low resolution shots everywhere else. Double the size does not mean double the quality.
  5. #5  

    Default Re: I am willing to bet that the camera does not live up to the hype

    I'd like to point out that the lighting conditions that the One's sample photo was taken in were far from ideal for photography, while the N8 sample was taken outdoors in much closer to optimal lighting conditions. Kind of an apples and oranges comparison you are making. Lets see how the One does in similar conditions before we jump to any conclusions.
    Ry likes this.
  6. #6  

    Default Re: I am willing to bet that the camera does not live up to the hype

    Quote Originally Posted by katamari201 View Post
    Yes I also predict that the camera will be a bust. Photos taken at the HTC event and HDR video, including the official two girls walking into sunlight video, are all terrible. Even without these samples, the idea of a 4MP image is preposterous. There's this magical thing called pinch-to-zoom that has been oh so popular since the iPhone came out. Everyone does it to get a better view of an image, to zoom in, and to crop out faces or objects. 4MP won't cut it at all. You'll maybe do a slight zoom, but any more and it will be a blurrrrr. If HTC wanted to be revolutionary, they should've put a bigger sensor into the phone and made it a little thicker, keeping the 8MP resolution. The tradeoff by halving the resolution to increase light gathering per pixel may not be a desirable one. You might get marginally better night-time shots, but low resolution shots everywhere else. Double the size does not mean double the quality.
    You must be new to photography. Major camera manufacturers learned a long time ago that the smaller the sensor, the fewer the megapixels they wanted to push in.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk 2
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  7. #7  
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    Default Re: I am willing to bet that the camera does not live up to the hype

    The other thing to consider is that, according to Alex and Phil in the "ask me anything thread", HTC is still doing some tuning on the camera function. If the sensor is good enough, 4MP is going to be fine.
  8. #8  

    Default Re: I am willing to bet that the camera does not live up to the hype

    I'm willing to bet it does live up to the hype!

    Remember what the doormouse said, feed your head!
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  9. #9  
    Ry
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    Default Re: I am willing to bet that the camera does not live up to the hype

    By hype, we're looking for DSLR quality, right?
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  10. #10  

    Default Re: I am willing to bet that the camera does not live up to the hype

    It's true that people that think that MP's are everything clearly know nothing about photography. It's all about the tech behind it and how well it's implemented.

    Case in point: my last digital point and shoot was 14.1 MP's, my DSLR now has 14.2 and yet takes pictures that are 10x better because the tech behind DSLR's destroys the tech behind point-and-shoot's.

    Sounds like the One has a good chance of being a perfectly good camera.
  11. #11  

    Default Re: I am willing to bet that the camera does not live up to the hype

    Quote Originally Posted by xlDeMoNiClx View Post
    It's true that people that think that MP's are everything clearly know nothing about photography. It's all about the tech behind it and how well it's implemented.

    Case in point: my last digital point and shoot was 14.1 MP's, my DSLR now has 14.2 and yet takes pictures that are 10x better because the tech behind DSLR's destroys the tech behind point-and-shoot's.

    Sounds like the One has a good chance of being a perfectly good camera.
    Yeah exactly I have a Sony point and shoot and a Sony NEX F3. Both are 16 megapixels, but the NEX has a full-sized APS-C sensor and takes pictures on par with most DSLRs. The point and shoot takes OK pictures, but nothing to write home about compared to the NEX.

    Sent from my HTC6435LVW using Tapatalk 2
  12. #12  

    Default Re: I am willing to bet that the camera does not live up to the hype

    Quote Originally Posted by JHBThree View Post
    Yeah exactly I have a Sony point and shoot and a Sony NEX F3. Both are 16 megapixels, but the NEX has a full-sized APS-C sensor and takes pictures on par with most DSLRs. The point and shoot takes OK pictures, but nothing to write home about compared to the NEX.

    Sent from my HTC6435LVW using Tapatalk 2
    Bingo. Point and shoots are getting better but the tech behind it just isn't enough for it to be nearly as effective in general at taking pictures as well as a DSLR. That's why they're way more complicated. I just got my first DSLR in October and due to not having much time to practice it'll probably take me a few more months to be really effective with it.

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