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HTC imaging head explains why the One has a 4-megapixel camera

Posted: , by Victor H.

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HTC imaging head explains why the One has a 4-megapixel camera
HTC’s UltraPixel camera with Zoe is in fact a 4-megapixel one, a bold move that HTC risked to take as most of its competitors came up with 13-megapixel cameras on their 2013 flagships. But there is more than just the bigger single pixel size that drove this decision.

A Computer World interview with Symon Whitehorn, ex-Kodak executive who is now in charge of HTC smartphone imaging, revealed all the reasons why HTC went with a 4-megapixel camera. First and foremost it is about great low-light performance, but also about being realistic with what people do with image from their smartphones. Those are not professional photographs for large prints after all.

“It's really about finding the balance. It came down to how many megapixels we could fit in a sensor that size that can respond and give a significant difference in low-light performance. ... In 90 percent of the cases, four megapixels is more than enough.That also gives us a super manageable file size, which lets us do lots of cool things with Zoe. We couldn't do the dual-path encoding we're doing now, shooting video and stills at the same time, with a very large file size. If it was a 14 megapixel sensor, you'd end up just choking the whole system.”
The HTC One is capable of recording 1080p full HD video and capturing full-resolution still at the same time. But it’s also about the experience in the gallery where the system automatically creates a video of all the photographs and videos you take throughout a day, mashing it all up together with effects and music so it’s just there without you having to do anything. Good news is HTC plans to continue refining that experience:

“And we'll be evolving the whole Zoe and Highlight Video experience a lot more to give you more control. You're never going to give up that automatic, super elegant, we've-already-made-a-video-for-you-on-the-fly experience, but we're going to refine editing tools and make the whole thing even more elegant than it is now.”

Hit the source link below for the full interview.

source: Computer World

78 Comments
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posted on 03 Apr 2013, 07:41 17

1. _Bone_ (Posts: 2110; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Explain this:
http://www.abload.de/img/templelbusl.jpg

Choking my a**, judge 13MP quality for yourself:
http://www.abload.de/img/2013031418580229100vzjjc.jpg
http://cdn.tinhte.vn/attachments/20130314_125227-jpg.1021167/
http://www.abload.de/img/31azslk.jpg
http://www.abload.de/img/8558826363_a99bafbf71sashi.jpg
http://mfiles.sohu.com/digi/20130401_174005.jpg
http://mfiles.sohu.com/digi/20130401_191246_LLS.jpg

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 08:37 19

11. tech2 (Posts: 1919; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


its funny as to why people just keep thumbing down without giving any reasons ! Haters have an opinion if you don't like our comment. Dont just thumb down

Despite what the imaging head says the One's camera scored very bad (even in low light conditions) in PA's blind camera test !

Also, GS IV's camera does all that without choking at 13MP with the same processor !

Although (almost) no one prints large copies of photos taken from phone but people do watch those photos on computers which are generally 15 inch. So, sharpness does deterioration can be seen over there !

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 08:49 11

16. KParks23 (Posts: 446; Member since: 13 Oct 2010)


U know the phone is not even out yet and still getting tweeks they just released a update that greatly improves image quality... And yet 4mp is plenty I still think 8 is ideal with a really nice sensor and lens.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 18:28 4

67. Taters (Posts: 2682; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


Haha excuses excuses.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 18:30 3

68. Taters (Posts: 2682; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


They should have made it 1 gigapixel so it fits with the One theme. Haha

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 16:42 3

56. Mobilephile (Posts: 69; Member since: 25 Nov 2012)


If HTC feels the need to explain this feature, its not a good sign. Pictures don't lie, and should be self-explanatory minus all their hype.

posted on 04 Apr 2013, 12:08

75. radiotrib (Posts: 1; Member since: 02 Apr 2013)


Have yopu even tried to calculate the pixel size of the average 15 inch monitor ??? My brand new 27" iMac has a total pixel count of slightly under 3 Mpxls and myMBP Retina display slightly over 5 Mpxls ... and the average 50 inch HD TV ... peanuts ... so who need more ?? I got a dSLR for 'proper' photos. I want to take napshots of mty mates in the pub or my grandchildren having fun, then I need low-light capability ... head out of ass time Sammy fans :)

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 09:39 12

22. bojan (Posts: 188; Member since: 06 Oct 2012)


you wrong dude watch this at night the HTC one is the best phone even better than nokia lumia watch the video that was made by phonearenahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5NFpddZ958 4:11

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 10:47 6

27. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1122; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


i dont believe this s**t. even youtube users are doubting on the results in this video.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 12:21 1

37. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1122; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


id rather believe this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDMpnvedwvs

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 13:13 3

41. sbw44 (Posts: 384; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)


will never thrust PhoneArena's comparisons again!

Oh wonder why GsmArena rated the One's camera as a disappointment? and that many 13mp shooters are better?

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 11:02 1

28. kclgphilsbsa (Posts: 762; Member since: 21 Jan 2013)


who owns those 13mp images dude?

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 12:12 2

36. amiroo (Posts: 269; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


this camera is awsome and this note complete it for everyone that specually close their eyes like bone..

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 12:52 5

40. robinrisk (unregistered)


Let me explain it:

1. As good as 13 MP photos were, i didn't even see them, because after 20 seconds of loading, it still wasn't fully loaded in my browser. I have a very bad connection at work, but the point still still stands, specially with the lack of speed on a mobile 3G connection.

2. Try and send a 13MP photo. It takes a loooong time to upload, what i do with my current cellphone's 8MP photos is that i crop them or just shoot them in 1-4 MPixels mode.

3. About 90% of photos taken are seen on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or the same cellphone, all of those unable to display photos larger than 1024*768 (With some exceptions)

4. The only good thing about more MPixels is for printing and for editing, and 4MP is more than enough to photoshop stuff for basically the whole of HTC's clientele.

5. The same 90% of people who don't need to use 8+ MP will not know or will not set it to lower levels.

A good sensor, good low lighting conditions and flash should be enough for 90% of users, while those 8MP+ photos will just mess up the user base experience.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 13:16 11

42. sbw44 (Posts: 384; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)


So basically what you are saying is that people should all make 4mp camera because of twitter,facebook,instagram??? Lmao

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 17:35 2

60. HDShatter (Posts: 1021; Member since: 17 Jan 2013)


How about we up the MP and use better sensors and just get unlimited data?

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 14:49 4

48. SleepingOz (unregistered)


flawed logic

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 23:19 1

72. berry889 (Posts: 23; Member since: 01 Apr 2013)


13Mp picture taken and resize it to 4Mp is better than 4Mp alone....

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 17:49

64. joseph98 (Posts: 167; Member since: 03 Feb 2012)


I wish the galaxy note III will sport a 20+ MP cam. A 4MP cam no thanks not for me.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 07:51 21

2. Silencerzzz (Posts: 21; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)


People complain about Samsung aggressive in advertising. Now it proved that HTC is aggressively marketing in their overhyped 'pre 2010 camera' smartphone.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 07:52 19

3. xperiaDROID (Posts: 5258; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Good explaining HTC! For me, there's nothing wrong with the 4 Megapixels.....or I mean 4 Ultrapixels camera.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 08:21 10

8. tech2 (Posts: 1919; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


Good explanation ? GS IV does all those at 13MP without choking and using the same processor !!!

Also, their low light performance is not that good as well ! They scored pretty bad in PA's blind camera test even in the low light conditions !!

and no need to correct yourself for 'Ultrapixels' even their imaging head is calling it megapixel, above^

Not being rude but only asking what part of the reason you found satisfying ?

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 08:31 13

9. xperiaDROID (Posts: 5258; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Dude, HTC released the firmware update for the One, and the camera improved too!
http://www.phonearena.com/news/HTC-One-camera-improved-thanks-to-firmware-update_id41224#3-

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 08:43 8

12. tech2 (Posts: 1919; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


hmmm......those images are sharper but the low light images are still the same !!!

Do you know if PA's blind test was after the firmware update ?

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 09:43 1

23. xperiaDROID (Posts: 5258; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Oh I didn't know that, but this is not a big deal dude! At least the camera and the images were ok right now!

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 11:27 2

29. Pedro0x (Posts: 271; Member since: 19 Oct 2012)


It is more than ok, but when I buy a phone for that kind of money I want the best not ok.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 11:46 3

32. xperiaDROID (Posts: 5258; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


The One is already the best! Or you can choose the Xperia Z!

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 08:32 8

10. boosook (Posts: 950; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


No, that's not true. Besides, the One has an optical stabilizer, which further improves its low-light capabilities. In daylight the S4 is better, but at dusk or in the night things DO change and are in favor of the One. Everyone will choose what he/she prefers, but let's not be sammy fanboys here...

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 08:47 2

15. tech2 (Posts: 1919; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


Can you clear up what's not true ?

If I was a fanboy I wouldn't be giving you reasons for my stance but rather blindly saying Samsung is better than HTC with no evidence or reason

Also, Optical stabilizer is very good but I fail to understand how it improves low-light capabilities?

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 09:17 5

20. IHateApple (banned) (Posts: 122; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)


Optical Stabilizer reduces/prevents the transmission of vibrations to the sensor and lens system. This gives the sensor more time to capture more light. That's why it improves low-light performance. Why do you think Lumia 920 has great low-light performance? It's because Lumia 920 has a great Optical Stabilization system.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 12:50

39. tech2 (Posts: 1919; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


Thanks for clearing that up !

Cheers !

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 09:24 1

21. joslicx (Posts: 2; Member since: 03 Apr 2013)


Optical stabilizer means camera can use slower shutter thereby allowing more light on sensor which helps in low light. Also One's lens is faster aperture f2.0 (compared to f2.4 on iphone5 or f2.2 on S4). This should also help in low light as wider aperture lens allows more light on the sensor.

Clearly the pictures in early review sites have been from pre production software that was subpar. But the new pics shared (for example on mobile-review's HTC one review) are quite good. They have compared with Lumia 920 also. See for yourself

The benefits of a optical stabilizer are very clearly seen in videos that are better than any other phone out there and rival those of 920.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 13:19 3

43. sbw44 (Posts: 384; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)


Choking? The Nokia 808 PV does 38mp photo's! handles more than 1 billion pixels per second in videos, has multiple Loseless Zoom options! all this on a ARM11 1.3Ghz Single Core Cpu and 512mb of RAM

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 13:26

44. joslicx (Posts: 2; Member since: 03 Apr 2013)


what he meant was simultaneous capturing HD video and 20 HD images. That would not be possible if camera sensor was 13MP as there will way too much data to process.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 13:28 1

45. takay0 (Posts: 144; Member since: 25 Mar 2012)


http://www.technobuffalo.com/2013/03/14/samsung-galaxy-s-4-vs-htc-one-quick-camera-comparison/

http://gizmodo.com/5990360/htc-one-ultrapixel-camera-how-does-it-stack-up

http://www.technobuffalo.com/2013/03/12/htc-one-vs-latest-smartphones-camera-comparison/
i think HTC iss good enouth

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 08:46 5

14. highonandroid (Posts: 19; Member since: 06 Mar 2013)


The Name UltraPixels is just to cover the 4 megapixels, cuz when you say 4megapixels it's shoking,, but it does produce bigger pixels so pictures are still visible in dark conditions, but HTC One low light pictures have too much noise compared to Lumia 920 and lumia 720, btw One lost against (mid-range) Nokia 720 in low light camera test, but the HTC One is still one of the best high-ends you can get, you won't be dissapointed..

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 17:39 1

61. HDShatter (Posts: 1021; Member since: 17 Jan 2013)


Wrong the best high ends are any intel phone with a cloverfield dual core + @2ghz or higher... HTC can go die, no micro sd, no removeable battery, they try to take down rooting sites and make their phones hard to root. Go away HTC nobody wants another Apple around.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 07:52 7

4. lovenyc8 (Posts: 164; Member since: 13 Mar 2013)


HTC has answered why at&t will be the only one getting the 64 Gb version of the phone here is screen shot from HTC USA Facebook page http://i.imgur.com/Bls1BGR.png

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 08:50 2

17. MartyK (Posts: 700; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)


Carriers sux big time!, manufacturers should give us the options to by pass these losers and allow us to order directly!
Thanks for the post!

posted on 08 Apr 2013, 17:54

76. JadeMoon (Posts: 27; Member since: 12 Aug 2012)


You can buy the 64gb Developer's Edition directly from HTC, but the damn thing doesn't support T-Mobile 1700mhz 4G band. If you want to pay $650 for a phone that has a 4mp camera and (for T-mobile customers) only runs at 2G, be my guest. The 32gb model is a waste of time because it lacks the microSD. So add space limitation to that list. This is why I have converted from HTC to Samsung.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 07:59 14

5. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


Dude, by choking the whole system is when you use Zoe, imagine taking 1080p for 4 seconds and at the same time taking 20 full resolution images at 13mp. That will slow the phone so much. That's why they ended up using a more manageable 4mp.

you are only comparing still shots, taken at full resolution. Of course it won't choke the system. But let your beloved Galaxy S4 do a 1080p 30fps video AND 20x13mp stills at the same time. Then we will have a case.

If you don't understand the article, and don't know how to make a justifiable comparison, then better don't comment, cus that will make you look like a fool. Thank you.

As for the One, I think they can improve the camera firmware even more. There is a significant improvement after a firmware upgrade as discovered by HWZ Singapore, but I still believe that they could do more to better the IQ. Admittedly, the One will not win in terms of image resolution and details from the current flagships lineup. But Image Quality is not only based on that alone. I do hope that this One can bring back HTC to where it used to be. Because they have made great devices before, but let down by poor marketing (and to some extent, battery life).

p.s. Those of you complaining about non expendable storage:http://blog.htc.com/usb-otg/ You're welcome.
and I still think that plugging an external power pack is more practical than to turn off the phone and swap battery and then redo whatever I was doing on the phone from start.
:)

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 08:46 3

13. MartyK (Posts: 700; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)


+1 and not only that, can we at least wait until we get the final version before we rule this new way of 'taking picture' out,..
The only intelligent thing to do is have all the phones in a real life shoot-out vs making assumptions on a pre release device; after all, if it turns out to be true (ultra is better) we will see all companies doing this.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 08:53 13

18. MrJerry (Posts: 392; Member since: 05 Oct 2012)


Dude

You gatta admit that HTC One camera sucks a lot.
The fact is proven by ALL OVER THE WORLD.
What is the point in having POOR pictures for ZOE?
Can we just not have ZOE and have good pictures?
Wouldn't it be better?
Even None of HTC lovers(Reviewers) said its camera is OK
For me this article is saying nothing more than just a lame excuse.
Most of users including geeks and haevy users just want to take good pictures and videos from their camera in smartphone.

Yes the Ultrapixel sounds promissing in the theory but it's not there yet by far.
Nevertheless they put it in ONE. Stupid move.
It would be much better if they put some mediocre 8MP camera instead of it.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 09:12 2

19. IHateApple (banned) (Posts: 122; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)


I smell smoke.Something must be burning.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 10:17 2

24. MartyK (Posts: 700; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)


When was this phone release?, who own this phone as of now?, all I'm saying is 40 years ago Motorola had a theory of a cell phone, and people (land line lovers) said the same thing about that!; keep an open mind (until you get it in your hand) about new things, and you might be surprise. I like don't think it's there yet, but since I've never use the device, I will give them a chance to impress me.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 10:33

26. MrJerry (Posts: 392; Member since: 05 Oct 2012)


This phone has realesed long enough to be tested most of it by many reviewers and it is even available in some countries.
If it is about GS4, I can understand what you said since there are still many tech wedsites who did not review it, though I am not sure the reason, maybe they don't have a final verson.
But HTC One, I think almost every websites have reviewed it and it makes sense when considering it's been out for some time

I don't say something early. I read so many reviews of it and also listened about it for quite a long time.
Therefore I know pretty much of it even though I didn't even actually test it..

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 16:34 1

55. chocolaking (Posts: 430; Member since: 22 May 2012)


You gotta admit that HTC one camera is so fantastic!!
The fact is proven by ALL OVER THE WORLD.
Such a good point to have great pictures for ZOE.
Can we just not have over sized pictures and bad camera lens and have ZOE?
Wouldn't it be better?
All of the HTC lovers(Reviewers) said its camera is amazing!!
For me this article is saying HTC have took the camera battle to another level.
Most of users including geeks and haevy users they would use a slr or dslr to take photos .

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 17:46 1

62. HDShatter (Posts: 1021; Member since: 17 Jan 2013)


HTC lovers are getting as bad as apple fanboys. Hopefully HTC keeps making bad phones and leaves the phone business after this and many more failed phones.

posted on 04 Apr 2013, 01:28

73. chocolaking (Posts: 430; Member since: 22 May 2012)


Samsung lovers are getting as bad as apple fanboys. Hopefully Samsung keeps making bad phones and leaves the phone business after this and many more failed phones.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 16:47

57. tadas86 (Posts: 3; Member since: 03 Apr 2013)


+1 , now this is the force to be reckoned with.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 08:16 12

6. cheetah2k (Posts: 773; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


Why not make it a 13MP cam, but when using Zoe, drop it to 4MP so that it doesn't "choke the system" ??

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 10:17 2

25. MrJerry (Posts: 392; Member since: 05 Oct 2012)


Good point

Maybe they thought reducing it to 4MP is also choking the system lol

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 11:29 4

31. mohkg (Posts: 9; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)


Lol htc is stupid im for the s4

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 08:19 4

7. pyradark (Posts: 752; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)


the big question is. will it sell?
is 700K pre order true?
hmmmm

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 11:27 5

30. mohkg (Posts: 9; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)


Thats bulls**t and i have never seen a feature as stupid as zoe

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 15:37 1

51. simplyj (Posts: 404; Member since: 23 Dec 2009)


I have, how about the floating touch, or auto pause when you look away from a movie? ZOE is awesome compared to those two

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 11:56 5

33. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


To MrJerry:

Well, i did not say that the camera is out of this world. I'd say it's okay, and definitely the iPhone 5 and GS4 do better on daylight shots. What I said is that, they could tweak the camera software more to give a better image quality. When I said that, means that it is not perfect yet.

gosh, I miss the world when people can read and interpret correctly. Nowadays, what I can get is just bunch of fanboys who can't read properly.

13/14mp is not good for Zoe, HTC's selling point, because it will take so much resources to process 4s of FHD clip and 20 shots in full 13/14mp. So people should stop comparing one single full resolution image. We're nit talking about the camera can't take full 13mp, it can, heck, the Titan 2 could, just that when we use Zoe, it will drain so much resources it will choke the whole system, get it, _bone_ and tech2?

and did I ever said that the camera is amazing in the first place? I didn't, nor did I say it is awful. All I said is that HTC could release an even better camera software to address the current shortcomings if they really want to bet on the whole Ultrapixel thing. Me being critical is wrong, right, MrJerry?

and just to let you all know, I still think that the One camera is sub par in terms of IQ compared to let's say, the iPhone 5 or the N8 (don't even compare it to the 808), and guess what? I'm an HTC Elevate member. And I dare to be critical about HTC. So please, don't be a fanboy here, and learn to give credits when its due, and be constructively critical as and when it's needed. Nothing's perfect, not even the One, or the iPhone 5, or the S4, or the 920.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 14:57 1

50. Android4u (Posts: 456; Member since: 16 Aug 2012)


Great post dude, and unfortunately , yes, fanboys will read something and blow it out of porportion, or not even know what the writer meant.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 16:21 1

53. chocolaking (Posts: 430; Member since: 22 May 2012)


To bayusuputra,
You got my respect with this article.
I wish there are more ppl like you would actually make comments more.

posted on 03 Apr 2013, 23:02

71. MrJerry (Posts: 392; Member since: 05 Oct 2012)


Dear bay

You might not intent to but you comment sounds that you are just defending HTC One camera.
You said a bunch of fanboys didn't not read your comment properly.
Well it's possible they do misunderstand your point partially and it is quite possible too you wrote something unclearly based on what I read.
Heck of course you did not say whether its camera is good or bad but your nuance of comment said so.
And software?
Dude what is the point to install better software not in the first place?
Yes everyone makes mistakes but this camera thing is too obvious.
Even elemantary school students can tell it is worse than the others and I bet they knew this issue even before the annoucement but they pushed it to the market anyway and let everybody know about its camera faulty

I would say it sucked when they fix all the issues but it just sucks a lot now.

PS. We don't discuss the perfection of which camera here. This doesn't even apply to HTC One. People bash it cause it is below average.

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