Camera (and motion video) talk - the Ultrapixel and more (tips/discussion)Support

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  1. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon Moderator


    If only this picture had, oh, I don't know - moar dots.


    Then it might be ok. But, just look at how terrible that is.


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  2. KOLIO

    KOLIO Gruß vom Krampus Guide

    To paraphrase Christopher Walken:

    SNL-MORE COW BELL!! - YouTube

    We need more dots...... :p

    Maybe there's an app for that,just so the naysayers can say "Told ya so".Wouldn't want them to walk disappointed........:rolleyes:
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  3. toolwarrior

    toolwarrior Well-Known Member

    I have been reading as many reviews as I can find on the One and its camera. In all fairness, much of the criticism about its camera is centered around outdoor photos where there is far more light involved. Most of the low/lower light shots do look good. It would have been nice if the two HTC customers had also taken outdoor shots, as well. In my case, I would like the phone to not only do well in low light, but also with outdoor shots. Early, I have been following your posts for many years, I and I highly respect your opinions. You also seem to have knowledge in the area of photography and taking photos. My question is - Will there be a way to get the One to take good photos outside? You mentioned getting ride of the compression. In my ignorance, I do not really know why HTC would be doing this, but anytime I see the word "compression" it usually is not good. I love everything else about the One but I have to have a good "all around" camera too.
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  4. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon Moderator

    I started developing my own film over 40 years ago. In film, I've done about 40% of my shooting with medium format cameras (2 1/4 twin lens Rolleis, various Mamiyas) and the rest in 35 mm.

    I'm a babe in the woods on a lot of digital photography compared to many around here (novox is especially current and much more informed), but I know a _lot_ about digital signal processing and digital imaging processing, I did that professionally including for space-based platforms.

    So, let's get down to cases on compression.

    We'll begin with RGB model that you've all heard of. Maybe you've seen things where you can do color adjustments on your desktop - sliders for red, green and blue with values of 0 to 255 for each. I have that for fonts coloring on my email, for example. That's a 24-bit color model - used on your monitor, your TV, mostly everywhere. It gets its name because an 8-bit byte can contain decimal values from 0 to 255, and 3 bytes is 24 bits - aka - 16,777,216 colors.

    Let's do the math - on a 4.3 MP camera such as we're talking about here, an uncompressed 24-bit color picture would take (4.3 MegaPixel * 3 Bytes/Pixel=) 12.9 MB.

    For an 8 MP camera, that's 24 MB for each picture.

    Enter the jpeg format. Virtually all jpegs are compressed, and it's what we call a lossy compression method - it doesn't preserve everything. Your PC zip files are lossless - you can reverse it and get out what you put in. Jpegs are not, and actually use the same sort of math that's used in making CD music discs.

    Jpeg compression is controllable, it's not just one thing. On my favorite, simple desktop image tool, I get a slider when I'm converting and saving jpeg files to control low-quality/high-compression up to best-quality/low-compression.

    If you have a digital camera, you may have options on it for file size expressed in quality terms - that's a jpeg compression adjustment.

    Phone cameras are typically fixed for that.

    Because HTC is all about photo sharing and social stuff, they've always chosen a higher compression as their preset to get smaller file sizes - and that compression introduces noise.

    When you compress an image and lose quality, we describe that introducing noise or introducing artifacts depending on the crowd discussing it. It means things don't look perfect and detail is lost - and how much can vary quite a bit.

    Here's a nice series of the same picture with varying levels of compression to illustrate -

    JPEG - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    In my next post, I'll take some screen shots to show these mystical adjustments that I have and that I expect to eventually come to the custom community for this phone.


    Let's talk about detail.

    Earlier I said that the eye perceives detail from color saturation and contrast first and actual dots last. Every television engineer and SMPTE member knows that's a stone cold fact. If I could have a controlled situation where you could view a low def large TV with color and contrast right, next to a same-sized HDTV with the same image and those things wrong, you'd swear in court that the wrong one was the HDTV. I didn't believe it either, but I've seen it, I've failed the test, and it's no joke. Including still images of text.

    marctronixx is a professional expert in this area, probably has forgotten more than I've known.

    Here's an example that really hits home - which of these was taken with more megapixels?



    Obviously, I spoiled the fun and you probably know that that is the exact same image just adjusted for color.

    Anyway - come back in half an hour, forget the words and just look at the pictures. Tell me if you don't see more detail in one than the other.

    Courtesy of Colorfulness - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Let's talk about depth of field vs. aperture.

    The HTC features an F/2.0 aperture. That's the ratio of the diameter of the lens opening to it's focal distance. Think of the pupil of one of your eyes. When it's wide open, it takes in more light, when it's smaller, it doesn't (look at someones eyes in dim light vs the same person in bright light).

    A low number means more open. On phone cameras, unlike your eyes, that's fixed to one size.

    The HTC is more open to light than anything else, that's before we even hit the light-sensitive 1/3" 4.3 MP sensor.

    But - it comes with a trade-off.

    It's called depth-of-field.

    Put two people in a shot, one behind the other. Are they both in focus? Then they're both in the lens (or your eyes) depth-of-field. Have the one in back move further back. More. More. A little more... OK. If they're both not in focus at the same time, they've moved out of the depth-of-field.

    A bigger opening, like the F/2.0 setup here, has a lower depth-of-field than a smaller opening.

    That means for wide-area photos, you want to pick your point of focus for what you're most interested in coming out the sharpest. Actually, you want to do that on any camera, but maybe more so with this one.

    It's never been an issue for me on my One X with the same F/2.0 setup, but I tend to always tap my subject for focus anyway, rather than trust the phone to guess.


    Finally, let's talk about those pesky daylight photos. :)

    Or any light photos for that matter.

    You don't have to just point and shoot. You can, and you'll usually get decent results.

    However - if you can take the time (and often you can if you want), you can try nudging the adjustments on the camera app to adjust exposure (see novox's earlier post explaining that what some of the weenies (my word, not his) call washed out are simply not exposed properly).

    The light meter in any camera will only make a best guess. Maybe some of what you've seen or heard about was a bit of mis-metering. Maybe some of it was color adjustment. And maybe your results will vary if you're taking pictures into the light or away from it, at noon or 4 pm, near the shore or up in the mountains.

    You can adjust for light sensitivity in your exposures outdoors with an ISO adjustment, and for light temperature with a white adjustment.

    I'll go ahead and toss in the light adjustments on my HTC in my next post as well.


    With the exception of the megapixels, I heard a lot of this criticism about the One X camera when it came out.

    And a whole lot of it was hogwash.

    If you want quality pictures, take time to make adjustments. If you want more quality, get a camera app with even more adjustments.

    If you don't have time in general to make adjustments, get a decent desktop photo editor, and make the adjustments after the fact. You can't do as much, but you can do a lot.

    You can also edit quite a bit on the phone. I use this -


    Already a photographer and want a handy app for your other camera, just because? Check out -

    Hope this helps a little.

    Now - for some app shots to show the adjustment ideas.
  5. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon Moderator

    This is from my One X.

    The compression and video bitrates are custom, the rest are stock HTC.

    Do the math - there are thousands of combinations of adjustments there.

    You don't have to settle for default - but you can, and still get good results.

    Attached Files:

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  6. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon Moderator

    I do one of these every year, I guess it's about that time. If you know me, you've seen this before. :)

    If you think that you need high tech to take emotionally satisfying and fun pictures, then I offer this short video made on a Fisher-Price toy camera from years ago, the PXL2000 - 120x90 interlaced video - that's 10,800 pixels per frame.

    About .01 MP video, right here.

    Even if we're all wrong and megapixels do matter:

    No. No, they do not. ;)
  7. toolwarrior

    toolwarrior Well-Known Member

    These are some great posts, Early. Very educational. Even though you didn't answer my question, directly, I believe your intent was to say that "yes" you should be able to take good "all around" pictures with the One - but..... it sounds like you have to be willing to fuss, fiddle and adjust to do it.

    For those of us that are "photographically challenged," I think that what we are looking for is a bit of a holy grail. Point - shoot - SHAZAM! Instant great picture. I guess I learned more than I wanted to today :rolleyes:
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  8. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon Moderator

    You're liable to get decent pictures just clicking.

    If you want better, you can get that too. ;)
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  9. novox77

    novox77 Leeeroy Jennnkinnns! VIP Member

    I did a really simple proof that 2-3 megapixels is sufficient back in another forum here a few years back.

    Basically I took two photos of a bird feeder in my back yard. It is intricate and has a delicate mesh.

    One photo was taken by an entry-level dSLR at 3 megapixels. The other was taken by my current smartphone at the time that boasted 8 megapixels.

    When looking at the detail at native 1:1 resolution, it was clear that way more detail was present on the 3 megapixel dSLR shot than the 8mp phone shot.

    Some of you might be saying, "Well duh, a dSLR obviously takes better photos than a cell phone camera." To which I say, "Duh, that's not the point." The point is that if you have high quality optics and a high quality sensor, and a good implementation of these components, you will capture good detail even if you are "restricted" in pixels.

    Blu-ray at 1080p, absent of high jpeg lossy compression (which Early explained in a few posts before this one), looks really, really good and sharp. I was floored when I saw it for the first time in a Sony store circa 2008. And what's the megapixels for a given frame of 1080p? It's 1920x1080=2.073 megapixel. Just 2mp.

    Any perceived image quality problems in the HTC One camera can't be blamed from their megapixel downsizing. It's something else that's still not quite up to snuff.

    I used to shoot exclusively at 3mp with my dSLR until more recently when I upgraded to a pro dSLR and the minimum setting was 6mp. So now I shoot at 6mp. I have no need to shoot at the full 21mp because I won't need to be printing billboard-sized photos.
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  10. toolwarrior

    toolwarrior Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the input, Novox. Early and I have had a brief volley of posts about this and I remain concerned that the One will require more "user input" for good photos than just - point and shoot. Personally, I am not a photo fiddler, but I do like decent photos and need a good camera on my next phone for work reasons. I am undecided now between the One and the GS4. I have been reading reviews in both forums looking for clues to push me one way or the other. Boom sound... that one is hard to beat, but reviewers are saying the GS4 is nearly as good. What? Really? How is that with a single rear-facing speaker? But all we have to go on here in the US is the professional and some personal reviews for both of these phones. My long winded point is that the professional reviewers are really giving the GS4 high marks in the camera department. So my question to you photo experts is this. Even though I get both you and Early's point about the ability to get good shots with lower pixels, is it more user friendly and easier to get a better "all around" set of photos if the pixels are high like the GS4's 13 megapixels? I am sure others are wondering about this as well. ;)
  11. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon Moderator

    Megapixels has nothing to do with it.
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  12. Hadron

    Hadron Well-Known Member Contributor

    It will also depend on where you shoot. If the S4 is like the S3 (not seen enough to know yet) then the One will take usable pictures in lighting conditions the S4 won't take anything in. Remember that "low light" is an imprecise term, and a bar at night will be a lot lower light than say GSMArena's "low light" test.

    Whether this matters at all depends on the individual.
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  13. Scootmien

    Scootmien Well-Known Member Contributor

    I'm posting this here too. I posted it in another thread as I was specifically asked a question but it is more relevant in this thread.

    Honestly, for my uses, the camera on the One is absolutely fine in comparison to the iPhone. I've found a number of uses for the extra functionality and the low light is way better on the One than the iPhone. I can't really see much difference between the two to the naked eye. I'm pleased as Punch.

    iPhone 5 picture using standard settings. No zoom, no alterations.


    HTC One picture using standard settings as above. No zoom, no alterations.


    In both pictures, the focus is on the waxy gold top of the bottle in the middle.
  14. novox77

    novox77 Leeeroy Jennnkinnns! VIP Member

    Sometimes I feel like we ought to make our phone camera selection based on which post-processing filter we prefer the most.... These days, the optics, sensor, pixels, etc probably have less impact than the post-processing.

    From an optical physics standpoint, I think we've mastered the pinhole camera. What makes the "camera" stand out is the intelligence of the post processing: can the firmware figure out the best settings to apply to a given shot?

    When we're comparing photos taken in a bar, we're not comparing megapixels, or optics, or sensor quality. We're comparing which firmware can fix the crappy photo the best.

    Garbage in, garbage out. If you take a photo in the worst physical conditions possible, you aren't going to get a good picture. But maybe the "auto-photoshop" in the firmware can salvage it somewhat.
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  15. toad6386

    toad6386 Well-Known Member

    Trying to be as objective as possible, I would say the One's picture is better. I say that not only because the label of the foremost bottle and the gold top in the iPhone's pic seems washed, (that may be because it seems a tad closer). But look at the Jack Daniels bottle in the back (I was weened off Jack before I got married :eek:). Tho not a focal point of either pic, the detail is clearer in the One's pic than the iPhone's. At least in this comparison, I would think the advantage goes to the One.
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  16. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon Moderator

    The iPhone has a great reputation for its camera.

    Every situation and picture will vary but -

    I think that you just got your question answered, in large part if not completely, about the suitability of the One camera and you just identified the one with fewer megapixels as having better detail. On a close-up.

    Megapixels. Myth. ;)

    Color and contrast. Fact. :)
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  17. craftycarper

    craftycarper Well-Known Member

    Bottom line is, if you are taking a pic with your phone, it's as a memory, a keepsake of a situation you are in, and have the phone camera to hand, you ain't gonna start blowing stuff up to unrealistic sizes......if you are, then it's not a phone you need to carry with you.
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  18. KOLIO

    KOLIO Gruß vom Krampus Guide

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  19. Scootmien

    Scootmien Well-Known Member Contributor

    Yep, this is what clinched it for me. The iPhone camera is great, sure, but the One camera edges it out for the type of use I will be putting it through. I think the picture from the iPhone might be a tad closer but it didn't really change that the Balvenie bottle stayed washed out at any short distance on the screen of the iPhone as I took the picture.

    I'm more than happy to take a couple more comparison shots of something else if it would assist though?
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  20. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon Moderator

    Please, I'd love to see them.
  21. Scootmien

    Scootmien Well-Known Member Contributor

    No worries, i'll go out into the garden in a bit. It's very grey and overcast here as we only seem to get summer between 14:17 and 15:23 on the 23 July every year... :D

    I can't wait to move to LA...
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  22. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon Moderator

    Please try a few HDR shots if it's overcast. :)
  23. Scootmien

    Scootmien Well-Known Member Contributor

    OK, here are a couple of pictures from each taken in my garden. I'm using standard settings on the iPhone 5 and HTC One barring both have HDR enabled. I've made sure that both of the pictures were taken from the same distance away from the subject too.

    On each of these first two pics, the focal point is the flower at centre middle of the frame.

    iPhone 5


    HTC One


    The focal point of these next two pictures is the closest knotted right angle branch.

    iPhone 5


    HTC One


    I honestly prefer the HTC one pictures. The colours might not be so bright but I feel they are more natural given that I know what the original scene looks like with my naked eye. I'm afraid you'll have to take my word for that, sorry.

    Anyway, in comparison, I really do think the HTC One has the better camera.
  24. craftycarper

    craftycarper Well-Known Member

    Can you post the 2 photos from the One, with "auto enhance" applied in the gallery as well please Scootmien?
  25. Scootmien

    Scootmien Well-Known Member Contributor

    Sure thing. Here they are. I think I did it right. Gallery > Edit > Effects > Auto Enhance

    I think I prefer them non-enhanced, personally.



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