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What Every HTC One Owner Should Know About the UltraPixel Camera to Never Miss a Shot

Most smartphone manufacturers focus on megapixels when it comes to cameras, but HTC took a different direction with the HTC One. Instead of trying to compete with the 13MP camera on the Samsung Galaxy S4, or the 20MP camera on the Sony Xperia Z1, or even the newer iPhone's 8MP, they decided on a simple 4MP camera.

At first, you might think that 4MP is terrible, but not so fast. There are many advantages to your HTC One's camera that other phones just don't have.

The Megapixel Myth

Some people believe that more megapixels equals a better photo. This would be true if every camera had the same sensor size, but that's not always the case.

What HTC did with the "UltraPixel Camera" on the One was use a larger sensor that has only 4 megapixels. This means the phone can function better in lower light because the sensor can process more information due to the larger size.

However, it's not all good news. Since the sensor is only 4 megapixels, there is very little detail in the images when zoomed in. HTC felt that the trade off was worth it to improve low-light performance.

Always Make Sure You Get the Best Shot with Zoe

HTC Zoe is a new feature that automatically takes 20 pictures and a 3-second video every time you tap the shutter button. This is nice, especially if you're trying to take a picture where you don't want to miss any details.

This allows you to select the best picture of the group, in case any of the other ones are blurry or under or overexposed. A great feature in those critical life moments!

Since there is a lot of data being stored, it's best to disable auto upload on Google+ or Dropbox to prevent your cloud storage from being used up due to the large files.

That's not all Zoe is good for though.

Zoe can create sequenced pictures to create animated GIF-like pictures. It also allows you to change the faces of people in your picture in case someone didn't smile (you can find one of the 20 shots where they were smiling). Additionally, you can create a highlights package of a video that you shot for a quick reel on the fly. All very useful stuff.

With Zoe, the ability to choose the best shot is as simple as a slide of your finger!

A Walkthrough of the Main Camera Interface

There are a ton of customizable options on the HTC One camera app. I'm going to walk you through all of the features and hopefully you'll be able to make sense of them all!

First, we have the main interface:

You'll notice the main interface is pretty simple. There are buttons to take pictures, videos, turn the flash on/off, open up the camera effects, open the settings, open the gallery, and zoom in/out (also can be done by pinching). To focus, simply tap on the screen wherever you want your focal point to be.

Also take note of the two shutter buttons. The reason there are two is that you can take pictures while you're taking a video.

The Camera Settings Menu

Next, let's dive into the settings.

When you first open the settings, you will find options to change the camera between the front and rear lenses, as well as camera modes, different camera presets, and all of the different camera adjustments.

You'll notice there is an arrow next to the "Scene" mode.

This is where you'll set options for the type of picture you're going to take, such as HDR, macro, landscape, text, and so on.

Image via wonderhowto.com

Sample Shots Using the Different Modes

Here are two macro shots I took of some leaves with my One's camera.

And a panoramic shot of the trees.

Image via wonderhowto.com

The Settings for Video Shooting

Next, you'll find the video settings. The One allows for a lot of various types of video shooting, such as 60fps high-speed videos for action shots, slow-motion video, and even video HDR.

HDR vs. Non-HDR Photos

HDR, or high-dynamic-range, is a type of picture mode where the contrast between dark and light areas in greater, creating a more exaggerated image. Most smartphones have an HDR mode now, but the One does a really good job.

Examples: regular scene (left), HDR (right)

Images via wonderhowto.com

More examples: regular scene (left), HDR (right)

What's Sightseeing Mode?

The HTC One camera app also features a mode called sightseeing mode. What that means, is that when you lock the screen while the camera app is running, the next time you press the Power button, the device will already be in the camera app to take a quick picture.

Convenient indeed!

Getting Weirdly Colored Images in Low Light?

Don't worry, HTC knows about it and is working a fix into the OTA 4.3 update that you will receive from your carrier soon. Right know, HTC is recommending to lower the ISO level to reduce the problem, but a real fix should be coming in the update.

The Handy Lockscreen Shortcut

By default, there's a lock screen shortcut for the camera app. Simply drag the camera icon up to unlock directly into the camera app.

It's nothing that other smartphone's don't already have, but a necessity for any on-the-go photographer nonetheless.

So, Does Having Only 4MP Really Matter?

There are many ways to maximize the sensor of the HTC to get great pictures out of it. The 4MP is merely a pointless number in a time where megapixels don't matter and where the right settings make or break the image.

Have fun and good luck shooting pictures out there! And if you have any cool tips for maximizing the potential of the One's camera, share them with us below.

2 Comments

Awesome! Was wondering whether Megapixel or Ultrapixel. Cheers :)

HTC ONE camera in HDR Mode or: Best 3rd party app for HDR Mode?:
-HDR Camera +

  • Camera HDR Studio
  • HDR camera

Hi all. I have the update 4.3 Android version. I've been told to use HDR Mode in camera settings to get best photo in low light or when there is bright and low light. I have tried Night Mode but it NEVER produced good shots. Overall, I am happy with the photos. I compared a friends Sony Xperia z1 camera with my HTC ONE camera. Overall, if you do not crop, zoom in or want to blow up your pictures into photos, its a great camera. However, when it comes to HDR Mode, I was told to install a 3rd party app for this as HTC's HDR Mode is not consistent and was told some 3rd party apps are better for HDR. These are:

  • Camera HDR Studio
  • HDR camera ( i believe this free app has full HDR features from HDR Camera +). Not sure if that's true? Anyone know?

-HDR Camera +

Overall, in forums, HDR Camera+ and HDR Camera; Camera HDR Studio including and, maybe even Snap Camera HDR (had one great review I read for HTC ONE but from my personal experience, not so good) are the better apps and better for HDR use than the HTC HDR Mode.

Can anyone suggest one over the other for my HTC ONE?

Thanks all!

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