HTC One M8 Highlights New Camera Features – Forbes

Smartphone maker HTC HTC is looking to regain some of its lost momentum and market share, with the new HTC One M8. The brushed metal body of the latest version of HTC’s flagship smartphone is meant to convey a premium product, and the company has updated its BlinkFeed interface which brings together personal events and social media news on your home screen. But the main pitch of the HTC One M8 is aimed at mobile photographers.

At a press event in New York City, Jonah Becker, HTC’s design chief, touted the obligatory, “it takes better photos in all conditions” claim, along with a faster capture time. The more notable features, however, revolved around a secondary rear camera. This additional camera is essentially a depth sensor. The One M8 will allow you to automatically place different areas of the scene out of focus after you’ve captured the image with the One M8′s primary 28mm F 2.0 lens.

Now, a big caveat is in order here, one which will likely take the shine off for many hobbyist photographers. There is no optical refocusing going on, as you’d get with a traditional large sensor DSLR or mirrorless camera. Nor is this akin to the lightfield approach introduced with the Lytro camera. It’s all a software edit, similar to what dozens of camera editing apps already offer. The advantage here is that you won’t have to manually specify near and far objects in the scene, since the secondary depth sensor has captured that information. This saves some time and effort, and could introduce the shallow depth of field effect to a wider audience, but it’s simply streamlining functionality that mobile photographers have already enjoyed.

THe HTC One M8 offers a dual rear camera setup, offering some creative photo effects.

THe HTC One M8 offers a dual rear camera setup, offering some creative photo effects.

If you’re a fan of filter effects, this depth mapping information will allow the camera to automatically apply effects to everything except the foreground subject, for instance. HTC demoed a few rather uninspiring ones in the press event, but did say it is opening up the camera API to developers, so we may see some better possibilities.

Something photographers will find very practical is the ability to save manual exposure settings as presets that can be called up from a main screen for later use. Video shooters can pause movie capture, for real-time cuts, without creating a separate video file. And a new “zoe” mode allows you to shoot either stills or video from the same screen by tapping or holding the shutter icon. The One M8 has a 5-inch display, 5MP front camera and a 2600mAh battery to power its Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor. A microSD slot is available for additional storage.

HTC is clearly hoping to turn around its recent fortunes with the One M8. The phone will be available today for customers in the U.S. and Canada, both online and in Verizon retail stores.


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