Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Holidaying with the HTC One V: Camera Review

I just returned from a bank holiday break in Dorset. Accompanying me was a HTC One V (thanks Three UK for the loan!) and my Lumia 800. Throughout the short break, I used the One V's camera extensively and was impressed by the camera's performance relative to its price point as an entry level device. While the image quality is a downgrade compared to the Lumia 800 and One X, the One V performed well for a phone with a tiny 5MP sensor. Even then the One V offers more accurate colour and white balance compared to the Lumia 800 on auto setting.

The 5MP sensor here is a BSI variety, meaning that the sensor is back-illuminated. As a result, together with the 28mm f/2 lens, the One V handles low light photography better than previous HTC devices. The One V comes with an assorted number of options including panorama, filter effects like distortion, vignetting and 'depth of field' (which aims to simulate miniature faking on tilt shift lens), ISO, white balance, face detection, geo tagging, macro mode and low light photography.

The camera app also allows for image capture while video capturing. Images captured this way are outputted in 1280x720 resolution, which is the same resolution of the video captured. Incidentally, videos are captured in 720p30 resolution with continuous autofocus.

Like most modern smartphones, the One V also comes equipped with built-in HDR mode. HDR works by allowing the camera to capture three simultaneous images, an overexposed, underexposed and 'normal' image and then using the information on all three images to produce a single image with high dynamic range contrast. The tiny image sensor on the HTC One V suffers from poor dynamic range, and HDR will help with improving this, at least on paper.

In truth, there is a trade off when using HDR mode. Due to the need to capture three successive images, any small movements will often result in a blurry HDR image. This is a reason why DSLR users uses tripod when capturing images needed for making a HDR image. Unfortunately due to the slower processing and capturing speed on the One V, the blurry movement effect is more pronounced on the One V than on previous smartphones I have tested like the One X and Galaxy S2 with third party app.

While the dynamic range does improve with when using HDR mode, I found the result to be very artificial and over processed, often looking like something that can be done via boosting the dynamic range of a single original image using software.

Do check out the extensive number of untouched image samples after the break.

HDR samples

Panorama Samples


Todd said...

Those panoramics are ace Jon

Anonymous said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing..