Print from the HTC One camera

A skilled hand and the HTC One's UltraPixel camera turns a lakeside sunset into art anyone would be proud to display

There are three constants you'll hear when anyone is discussing smartphone cameras: more MegaPixels doesn't mean "better", the best camera is the one you're carrying, and there are no bad cameras -- only bad photographers. This 46-inch wide print from a panorama photo taken by the HTC One's 4MP camera tells us all three just might be true.

The folks at SpittingImages let us know just what they did to the 5798 x 1088 sized 5.5MB image taken at Bobcaygeon, Ontario, and the work they describe to get it ready to hang over your fireplace or behind the couch is surprisingly light. Much less than what I have to do to make my pictures from a more expensive camera half as presentable. 

Of course, this is really a testament to the skill of the photographer, but it's still really cool seeing a picture snapped with the HTC One turned into an objet d'art. Be sure to follow the source link below to have a read, then head into the forums and thank k-fos for sharing! There's also one more view of the finished piece after the break.

Source: SpittingImages; via: Android Central Forums 

Print from the HTC One camera

 

Reader comments

About that MegaPixel myth: This 46" print from the HTC One camera looks awesome

93 Comments

Considering how low light the subject is, probably pretty shitty - unless the sensor size was also increased three-fold, that is.

Until Sam make there own stack technology censor. That day Sam's Fanboy will say Ohh it so amazing camera. This day they love mosaic technology with high resolution.

Think they do - the masses just think 12MP>4MP regardless of any other factors in the camera. That's to be expected, tech isn't easy to understand and the unwashed masses aren't particularly known for being fully up to date on all of the details of technology. But go ahead, enjoy your plastic toy and comically oversaturated screen with that ugly green plastered everywhere.

You do realize, this is no longer a 4mp image. Anytime you stitch images together the MP count goes up. Sure you can get a good print using a pano... obviously. But so can an old phone camera, with enough pictures taken..

If you look at any good picture of a smartphone on the Internet, you'll notice it's slightly overexposed. This gives the right amount of detail to see the phone itself, as well as things like speaker holes, or buttons, or logos.  And everyone likes bright pictures better than dark pictures when they're looking for detail.

When you overexpose a picture of something that's 90% backlit screen, the screen blows out. You have to mask things off and make adjustments :)

Actually I'm referring to this 'Much less than what I have to do to make my pictures from a more expensive camera half as presentable'

The process you described is about the same, smartphone or not. Adjustments shouldn't take too long to finish. It's something you can do in Lightroom in about 10 minutes.

My HTC One never leave my side... I am in the medical field. I prefer it over my SGS3. That`s not mean the SGS3 is a bad phone, the SGS3 it`s on of the best too.
Jerry seem you like to get the late night stories... I read all your article all the time... Keep up the good work.

Guess what? The iPhone 5 also performs better than the iPhone 4S, and the 4, and...

You can't compare phones in different generations. The GS3 is over a year old already. Put it against the GS4 and you'll be sorely disappointed with the HTC One. BTW, I also own a One.

every picture comparison I've seen between GS4 and the ONE come out the same. Bright light outdoor pictures on the GS4 are SLIGHTLY better. color representation and everything else is dramatically better on the ONE. Good outdoor bright sunlight pictures are easy on ANY camera. Hanging your hat on the GS4 because it beats the ONE in that category only, a category where it is remarkable easy to generate good pictures, is just silly.

I had the ONE for a few weeks and the pics were not good. Did they happen to say what software the used to make this picture look so good?

Usually something like Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop.

Since they're involved in printing as a business I'd expect them to use something along those lines.

My friend hates his One camera and says his Motorola takes better pictures, he has a few photo editing apps and says those help to clear up the picture but not enough.

I would really love for one of these manufacturers to get together with Cannon or Olympus, or Nikon and try and develop a very decent camera and sensor and see if it could be done on a phone.

There is no room.

A "real" camera has a "real" lens and a "real" sensor. Both of which are much larger than anyone would tolerate on a phone. The end.

Good question. The built-in panoramic mode was used to stitch multiple images together automatically. Yes, there was some pixelation happening at that size, so I added a slight film grain to the whole image. Its more pleasing than seeing square pixels. Also a subtle warming colour overlay was applied on top. There's a few more details at the source (my blog).

Kudos on the great print, seriously. You should send a copy to Gordon Downie. He's the only reason I've ever even heard of Bobcaygeon.

It is very obvious to me, with that said, that is an exceptional picture taken by an exceptional photographer. I am quite proficient with phones and yet don't understand and would't know how to apply the effects you did.

What I got out of this is:
1) Pixelation is an issue
2) This is several images stitched together therefor is not at all a testiment to the Ones ability to take a 46" photograph.
3) You will need to understand editing tools well

I'm sure I could dig up my 2003 Nokia 2625i sliding phone and recreate a similar photograph on its 3.2mp camera, with similar nohow.

Conclusion: This photograph does not prove HTC One's camera do be impressive in the slightest and the title of this article which states camera issues as being a myth is grossly misleading.

I agree. Even though increasing the megapixels can have an adverse affect on same-sized sensors. In the phone department, it still matters. And matters a lot.

This article is indeed glorifying a phone for something that any 5-year-old phone is capable of doing.

With similar parameters, once could make a much larger and much more detailed image using pretty much any of the GS phones.

All in all, pointless article.

PS - I really feel like AC is all over this phone's butt for some reason. Is it just me?

Does it really matter that AC is all over the One's butt??? Seriously, the competition has nothing to worry about (Samsung, Iphone), so why so much HTC One hate on this segment?? It's crazy actually! HTC is the little guy that will never get noticed by the cute girl, unless she likes geeks!

I have this phone and it's fabulous in every way including the camera. I keep reading don't crop or blow up the pics that you take because they will look horrible, and i just haven't been able to replicate horrible. In fact, i've noticed that you have to pay some attention to your subject, lighting, and movement just like with any other camera, and i have received great results. And, lets not even talk about "highlights" and "Zoes", these are not gimmicks and i trust there will be plenty of applications trying to mimmick these really cool features on this Camera!I find it hilarious that the camera is the one "Knock" this phone has and it's only because it's not ad worthy! But, i find it hard to believe that when any Iphone or SG4 customer compares the phones that they are not wishing "Damn, why didn't Samsung think of making my phone with this gorgeous aluminum body and awesome screen ...and WTF those are really awesome stereo speakers on that phone! Why couldn't my Iphone have awesome speakers like that?"

Holding the HTC in your hand compared to holding the SG4 is like the difference between riding in a Mercedes Benz and a Toyota Camry...There is no comparison They're not in the same league. And, I really don't care if my Benz can't drive 1000 miles on one tank of gas like the Camry.

I'm betting I will still get there in time!!

Sorry, but the benz isnt a benz when there's a fiesta engine in it. Not saying the HTC sucks, but theres MUCH more to a smartphone than metal. Do you buy metal toothbrushes instead of plastic?

fiesta engine? well the engine of a smart phone would have to be the processor right?
and the gs4 has the same processor as the one just overclocked and it still LAGS. you wont find any lag on the one. yes i have both and htc one is a way better phone overall and most reviews say the same.

Re #2
He said he used the built in panorama mode, so yes, it actually IS a testament to the One's ability to take a 46" photograph.

"I'm sure I could dig up my 2003 Nokia 2625i sliding phone and recreate a similar photograph on its 3.2mp camera, with similar nohow."

Probably not. The individual pictures would be much worse on your Nokia so stitching them together won't create a better quality image than the one in the article. You would just have a larger image at the same crappy quality. The subject in this image is fairly low light which is where the larger pixels on the HTC One really have the advantage - an old feature phone wouldn't be able to come close.

I was in a meeting with HTC at CTIA two weeks ago, and in the meeting room there were two 60 x 40 prints on the walls with images taken by the HTC One. They weren't sharp images or anything, but because they were printed on canvas, they didn't have to be. The images were stunning, and I remember thinking to myself, "I can't believe a 4MP camera could make prints this huge with this kind of quality." Megapixel myth, indeed.

I think the One is just a stepping stone for future HTC cameras. I'm really interested in what they come up with next year. Nokia EOS (if its not hideously bulky and ugly) would be something to look at too. Smartphone cameras will definitely replace compact cameras in a few years. We'll have smartphones, mirrorless and DSLR cameras. No more compacts.
One of these OEMs might even do the first micro four thirds smartphone with acceptable dimensions in the near future!

Correction. Smartphones cameras will NEVER replace a digital camera. Even compact ones. It's simple physics buddy. The optics just can't compare when dealing with the limited dimensions of a phone.

Maybe not replace current compact digitals but compared to ones from 5+ years ago they're doing pretty well.

I agree. I'm not impressed by this camera but love what HTC is doing. I don't buy into you needing 13mp. But I also think 4 was sort of a miss. In almost every comparison test done, the S4 has beaten it in overall picture performance with low light being the one place it always wins.

I really look forward to the tweaks performed in generation 2 and I hope they double the pixel count. "mega pixel" with some actual pixels may finally be the first fantastic all around camera.

Easy to imagine- if it were not a bright light photo, it would be underexposed or contain not enough information.

Remember- they are trading number of pixels for better low-light performance.

You're right.. Sort of. Printing on canvas can sometimes allow for images with lower resolution to be printed with good results. Depends on many factors. However, at typical viewing distances, regardless of the material its printed on, a 60" x 40" print will look great at almost any resolution.

With the right equiptment, high quality materials and an experienced printer, you can get amazingly detailed prints on canvas without losing quality.

A 2:3 image from the HTC One is 2303x1520; 50 dpi without a ton of processing is going to be ridiculously grainy, unless you kept your distance. In reality any print from the HTC One more than 4"x6" without a ton of postprocessing is going to have a lot of grain in it. Some photos are OK to dither (sunsets or other gradients) but anything with a lot of pattern or detail look gross. I have tried it.

Son of a bitch, you beat me to it. What a great song from a supremely underrated band. I love me some Rush, but The Hip might be the best Canadian export this side of Tim Horton's.

Damn! I still can't believe someone else beat me to it.

That's skill right there. I'd never imagine doing such a thing from any phone camera. But it definitely is possible, as seen here!

I hate the ultrapixel term. It's a megapixel.

Yes, the individual pixel is bigger than that of competing cellphones, but it's not bigger than that of a 12 megapixel SLR, and that's still called a megapixel.

I get why HTC calls it an ultrapixel, but I really wish tech blogs simply referred to it as a megapixel.

but, what is the res of the phone's photo?
It's seems to be a panorama taken on vertical (the aspect ratio on horizontal ones is 8.82:1 this is 5.33:1), shouldn't be AAAx2688?

Also say that is a 4MPx photo is wrong for 2 reasons, 1 actually 5798x1088 are 6MPx, 2 this come out from 8 photos at 4MPx, so we are talking about 32,7MPx, postprocessed by the One, and for obvious reasons a posprocessed one isn't representative of a just shotted one.

Gimp or PAINT.net are 2 good photo editing programs that are free if you don't want to shell out massive PhotoShop dollars to clean up pix from a phone camera.

Nice work editing this image by the way. Excited to be getting a ONE from Verizon soon. If they don't butcher it somehow.

they will... look at the DNA. it could have been a fantastic phone. Verizon cut off its arms and legs (battery and storage) loaded it with bloat and locked the bootloader... nice guys.

I'd like to see a closeup of those skinny twigs on the right hand side. Let's see the detail in them.

It's not exactly hard to get good prints because image noise and other artefacts don't show up on things like canvas as easily as on a high resolution computer monitor.

This article is bogutive. That print is small. It's only 46" long because it's a panorama. Take a regular picture and blow it up to 46" long and tell me what it looks like.

I've tested htc one vs. my galaxy S4 and I have to say the s4 is a lot better in good light and the one is better in low light. Overall I still think the s4 camera is better. My opinion.

I have the One and an S4 and you're right, the S4 to me does take better pictures BUT I think it's absurd that people buy a phone just for its camera alone. I'd take the better phone over a better camera any day. If someone depends on camera features alone, then they need to get a DSLR for the best pics possible and use the phone camera to take everyday memory shots.....

This is soley my opinion and only one animal was harmed in the making of this post.

"This is soley my opinion and only one animal was harmed in the making of this post."

And seemingly alot of whiny idiots as well.

Funny they don't really seem able to take a good enough photo of the print to really judge, not to mention how much post processing could have been used. This stinks of an advertisement.

The phone was given to me by Virgin Mobile Canada as part of their tester program - advertising. Take a look around this blog,... flanked by advertising. The point of blogging is to attract attention to your business.

Sorry the photos don't allow you to see the fine details of the print. Have I seen better images? Yes. Does this print look good on the wall? Hell ya.

This is highly misleading. I used to work for a print shop and one thing we always knew is that when you print on canvas, megapixels and dpi didn't matter because the ink will smudge and fill in any gaps and noise the original image had will be mostly removed. That image looks smooth because of how canvas prints are made, not because its a sharp photo. Megapixels are important. It gives you greater fidelity in your photos. There is a reason canon, nikon, sony, and panasonic don't make low megapixel cameras with ultra pixels. It won't create the sharpness needed by most photographers for a photo to be acceptable.

what's misleading? I printed an image from the HTC One on canvas 46" wide. I'm not claiming any more than that.

It sounds like the printer you worked for does pretty shoddy work. Our prints don't smudge. The definition on our canvas prints is quite good.

At the end of the day, it's a really nice print that anybody would be proud to hang in their home. In fact, shortly after this article was posted, the print sold to a buyer in Toronto.

My Nikon doesn't need to because it's a real camera, not a phone. It's "only" 14MP, but the sensor is huge so each pixel is enormous compared to any of these smartphone cameras. Any of them. By your reasoning, though, they shouldn't make the camera I have because it's only 14MP and they have much higher MP counts available.

I swear I will not understand why people continue to compare phone cameras with dedicated photography equipment.

Go for it Heath Lacy, take a Samsung Galaxy S4, go out to the location and take a panoramic shot at low twilight and report on what you get.

Now that the GS4 got HDR video recording, the HTC One literally has no advantage over the GS4. None.

And if you tell me it performs better under low-light, I'll tell you that I can get better shots with less noise if I lighten them a bit to match the HTC's faster lenses.

The rule of thumb to get decent printer output is a minimum of 200 dpi (preferably 300 dpi). 5798 pixels divided by 46 inches = 126 dpi. That is well below the minimum for a good result. The only explanation might be that printing on canvas doesn't require a high dpi compared to printing on paper. I tried to find out what 'print on canvas' companies recommended, but they didn't want to be specific -- i.e.: turn away any prospective customers. Based on the imagery in the photo, it isn't hard to see why it came out acceptable. The sky and water are basically gradients, and the trees don't need a lot of detail to look like trees.

Knowing how expensive it is to print on canvas, I wouldn't take the risk printing a low dpi image and crossing my fingers that it would come out okay. Especially if the image had any kind of detail in it that needed to been seen, such as a panorama of skyscrapers.

Nothing at my shop is automated. I need to edit 95% of peoples photos to make them acceptable prints on canvas or any material. You want a 30x40 print from an iphone? Sure, I'll handle it. But I'm going to make sure that print looks the best it can when hung on your wall... using experience and technology to enhance - not distort, the original image.

It looks a bit grainy. Grainy does not equal awesome.

Check out 500PX or National Geographic if you want to see what awesome pictures look like.

I've done plenty of digital enlargements from camera's with much less MP than the HTC. I've printed on different media including canvas and the images came out great.

The point is with a decent printer and the software that comes with it it is easy to enlarge photographs with out serious pixelization. Add a canvas (porous surface) and you can mask most pixelization errors. That said a picture with more pixels will still come out better.

This article isn't misleading, but they are not being honest either.

What is wrong with people here? The guy who created the print is commenting here, answering questions. There is a source link in the post. He talks about the process he went through to get the print. Nobody is saying that he pulled it straight from the phone and put it on the canvas. Would you do that? With any phone? I wouldn't. If he did this same thing with a picture from a GS4 or the Sony Experia people would still complain. Let's get real, none of you are doing this with your camera-phone pics anyway.

What I already know is the One camera is great for taking the everyday shots I've always taken. It's exceptional in low-light and pretty good otherwise. It isn't the best at everything and some shots are a little dirty, more from aggressive post-processing than a lack of pixels in my opinion, but it is capable of doing what most of us are doing with our phones. I like the fact that the One's sensor is 16:9 natively so I can get some decent wide prints without cropping and losing lots of detail.

What I learned is that there are ways to, and people who can, do a couple of things to that photo to minimize the compression and post-processing woes and come out with an excellent large-format print.

Well spoken! Sheez! The HTC One hate is overwhelming! I don't hate on an S4 just because some nice things are spoken about it...But, as i read comments regarding the One from this and other articles... the hate is crazy! But, i will say this...If they HATE you then you must be doing something right!!!

I also challenge you All to re-read the article and point out exactly where the dishonesty is on beahlf of the writer??? The HTC One has been catching flack for not being able to produce photos that could be enlarged beyond 4X6 and the article just states that not to be true!! It actually really does matter that the original pic was taken with the One because up until this pic most laypeople following the HTC One figured there was no way you're getting a quality enlarged photo from this phone... and this article just states that you can! It's not saying the One is the best and it's not saying that you can't do better with an Iphone or SGS4...It's simply stating that being able to produce a great enalarged photo with the HTC One is possible!!! Albeit, there will be some photoshopping, but it doesn't sound like there would be any more photoshopping taking place with HTC One pics than with SGS4 or Iphone pics!!

Geez, we Android users are sounding more and more like Apple sheep. This is a great picture, taken on a great phone and the guy taking is ACTUALLY commenting here. Well done AC and photographer. No phone is perfect, we know the HTC One isn't the end all be all of camera phones. We get it, you like your Galaxy phone too.

Cool article, thanks.

You should see what I've been doing with BlackBerry photos... (I know.. I'm really asking for it now!)

so many people always have negative things to say. can't ya'll just appreciate it for the art that it is? no, everyone has to come and say "oh, i can do that. oh, the photographer must have done something he isn't telling us. oh, this is stupid. oh, whatever i can do this with my phone. oh, this phone is crap. oh, my phone is better. blah blah blah." it's a shame. sounds like a bunch of whiny, jealous kids...

this is a wonderful piece of art i would be proud to hang in my home.... regardless of what was used to take the photo. the photographer has some awesome talent.