Adjustable blur intensity in the UFocus effect

HTC Gallery has been updated today, adding a new feature for HTC One M8 owners: adjustable UFocus Blur. The feature, which takes advantage of the Duo Camera setup on the One M8 to add depth-of-field blurring effects to photos, allows users to now control just how much blur is applied.

As with the previous versions of HTC Gallery, you can tap anywhere on the image when using the UFocus effects tool to refocus the image, but now there's a slider on the left side that allows you to adjust just how much artificial blur you're getting. Towards the top (+) is maximum blur, while dragging the slider to the bottom (-) is zero additional blur than what you get from the Ultrapixel camera on its own. We like a creamy bokeh effect as much as the next guy, but we'll admit that sometimes the UFocus effect overdid it to the point of distraction — now you can dial things back a bit.

In addition to the enhanced UFocus effect, anybody with an HTC Sense 6 device can now use the Dimension Plus effect or capture Pan 360 (i.e. Photosphere) images. There are also other "improvements" (seriously, that's all the changelog says) to HTC Gallery — we expect bug fixes and the like. The updated HTC Gallery is available now for free from Google Play for all HTC Sense 6 devices.

The updates to HTC Gallery and the UFocus effect are welcome — will they change how you use your HTC camera?

 
There are 37 comments

Sam Bithoney says:

I'm a bit disappointed with the UltraPixel camera again. Many of my photos suffer from over-exposure, despite manual tweaking, due to blown out light sources that are amplified by the UltraPixel camera. Indoor shots seem to be awful, but not as bad as outdoor on clear days.

That being said, the photos that do come out well, come out very well. The Duo Camera is a great feature. Some caveats I've found:
Without a case on, I find it being blocked here and there. I owe that to my experience of not having a camera on that part of my phone, I suppose.
You are unable to apply certain features unless you do it in a specific order. For example, you need to apply UFocus and those type of effects, BEFORE you can apply things like filters, frames, and cropping. Snapseed doesn't seem to care about an order, and has better tuning on their effects.

I picked up a GS5 for comparison. I know that the indoor shots will be grainy and the lighting will be different, but I'm hoping that the lessen'd light blowouts won't affect my shots as bad as it has with the M8.

Did anyone at AC notice this when they were comparing the two devices? I see many shots online, but hardly any mention of the amplified light.

Dizfunctions says:

I think that the ultra pixel camera requires more metering, and the inclusion of any bright light sources is a big no unless you change the ISO.

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Habiib says:

You bring up can excellent point. I'm not sure if the software engineers took the UltraPixel attributes into account. The larger pixels will allow more light in for both low light and sufficient lightning shots.

I'm not sure how feasible this idea is, but it seems that they may have to perform some type of post processing merge to get the exposure correct for daylight shots. They could take two shots with the UltraPixel sensor, where one shot is -1 to -2 stops lower and merge the final result via software processing. Alternatively, I wonder if they can merge the shot from the secondary sensor (that has the smaller pixel size) with the primary sensor and do a post process merger.

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jnt_ip says:

You hit the nail on the head with these "ultra" pixels. They can be very helpful, but they make it very difficult for the software to handle in well lit shots. I think you'll find the S5 does exceptionally well in well lit scenarios. It does pretty awesome, actually.

Camera app just seems generally snappier - switching camera modes seems quicker and the camera seems to want auto focus more often, picking out more prominent things in the frame. Don't know if this just a placebo effect of "improvements" but something feels different.

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dwd3885 says:

i'm actually going to move to an HTC One M8 from an S5 because of the camera. I know the outdoor shots are pretty great with the S5, but indoor and lowlight just aren't at all.

Jim Nash says:

ZINGER!!! "additional blur than what you get from the Ultrapixel camera on its own

ajnevares says:

+1

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Jim Nash says:

With all joking aside, the camera could be better but it is more than adequate for what I use it for. If I want an awesome picture I will use my wifes DSLR. I did have the problem with the scratched lens cover but with a little elbow grease and a dab of alcohol the scratched coating on the lens was removed and my lens is crystal clear.

ajnevares says:

Nope, stopped relying the camera...Love the phone otherwise. Unless it's a dark shot, the camera is useless. Its too bad, everything else about this phone is perfect for me
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Lolken21 says:

IMO If you find the camera useless then you are using it wrong... or you are doing something more suited to a "Real" camera like a DLSR.

ajnevares says:

@lolken21...you know that is what I thought as well, figured there was a setup thru settings that would be more suitable for a majority of the photos taken which happen to include brightness from the sun, or a light fixture but they are always blown out. I touch the darker areas of the screen and see a difference, but everything outside of the area I touch is just white, no detail. Messed with the EV level and ISO but it seemed to only make it worse.

Maybe I am using it wrong, who knows but a majority of the shots I take are taken over by over exposed light. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

There are three options, 1) if background is important then meter(tap) an area of the frame that has moderate light (that may be an area different than your subject). 2)use HDR 3) this one is a little more involved but usually works well. In regular mode, lock AF and AE on the brightest area of the frame. Everything else will go dark, then switch to HDR mode and take the picture. It takes some practice, but works fairly well! Admittedly, it worked much better on the M7.

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ajnevares says:

Thanks! Is this a setting I can save, or would I have to do that prior to each shot?

1 , 2 yes.... 3 no, possibly... Idk! Lol!
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This is a response to the first part of the question

I call bullshit! I'm thinking you don't even own an M8.

bitwiser says:

I agree...my M8 takes awesome photos. My wife has an iPhone 5s and is constantly saying use your phone it takes better pictures than mine. Because for what we use it for...facebook/sharing on a phone, you don't need ###mega pixels..just a waste of space. I will say that touching where you focus...especially in bright light situations makes a HUGE difference in exposure...you can see it immediately when you tap the screen...

ajnevares says:

@bitwiser...that is the MAIN issue I am having, I cannot escape the bright light situation. Most of the photos taken when touching on the darker area reveals it much better, but everything outside of that area touched is just bright and white, no detail. I never really noticed it until I had this phone (had Samsung devices prior to this) and admit I was caught up in the MP count and never paid too much attention to the details of the pic since I once thought the higher MP count, the better...thanks to AC I now know that is not necessarily true lol. I dunno, most of the photos taken were pretty bad and stopped using it pretty much.

NoNexus says:

Keep telling yourself that. The iPhone destroys the One in every instance except low light...

As the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you, unless you have a One. Then don't bother

jnt_ip says:

+1 - My wife tells me the exact opposite... and she has a 5C...

Though I do like the overall camera experience on the M8 - well-lit shots just leave some to be desired.

Lolken21 says:

I had a 5S and while it took nice pics... when you take what i believe to be the best pics from both phones .. the M8 wins.. the Colors and pictures just pop .. the 5S takes nice pics that are sharp but they often look washed out next to my M8.

@NoNexus the 5S has a great camera, but it does not destroy the M8. In fact, there's a thread in the forum that I created which shows daylight comparisons between the 5s and the M8. And, you'd be hard pressed to figure which camera took the best shot and I'm willing to bet you won't chose the iPhone in the comparison! The argument that the M8 can't take good daylight pictures is just a crock. See for yourself here http://forums.androidcentral.com/showthread.php?t=379997

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ajnevares says:

I think that was directed at me, lol, but I have had the M8 since launch day.

My bs comment wasn't directed at you.

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ajnevares says:

My bad

@ajnevares... Omg this forum is not easy to follow.. It was your original comment that I called BS! It was not @Lolken21
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TimmyB says:

Or, even an M7. I've had mine for a year, now, and it takes awesome pics. EVERY camera takes clunkers, even my REAL camera (no phone involved), but I share my pics with friends and family and they all think they are wonderful. If it requires a perfect shot, and you are using a phone camera with a fixed lens, you're out of your mind! Get your real camera out, in those cases. For all other circumstances, the HTC camera has been just fine.

Lolken21 says:

Who is this directed at ?

I called BS to your comment

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jhilker says:

I had Pan 360 on the previous version of this app, but could never get the images stitched properly. Hope this update fixes it!
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zhecht says:

"anybody with an HTC Sense 6 device can now use the Dimension Plus effect"

So the update makes the HTC One M7 sprout a second camera?

jnt_ip says:

Good call...

del913 says:

I looked for this on my m7 aaaaaaaaand nothing.

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cstam says:

An aside, I love that google, HTC and other manufacturers have moved their core apps into the Play Store so they can update them more frequently without pushing an OTA. Another big advantage of apple products.
</end aside>.

weirdherald says:

When does this update come out? When I edition photos in the Gallery app, I dont have the slider bar. I've tried getting updates today, but it just says there aren't any updates.

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It's released in the play store... HTC bypasses the carriers for app updates... It's 64mb though

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weirdherald says:

It just updated. I guess I just needed to wait it out.

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