Vodafone UK took some time out to sit down with Symon Whitehorn, the resident camera expert at HTC. Discussions covered the Duo Camera as well as what consumers can expect to see in the future. With the HTC One (M8) sporting an impressive shooter, it only makes sense that we look ahead to see what HTC has planned.

Whitehorn notes that the next logical step for smartphone camera technology is 4K, but the company is waiting until the advanced HD technology really takes off in the consumer world.

"If you look at 4K quality, it really is only about 8-megapixels. That’s a pretty good level to hold at, because over and above that we’re not sure what benefit you’d be getting. That kind of ballpark is where we’ll be very happy to be in the future, as long as we can maintain the large pixel model."

But it's not just the rear cameras getting all the love and makeovers at HTC. The manufacturer is also wanting to storm the market and own the 'selfie'. The HTC One (M8) has a great 5-MP shooter on the front, but it's not an UltraPixel camera and doesn't share features the main component sports. This is set to change.

"The front-facing camera will no longer be the afterthought, but more the selfie capturer. I’d never want to just put the same camera on each side. I’d rather optimise each camera for their roles, and treat them with an equal intellectual process. Selfies are a very different imaging environment."

HTC One M8

Back to the future -- quite literally. HTC's future plans include taking on the large DSLR cameras used by enthusiasts and professional photographers. Whitehorn explains that it's likely smartphone camera capabilities will match (if not surpass) high-end camera equipment as the lens barrier begins to fall apart. This would make it more difficult to justify taking a large camera (unless it's a shoot requiring specialist hardware, of course) when the smartphone can produce quality shots.

It's interesting as Whitehorn closes by stating that "the camera industry needs to feel totally threatened." We're certainly excited to see what HTC and other manufacturers will achieve in a year regarding smartphone optics.

Head on over to Vodafone blog for the full read.

Source: Vodafone


Reader comments

HTC talks cameras, optical zooming on the not-so-distant horizon


I love the direction they've been moving in with their cams. They may be more rewarding to those with a little photographic experience but if you know how to use them, they're very clever.

Or it is generic text that could mean anything and likely get the curious and gullible to click his link.

EDIT: Indeed, that is what it is! Check the comment history.

So maybe a 5MP main camera on the next HTC One? Oh wow! The general conclusion of the 4MP Ultrapixel camera is just marketing hype and its just a lowly 4MP camera with fancy software. I want a HTC One M8. But that 4MP camera is a killer especially coming from a 13MP S4.

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But what you are saying is just not true. It would be much easier for HTC to just slap a 13mp camera on the phone but there are distinct advantages to the ultrapixel set up that you can't get with 13mp, ie, responsiveness, indoor/low light capabilities. There are a lot of people that truly appreciate what HTC is doing in the photo space. You may not apprecate what it offers, but it is tiresome to read comments like this from people that either don't know the benefits or don't appreciate the benefits. Choice is good.

People give me the same argument with crunchy peanut butter. I don't appreciate the crunch, so I don't understand. Come on, its just not good, but if nothing else is around to eat, then I'll do what I have to do.

Sent with bathwater

Decent analogy, terrible conclusion. It's not good, *to you*. I happen to like crunchy peanut butter over the texture-less alternative, just as some like the M8's camera for it's low light performance. Just because *you* don't like it doesn't mean it's bad or wrong...its just different. People have different tastes in food just as they have different use cases for a smartphone camera. Just as the poster above is pointing out, it comes down to consumer choice, which is a good thing.

You can keep posting it, but it is still not gonna get better. The camera is the second worst out of major phone, of course the Nexus wins that race to the bottom

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I had original htc one and I hated it! HTC amaze took 100 times better pics. 4 ultra pixel is all a sham. They are seriously being obnoxious trying to sell us the same exact phone from last year! The screen is .3 bigger but with on screen keys every time time u touch it u lose the .3 for on screen keys. They couldn't make 8 ultra puxel? It's crap. They package it with a charger that can't take advantage of fast charge 2.0? Rip off! Same phone only thing I miss since switching to galaxy is my boom sound. That's it.

Haha.. Insults, the last bastion for defending the indefensible.

The camera excelled in a few areas, sucks in most

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Lying? Honest every single word. I love htc! Tough getting used to touchwiz. But camera wise htc f'd up. M7 took great pics if ur subject was 5-10 ft away max. Try at 15-20 ft away their faces are pixelated. And it's ridiculous that they wouldn't up the ultra pixel to at least 8. Charger they include is rated for fast charge 1.0 why? Samsung fast charge 2.0 charger included. HTC just lost me for one year. Hoping next year's phone blows every one out the water! No phone sexier than htc one m8 but camera and on screen keys did it a disservice.

I love my M8 but I don't think I would call it an "impressive shooter".

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Agreed. Love the M8 but there are phones with better cameras out there.

For me, the M8 camera is adequate, but no more than that.

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Agreed. Unfortunately, it's the *un*impressive shooter of the M8 that will see me buying a Nokia Lumia Icon next week.

"I’d rather optimise each camera for their roles, and treat them with an equal intellectual process."

Then make a camera that can properly adapt to contrast and exposure. No one wants a camera that always blows out bright whites or has consistently dark images. Oh, and something better than 4 MP wouldn't hurt, either.

Yeah I'm sure a VGA 0.3 MP shooter will shoot just as well as a 41MP Nokia . At least the M8 doesn't come with a VGA sensor, but everyone else is coming up with stuff four or five or even ten times the megapixel count of the M8 Hahahahaha!

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Megapixels do matter, do some research. You can crop jack squat with the M8, while you can zoom anywhere with a 13, 16, 20, or even a 41 megapixel shooter ! Therefore the 4 megapixel 'boguspixel' camera on the M8 is the worst flagship camera ever! Even my S1 had 5 Megapixels HAHAHA

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And how many people crop photos on the phone? Not many. People who are serious about cropping and photography don't use a smartphone camera. You can get a better picture from a 80 dollar 12 megapixel point and shot than the 16 megapixel shooter on the GS5 and the 41 megapixel on the 1020. Why? Because Meapixels don't matter. They don't. And the S1 camera sucks. And it has nothing to do with the megapixel count. It is the sensor. If 13MP is so great. Why did the M8 beat the Note 3 in a blind comparison done by phone arena? By a lot. And almost beat out the iPhone 5S.

Do some research.

Also a photographer gave the M8's camera a glowing review.

Miryam Joire also stated on All About Android it was one of the best cameras on a phone.

Most of the sources you quote have mentioned that 10MP is the point where the MP race gets pointless, and you didn't even quote the big smartphone reviewers such as Engadget, gsmarena, pocketnow. Why not? Because they unanimously dissed the M8 camera? The 4 megapixel M8 camera only puts up a decent fight in low light, which thankfully is the case since that is the entire purpose of the ultra pixel marketing, but that doesn't save it from being the worst camera (for general purposes) out of all the flagships this year so far.

The M8 has other high points, but the camera is definitely not one of them.

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I am amazed at how many pictures I have taken in the past 12 months with my M7, and it's "lowly" 4MP camera. Consistently, people say, "Wow, that's a really great pic." I must just be lucky and have gotten the one single quality camera that HTC put out last year! It's just amazing to me how much time is spent in discussion about this subject.

I feel like I've been transported back to the 60's and 70's, listening to all my gearhead friends talk about Cubic Inches, HP, etc. Who really cares what those numbers are? Isn't the only number that matters the time that it took the car to get to the finish line? I never feel the need to tell people that the picture turned out great, but it only has 4 MP!

It's a phone. With a camera. It's not life or death. Get over it.

Couldn't agree more! My girlfriend (who has a S4) is constantly saying my M7 takes better pics than her phone.

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100% agree. The ultrapixel camera has many strengths that people who use them know, and people that don't slag of on. The crappy camera review comparisons (that fail to investigate the strengths of the cameras) all over the internet don't help

There are lots of people who've been burned by the M7 also. I looked at my past 12 months of pictures yesterday and I can distinctly remember every situation. Oh yeah, that's when the camera took half a dozen tries to get focus at night. I have a series of 5 pics of my friends, all of them out of focus. Didn't get a single one. So many missed shots because they screwed that camera up royally.

ic, more often than not, when I'm taking pics of family/friends at close range, I'll go into Zoe mode. I guarantee you, two or three of these 20 pics will be awesome. Granted, they are lower-resolution, so you won't be able to make wall portraits out of them, but for sharing with others via FB or whatever, they are fabulous.

I think that ALL phone-cameras have issues. We are trying to make them do something they're really not capable of. Seriously, when we want REALLY good pictures, we haul out our dedicated 8-year-old Sony camera. Even with "only" 5 MP, it takes unbelievably good pictures.

It's a fact that if you look at pictures on a big monitor or heck, even TV (which is certainly NOT out of the question), the pictures look really bad. If I'm taking pictures, I'm planning to keep them for life (at least most of them). Who knows what screen/projection technologies we will have decades from now? I want the highest resolution picture as I can get to enjoy my pictures forever.

Then, by all means, get a different camera. But, you validate my point: if the future is where you see the importance of these lifetime memories, why the heck are you trusting them to a camera phone? Get out a real camera and take real pictures, with optical zoom, quickly adjustable settings, etc. Why trust your memories to a fixed lens, multi-purpose device?

What different camera? There are already phones with spectacular quality and resolution (see iPhone or GS4/5 or LG or Sony..., even Nexus 5). So why the heck should I buy HTC One when it clearly has a camera that's only good enough for selfies and 5" screen?

I really don't get your argument. There ARE way better phone cameras out there. It's NOT black and white between DSLR and phone cameras..... There are phone cameras that come pretty damn close to DSLR and then there are phone cameras that suck. So obviously I'm going to go with the best phone camera. I don't carry a dedicated camera on me all the time yet some of the best pictures are those live moments you never anticipate.

Jerry also keeps saying same thing you are saying but I simply fail to see the logic here.

I think I'm done trying to stick up for htc, I'll just keep on loving what they're doing until they go belly up, then I'll move on.

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No phone camera can even come close to a high end dslr. We are several years away from that when some of the camera tech such as that in recent mirrorless offerings from Sony trickle down to smartphones. And even then you won't get the lens selection options you get with a dedicated camera. That's not to say phone cameras can't be better. Of course they can and they will but camera phones will always be behind their dedicated camera counterparts

Surely the M8 camera is a laughing stock, and not an impressive shooter ?

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Um yea HTC is talking camers the same company everyone praised for the camera on the One X is talking about cameras... Yes they tried to be innovative and go a different route... Instead of just following a trend ...

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Yup I know right? The One X's Samsung S5K3H2YX camera module was pretty good, especially since it was also used in the GSII.

"The camera industry needs to feel totally threatened."
What he forgot to add was, "but not by HTC." Maybe by some of the other manufacturers, though, such as LG, Sony, and Nokia.

The day any cell phone camera can challenge my DSLR and its wide assortment of lenses is the day I'll eat my hat. Heck the day they can give me a 300 DPI print quality file I'll eat my hat.

Agreed. It's simply absurd to suggest a cell phone camera will equal or exceed a DSLR any time soon, if ever. You could make the argument that cell phone cameras will become good enough for a percent of the people carrying around consumer/pro-sumer DSLRs, but that's very, very different than suggesting that the quality will match or exceed a DSLR.

And it's not like DSLRs are sitting still, they're probably advancing at the same rate, if not faster, than cell phone cameras. Hearing talk like this reminds me of all the talk about mobile tablets replacing PCs... yea, for a very small subset of tasks, but not otherwise.

I agree. There is no way a cell phone can compare to a DSLR. In the end, physcis wins, larger sensors and lenses will always be better. The problem for DSLR manufacturers, however, is one of scale. At some point, phone cameras performance becomes good enough to suffice for the marginal DSLR buyer, then the DSLR manufacturer faces declining unit sales which means R&D is spread over fewer and fewer units, either cutting profit margins or requiring increased prices (further hurting sales). I am sure there will be a shake out at some point as the more successful companies take a larger share of a declining market. It is kind of like micro 4/3 and cropped frame DSLRs vs. full frame. For casual photographers, it is hard to justify the expense of the full frame based on how they use the camera. I believe that the point and shoot digital cameras market has already been hurt by phone cameras.

The problem is helping the public understand. When I bought my m8 the phone salesman was telling the other salesman that the m8 had UltraPixels, and that one UltraPixel was equal to twenty normal megapixels, so then this phone has an equivalent of an 80 megapixel camera. While I wanted to correct him, I didn't have the time to retrain him at his job. Furthermore, they were all wearing s5 t-shirts, which is a great company at explaining their products, whether you like them or not.

One thing people are forgetting is that most low-end DSLRs are actually used more like fast point-and-shoots. These people don't know what a DSLR can really do, they just know that it focuses faster than a point and shoot so they can capture that moment more consistently.

For them, if HTC can throw in optical zoom and bring back OIS and maybe 6mp it probably can replace low-end DSLRs for a majority of people.

Of course I tried both phones at vzw.. S5 felt exactly like my s3 just bigger lol. U can never go wrong with a galaxy but I think I just wanted a change.... Hope I'll be happy with it... And now I'm hearing they might be going under... Oh boy

Man the M8 is wonderful...both phones are equal period... Trade camera for sound and build...Trade features for clean,efficiency, simplicity. If you're that serious about pics u already own a digital camera it's 2014 ... The M8 camera is not horrible at all its just not what most stat junkies wanna hear... Take the pics decide if u like em or not... Are u really gonna sit there and say .. oh the white balance is off and it's over saturated ... Like com'on!!!
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I own a Note 3, played with every phone last year for at least two weeks, had the S3.

Also played with a HTC One for the last several weeks (still have it).

If you are not a picture person, you will be just fine with the One. You are gonna maybe wanna hunt out some apps to replace some features from the S4, but overall it is a great experience. Least don't take a picture

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What kind of apps to replace features? I'm definitely going to get a voice recognition app like Robin cause Google voice just plain stinks

Google voice is aweful.. Its not like Siri for iPhone or Robin for android at all.. I tell it to launch an app and all it does is bring me to a web page.. It doesn't tell u jokes or anything

It's awful because it won't tell you a joke? There's a workaround for's called friends .

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Lol yeah yeah.. But it doesn't do half of what siri or Robin do.. Anyway I'll download Robin and that will be that.. I particularly don't like Google now at all..

I'm pretty sure "Google voice" isn't what you think it is. But if you're looking for a way to never have to change your number again and have good visual voice mail I highly recommend it.

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Isn't Google voice when u press the microphone icon that's next to the Google search on ur cell phone??

The lens barrier? How is he planning on overcoming the aperture barrier? What about the sensor size barrier?

The tiny hole on the phone will never catch up with DSLRs, after all, that market is not standing still. But irregardless, no amount of ISP will match picture quality of a full size sensor.

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The only reason that it is entertained as a "real" word is because people keep using it. It is a double negative and it is not proper English.

Almost have to disregard this comment , because if you don't know that irregardless isn't a word, then you can't qualify as an analyst... Period dot Com.. Lol! If your keyboard didn't auto complete it, that should've been a clue! But "irregardless" we'll "conversate" about this on another day! Lmao! Please don't be thin "skinneded" with regards to my comment, I'm just yanking your chain!

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I'm not a camera pro or anything just like taking pics.I Could care less about megapixels, Ultra pixels, as long as the picture looks great I'm cool. I always wondered why camera companies never partnered with cell phone companies on cell phone cameras technology. HTC with Canon technology.

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I'm guessing that, with these phones selling in the millions, it's less expensive to develop in-house than it would be to license tech from another company.

Not with 4MP! LOL
I surely hope they dump this depth sensor and 4MP in favor of top of the line camera

I like the m8 camera. I'm willing to trade off being able to crop photos for super fast responsiveness and good low light photos. That's just me though. Plus, I don't buy a phone for the camera. I have a camera to take pictures with.

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The only way a smartphone could have the capabilities of a DSLR is in the phone were big enough to house the same size sensor, have interchangeable lenses, etc. Just like a DSLR. Until then, smartphones can never compare to DSLR's. HTC needs to stop having delusions of grandiose.

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