The HTC One M9 is finally taking imaging seriously. With a brand new 20MP BSI sensor, HTC has opted out of the dual-camera setup and there is no OIS here. The camera uses as a 27.8 mm wide angle lens with an aperture of f/2.2 and a sapphire lens cover. The sensor size is 1/2.3" and the maximum resolution is 5376 x 3752 pixels. Although it isn't officially cited in the specs sheet, the 10:7 aspect native aspect squarely points towards a Toshiba sensor.
Naturally, the phone is capable of 4K video recording, as well as playback.
The front-facing shooter is a very impressive HTC 4MP UltraPixel module. It is very similar to the main camera of the One (M8), but it doesn't have auto focus. It also comes with a BSI sensor, an aperture of f/2.0, a 26.8mm wide-angle lens and is capable of 1080p video recording.
We haven't heard, this is apparently an isolated decision and the interesting setup could possibly return in future models.
The new 20MP camera produces nice-looking photos but they are hardly the best thing since sliced bread. The dynamic range is nothing spectacular. Low light, high ISO performance is appalling. Of course, we are dealing with a pre-release model here and camera performance is bound to be improved in the next software revisions.
The camera lens does not offer Optical image stabilization, which according to HTC is mostly due to lack of physical space inside the device, as well as what they refer to as various manufacturing hazards, meaning it's hard to mass produce up to high standards. Truth be told though, it is probably the cost that played a crucial role on the matter and hindered HTC form resurrecting the original One (M7)'s OIS shooting experience.
The phone can take RAW photos out of the box, but you can only edit them on a computer. Speaking of editing, users now have a choice of brand new and improved effects. HTC did a lot of work in this department and replaced the old visual enhancements, which were kind of cheesy. New effects now include Shapes, Prismatic, Elements and Bokeh.
Below you can find a few similar shots taken with the iPhone 6 for a quick visual comparison. We will surely put the HTC through our standart chart photo test in the full review to come.
HTC Zoe, HTC's own video-creating and video sharing platform, will also be getting a brand new version pretty soon. It will be built around a brand new engine and will deliver various quality improvements. The new app version will be rolling out soon for both Android and iOS, so future One M9 owners have that to look forward to.
Videos from the One M9's 20MP camera look a lot more spectacular than the still images. Colors are vivid and accurate with no noticeable noise. Fast moving objects are also handled with breeze. We've captured a couple of short demo videos for a first impression of the quality. One is in 1080p and the other in 3840 x 2160 pixels, where the HTC really shines.