Features cont.

Effects

 A tap on the filters symbol on the bottom right in the camera app opens up the effect options that can be applied to your image.

The HTC One offers 15 filter effects at the point of capture. Most of these filters we've seen before in some shape or form but nevertheless they're fun to play with and the results can look quite interesting. Most of the filters allow you to vary the intensity of the effect via a slider. Below you can see all effects on offer.

No filter
Filter #1
Filter #2
Filter #3
Filter #4
Filter #5
Filter #6
Filter #7
Filter #8
Filter #9
Filter #10
Filter #11
Filter #12
Filter #13
Filter #14
Filter #15

Image Adjustments

The HTC One allows for adjustment of some basic image parameters such as contrast, saturation and sharpness. This is commendable as it gives you some control over the final image output but yet is still not a standard feature in the smartphone world.

In the menu you'll find options to adjust exposure compensation, contrast, saturation and sharpness.

The level of contrast and saturation in your images is pretty much a question of personal taste, but control over sharpness can be very useful if you plan to edit your images in Photoshop or a similar application later on. You can always apply additional sharpening to a soft image, but you cannot reduce sharpening on an over-sharpened one.

The scene below was captured at standard (default), minimum and maximum sharpening settings. While the default setting already shows some artifacts, the maximum setting is way too over sharpened and definitely should be avoided. At the other end of the scale, the image looks very soft at a pixel level but offers more leeway for editing.

 Sharpening Normal
 100% crop
 Sharpening -2
  100% crop
 Sharpening +2
  100% crop

Backlight mode

Like many compact cameras, the HTC One offers a range of scene modes which can be accessed through the menu. On top of the usual landscape and portrait modes, which are largely contrast and saturation variations, you also access the more interesting Backlight mode. In high contrast scenes this mode lifts the shadow areas to create an image with less harsh contrast.

In the sample below you can see how in this contre-jour scene the dark shadows have been lifted. The effect is quite strong which results in a slightly unnatural look. When examining the 100% crops you can see that the Backlight mode also introduces shadow noise and a lot of noise reduction smearing which close up doesn't look pretty at all.

Standard mode
Backlight scene mode
 100% crop
 100% crop

When the luminance difference between highlight and shadow areas in a scene is too large, the Backlight mode comes to its limits. We took the portrait below indoors in front of a window. Focusing on the subject's face in standard mode gets you a very dark subject and an overexposed background. It appears the One's metering system is reluctant to totally blow out the background, even when the main subject is very dark.

Taking the same shot in Backlight mode slightly lifts the shadow while the background exposure is roughly the same as before. That said, this is still not exactly a great exposure and like in the sample above, the image is blighted by shadow noise and noise reduction artifacts.

Standard mode
Backlight mode

Panorama mode

Like many smartphones and digital cameras, the HTC One offers a sweeping panorama mode. In landscape mode you can capture a full 360-degree panorama but unusually there is no option to capture panoramas in portrait orientation. On the plus side the stitching is very good, with very few visible stitching errors in our tests. The resulting panoramas are approximately 9500 pixels wide and just over 1000 pixels high.

Exposure is locked when the first frame is captured. So you need to make sure exposure on that first frame is roughly in line with the rest of the scene, otherwise you might end up with an over- or underexposed image.

Sweep Panorama mode allows you to capture a full 360-degree view. Stitching quality is very decent.
In high contrast scenes exposure can become a little tricky, but we managed to preserve some shadow detail in the building and kept highlight clipping within acceptable limits by initially setting the focus point on a medium-bright part of the scene.
It took us a few attempts to achieve a decent exposure in this darkish overcast scene, but again the stitching is very good.
This is the same location as above, but we initiated the panorama in a dark part of the scene which resulted in overexposure of the remaining frames.

Gallery App

The HTC One's gallery app is a little unusual in so far as it not only gives you access to your images but also displays images from your Facebook stream if you have connected it to the HTC Blink Feed app. To get to your images you first have to tap the My Photos buttons. Within My Photos, images are sorted by Albums, Events (based on date and/or location) or Locations.

From here on the gallery app works pretty much like its counterparts on other devices. You can tap on thumbnails to show the image at full screen and use the pinch gesture to zoom in and out. Another tap then opens up the fairly comprehensive range of editing options which are explained below. Video editing options are limited to trimming of your clips.

Within the My Photos folder, images are organized by event, location or album.
A range of effect filters is available in the editing menu.
You can also add one of several frames ...
... and rotate, flip, crop and straighten your images.
An additional set of editing options is available for portraits.
They don't offer the same degree of control as you'd find in desktop applications, but work reasonably well for a quick fix on the go.