While some of its competitors, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 or Sony Xperia Z2, already offer 4K video the HTC One M8 has to make do with Full-HD resolution as its 4MP sensor does not offer enough pixels to capture a 4K image. However, given that 4K-TVs and monitors are still scarce most users will be able to live with this limitation.
The HTC One M8 does not offer direct access to video recording from its main camera screen. You'll have to take a deviation via the "camera" selection screen which means it takes you a second or two longer to start recording than in some other camera UIs.
However, once you are in video mode things are straightforward and the app offers a decent amount of user control. You simply press the large virtual video button to start and stop video recording. Like in still mode you can select a maximum setting for Auto ISO, apply exposure compensation or select white balance manually. You can also choose from seven simple filter options which all modify the color and/or tonality of the live view and recorded image. There are grayscale, sepia and solarize filters among others.
Under the shooting mode icon you'll find slow motion and HDR options. The former shoots 720p video at 120 frames per second. In the gallery app you can modify the playback speed for sections of the video which is a nice feature. HDR mode works in the same way as on the original One and crops a portion of the frame.
Video sample 1: 1080p/30fps video in bright light
In good light the HTC is capable of recording video with good exposure and color and stable AF. However, when watching at full size fairly strong compression artifacts become visible. The lack of an optical image stabilization system means that recording shake-free footage is virtually impossible. With its efficient OIS the M8's predecessor One M7 recorded much more stable video. Recorded sound quality is decent although like many smartphones the M8's microphones are a little prone to wind noise and the device has to make do without a wind filter.
Video sample 2: 1080p/30fps in low light
The HTC's fast lens helps keep the sensor gain down in low light but nevertheless the sample footage below is very soft with a lot of detail being blurred by noise reduction. On the plus side the AF is relatively stable, even in lower light and the image is quite clean.
Video sample 3: Rolling shutter
Footage recorded with the first video-enabled digital cameras with CMOS sensor often showed leaning vertical lines caused by the so-called rolling shutter effect. The effect appears due to the image being read out from the sensor line by line but on recent camera generations has, thanks to faster read-out speeds, been hardly an issue. However, on the One M8 the effect is more noticeable than usual as you can see in the sample below.
Video sample 4: Slow motion
The HTC also offers a slow motion mode that captures 720p video at 120 frames per second. When played back at the usual 30 fps this results in a 4x slow motion effect.
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