After receiving universally mediocre reviews for the camera on the just launched HTC One M9 (including our One M9 review), HTC engineers were quick to roll out a software update for review units that HTC said includes "enhancements to the overall camera experience". While HTC was unable to provide specifics on what these enhancements were, I was hoping they would address the issues with poor exposure and lack of detail I found in my earlier testing.
After downloading the update and taking a series of test shots versus my LG G3 (which has a very good, but not market-leading camera), I found that whatever improvements HTC made were not enough to change my opinion about the One M9's less-than-ideal camera performance.
In the test shot below, you can see how the HTC still has issues with exposure, creating an unnatural halo around the building, with a sky that fades too dark near the top. The overall white balance is also off, showing too much of a red/pink cast.
Zooming in on the shots taken above with the HTC One M9's 20MP camera and the LG G3's 14MP camera seems to show an improvement in the HTC One M9 to the point where it is now better than the G3.
Yet, in this second zoom from a shot I took from further away, detail is oddly lacking.
All-in-all, this is a disappointment. Given HTC's challenging market position, it was critical that they nailed the M9 camera out of the gate. They didn't. And this software update shows that the engineers still don't know what they're doing wrong. or, if they do, haven't figured out how to fix it. The HTC One M9 camera remains a very good camera in a field of excellent cameras from competitors.
Funny I was just using
From Stan Jean-Baptiste on April 15, 2015 :: 8:22 pm
Funny I was just using this phone at work and every pic I took cane out incredibly clear and sharp, 50xs better then this mess you took….I’m waiting for the G4 and its amazing camera but the M9 took outstanding pics, to my surprise, I’m sorry I just don’t feel this is a trustworthy article
Glad you're happy with your results
From Josh Kirschner on April 15, 2015 :: 10:12 pm
As I said in this analysis and my original review of the One M9, the camera is very good, and many people will be perfectly happy with the results. But it’s not up to the quality of it’s competitors.
If you don’t feel my article is trustworthy, a quick Google search will prove that most other reviewers have found similar issues with the One M9’s camera. It was the initial widespread criticism that caused HTC to rush out this latest software update. Unfortunately, the consensus remains that whatever improvements this update may have made, the camera still lags behind other models.