iPhone 5 vs HTC One: Photography Comparison

Adria Ho
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If camera quality is one of the most important criteria when considering which phone you buy, that raises the question -- iPhone vs. HTC One, which takes the best photos? Take a look at the comparing review from folks over iMore.

Camera specifications: iPhone 5 vs HTC One

The iPhone 5 has an 8 MP (2448x3264) iSight camera with an f/2.4 aperture on a 1/3.2-inch sensor with a pixel size of 1.4 micrometers. The HTC One has a 4 MP (1520x2688) camera with an f/2.0 aperture but that allows them to go to a pixel size of 2 micrometers on the same 1/3.2-inch sensor.

That means that while the HTC One may not have as many raw megapixels as the iPhone 5, its UltraPixels are larger and should allow for better light sensitivity, particularly in low light situations. The HTC One's wider, f/2.0 aperture also helps with getting light to the sensor, as does its optical image stabilization (OIS). If it sounds like HTC spent a lot of time and technology on tackling low light photography, that's because they did.

The downside to all this is that gathering light takes time, which not only means a longer picture taking process, but a greater opportunity for motion blur when it comes to shooting moving targets. Also, while the lower megapixel count means bigger microns, it also means the algorithms that handle sharpening and noise reduction have less data to work with. Everything is a trade off.

Tech specs are one thing. What really matters is how all of this technology translates into real-world pictures.

General photography: iPhone 5 vs HTC One

All the photos below were taken with the same lighting conditions, at the same time. The iPhone 5 photos are all on the left, and the HTC One photos are all on the right (with the exception of the wide panoramas).

Overall, in most cases, the color depth and saturation of the iPhone 5 seems to be better. The only time the HTC One really bests the iPhone 5 is when bright light or artificial lighting comes into play. Where the iPhone 5 photos can get blown out, the HTC One does a better job of balancing the light correctly.

Indoor lighting seems to cause a bit of a yellowish or blueish hue in photos taken with the iPhone 5 while the HTC One again does a better job of handling white balance on its own.

In most general everyday photos though, the color depth of the iPhone 5 wins out over the HTC One. The photos below of trees and flowers show the vast color difference between the two.


Capturing motion: iPhone 5 vs HTC One

Both cameras did well at capturing motion during the day. Night was a different story, and both cameras suffered. HTC has done a lot of work to get better low-light in their cameras, but there's a long way still to go, especially when it comes to capturing motion.

In the photo of the flag below, there was a significant amount of wind blowing and both the iPhone 5 and HTC One did a good job at capturing it regardless of its position or motion. The same was true of the bike photo. As long as there is plenty of light, motion photos shouldn't be too much of an issue. They're by no means made for capturing action sports, but for everyday actions in well lit areas, they're fine.

The HTC One images did come out rather dark compared to the iPhone 5's in some instances where I would have guessed the opposite would have been true.

Low light: iPhone 5 vs HTC One

Panorama photography: iPhone 5 vs HTC One


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