HTC EVO 4G camera

I’ve been using the awesome HTC EVO 4G for 2 weeks now, and I’ve snapped quite a few pictures already, starting at the Maker Faire. Here’s my take on the camera, just in time for tomorrow’s launch!

The EVO 4G features a similar (if not identical) camera to the HTC Incredible with an 8 megapixel sensor, an auto-focus lens with macro, and dual LED flash.

Not surprisingly, the resulting pictures (slide show) compare favorably with the Incredible’s wonderful shots, but there are some differences. Read on…

The biggest upgrade from the Incredible to the EVO 4G is the addition of face detection for stills, and HD video recording. All the other great features, such as extra camera settings, touch-to-focus, and initial auto-focus for video remain.

When using touch-to-focus, the EVO 4G adjusts exposure in all modes, whereas the Incredible only adjusts exposure in “spot” mode. This often causes unwanted under- or over-exposure, and makes the feature problematic.

Like the Incredible, low-light performance is rather impressive with the EVO 4G, as long as it’s bright enough for the auto-focus (there’s no AF assist light, strangely).

Color balance is sometimes off with the EVO 4G, but there’s none of the default over-sharpening present on the Incredible. Also, when taking macro shots, the EVO 4G struggles to focus more often than the Incredible.

On the plus side, the EVO 4G saves the flash mode between sessions, while the Incredible always resets the flash mode to “auto”. This matters to me as I almost never use the flash, so I prefer to leave it in the “off” position.

Also, the EVO 4G’s monster 4.3″ TFT screen is more readable in direct sunlight than the 3.7″ OLED display on the Incredible, making it easier to frame shots.

Most of these differences can be attributed to firmware, which can be easily updated. My EVO 4G is from the batch handed out at the Google I/O conference – retail units may ship with newer firmware.

The only major bug I’ve encountered with the EVO 4G camera is that it randomly stops seeing the micro-SD card and refuses to take pictures. This can be fixed by rebooting the phone, which is far from ideal. The Incredible camera is rock solid in comparison.

As far as video recording is concerned, the EVO 4G supports up to 1280×720 @ 25 fps (HD), but there’s a lot of compression artifacts at this resolution, especially in scenes with a lot of motion.

You may be better off switching down to 800×480 @ 30 fps (WVGA), which is the Incredible’s best setting.

Here’s a sample video (download original, 1280×720 @ 25 fps):

In the end, the EVO 4G camera is very good, and will be fantastic when/if newer firmware fixes some of the aforementioned problems.

For the time being, the Incredible remains king of the (Android) hill in terms of camera performance.

Now if I could only convince HTC to put a dedicated two-stage camera button on all its devices, that would be nice :)

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6 Responses to HTC EVO 4G camera

  1. Fabienne says:

    Ever so much better than my crummy Blackberry 8320 video. Mine just produces artifacts, it’s up to you to sort out what they are. :( I can hardly wait to dump that pig.

  2. I think here we have a predecessor for future mobile phones where the manufacturers start making the inbuilt cameras much better. The technology is already there but they don’t use it straight away and introduce it to later models so that you buy that one as well. ;)

  3. Gareth Rees says:

    That’s pretty impressive. Lets hope its the start of better camera for phones, especially with iphone4 looking pretty decent as well.

    • tnkgrl says:

      It’s far from the start – I’ve been taking great pictures with cameraphones for years :)

      It was the Nokia N95 in early 2007 (before the original iPhone) that paved the way for where we are today…

      Like the EVO 4G today, the N95 was the superphone of its time – the EVO 4G’s camera is only a minor improvement over the N95′s camera!

      The N95 was a giant leap above everything else at the time: http://tnkgrl.wordpress.com/2007/04/05/pictures-taken-with-the-nokia-n95/ (click on the picture there for more)

  4. Becky says:

    I’ve been taking pics with cameraphones for years as well, but I guarantee I couldn’t get this Evo to take that candle pic the way you did. Can you list your exact settings? I am finding that the further away I get from the subject, the better – it’s a better picture to zoom in than to try to get up close. The pics you took of they keys – how did you do that? Mine are hit and miss. I’ve tried touching and holding the screen, I’ve tried ALL settings – ISO at auto, 200, 400, etc, auto focus on and off, night mode, flash on, flash off…. etc. Your pics look great, I need some guidance with this camera! I’m just not “getting it” I guess!

    I also believe that if there were software to add time between the light metering and the actually snap of the shutter, the problem of “washed out” pictures would be solved. In other words, if there was one tap on the shutter button to auto focus, and illuminate with the flash, then another to actually snap the shutter – this way you can see when the object is lit properly and snap the picture yourself, similar to the dual action buttons on other camera phones (and digital cameras) where you push part way for the focus with flash, then the rest of the way to snap the picture. Now if someone would just create this app, I’d give up the fact that it was my idea. :D

    • tnkgrl says:

      Becky, I’ll get back to you once I’ve got a bit more time – hang in there… If you don’t get an answer here in the next few days, fire me an email – my address is in my about page!

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