Nexus One sample pictures (slide show):
Incredible sample pictures (slide show):
Wow. I’ve carried the Google Nexus One in my pocket every day for almost 6 months now. As my primary phone, it’s been with me to Seattle, Sydney, and Los Angeles – I’ve snapped hundreds of shots with it!
While not best-in-class, the Nexus One takes much better pictures with its single LED flash equipped 5 megapixel AF camera than any HTC device before it – in fact, it’s good enough for me the majority of the time, and I’m picky :)
So, when the HTC Incredible landed in my dirty little hands a month ago with its dual LED flash equipped 8 megapixel AF camera, I was both excited and intrigued. How would it fare?
As it turns out, the Incredible (like the HTC EVO 4G, which uses a similar sensor and optics) improves upon the Nexus One to represent the finest HTC currently has to offer. See for yourself after the break…
The above pictures were taken about 30 seconds apart from the exact same location at dusk, and show pretty respectable low-light performance from both cameras.
The Nexus One uses a wider angle lens, but the Incredible features a larger lens opening, and is able to gather more light. As a result, the Incredible handles colors and exposure slightly better than the Nexus One in this shot.
Here is a pixel for pixel closeup (with 5 MP scaled to 8 MP) – Nexus One at the top and Incredible at the bottom:
The Incredible clearly captures more detail than the Nexus One – just pay attention to the road signs in the foreground and trees in the background.
Beyond the minor differences in time-of-day and perspective, the Incredible still captures more detail, but the Nexus One comes close. Both cameras exhibit over-sharpening here.
For reference, check out the same picture taken by other 8 MP devices.
The shot from the Nexus One looks more appealing, right? Perhaps, but the colors and exposure from the Incredible are actually more realistic.
This is a picture taken in bright daylight – Nexus One at the top and Incredible at the bottom (click to enlarge):
The structure at the top of the stairs is completely overexposed by the Nexus One – the Incredible fares slightly better.
Consider this night shot – Nexus One at the top and Incredible at the bottom (click to enlarge):
Can you see the flagpole above the Macy’s sign? Can you read the text at the base of the column? The Incredible is able to gather more light before noise becomes a problem, and the result is clearly better than the Nexus One.
So now that I’ve busted this myth, let’s answer a few questions.
How is else is Incredible better than the Nexus One?
The Incredible features extra camera settings not available on the Nexus One (contrast, saturation, sharpness, ISO, widescreen, self-timer, metering mode, review duration, flicker adjustment, grid).
The Incredible allows touch-to-focus, which also adjusts exposure in “spot” mode.
The Incredible flash is brighter than the Nexus One flash (dual vs. single LED).
The Incredible records video at a 800×480 @ 30 fps with initial auto-focus, vs. 720×480 @ 30 fps with no auto-focus on the Nexus One.
How is the Nexus One better than the Incredible?
The default camera settings for the Nexus One don’t have to be tweaked out-of-the-box. The default camera settings for the Incredible don’t make a lot of sense, with widescreen enabled (instead of standard 4:3 ratio), geo-tagging disabled, and some over-sharpening.
The Nexus One saves the flash mode between sessions. The Incredible always resets the flash mode to “auto”.
The scroll ball on the Nexus One behaves like a two-stage shutter button. Pressing it focuses the camera and releasing it takes the picture. The optical trackpad on the Incredible behaves like a single-stage shutter button.
What could be improved on both the Incredible and the Nexus One?
The lack of dedicated two-stage camera button really hinders the user experience on both devices.
The OLED display is difficult to see in bright sunlight, making it difficult to frame shots properly.
The additional evidence
Nexus One sample video (download original, 720×480 @ 30 fps):
Incredible sample video (download original, 800×480 @ 30 fps):
Update: (September 22, 2010) The HTC Incredible recently gained support for 720p HD video recording (up from 480p) after receiving a firmware update from Android 2.1 (Eclair) to Android 2.2 (FroYo). Here is a sample video (download original, HD, 1280×720 @ 24 fps):