HTC A9 cameras – very good setup for a midrange smartphone

October 23, 2015

HTC has introduced the One A9, a new mid-range smartphone, but this time HTC ditched the UltraPixel camera at the back, and went with a higher resolution sensor this time. The HTC One A9 features a 1/3.06-inch 13MP Sony IMX214 Exmor RS Stacked image sensor (13.13M effective pixels).

This sensor was designed by Sony to meet the higher demand for better image quality, including support for video HDR using the SME-HDR technology. The camera therefore captures two images at difference exposures at 30fps and seamlessly process it to produce an image or video with higher dynamic range. This certainly help to enrich the image with more popping up colors while still maintaining a natural looking image or video. The Stacked sensor is also known for its excellent low-light performance,.

The rear camera also a f/2.0 fast aperture lens and  an Optical Image Stabilization system to further enhance the low-light performance and help produce sharper images and more stable video clips. The rear lens also has a scratch-resistant sapphire glass cover to protect the camera lens. The camera can also shoot in RAW, although it’s reported that the RAW process time takes around 10-20 seconds to complete. This is obviously due to the mid-range SoC, which isn’t as powerful as some of the high-end phones that can process this type of image file quicker.

HTC has decided to ditch the UltraPixel for the rear camera, but instead put it at the front. The front camera features a 4.1-megapixel (16:9 aspect ratio) sensor and f/2.0 aperture lens and can record 1080p videos like the main camera. UltraPixel technology also means very good low light performance due to the 1.5 micron pixels, but at the cost of a lower resolution image.  This is obviously not a big issue as most people will use it for selfies and share them on social networks like Facebook, etc. The front camera also has the option to shoot at 1.2-megapixel 4:3 aspect ratio and there is a ‘live makeup’ beauty mode as well.

I personally like the new design, with the camera lens at the top instead of the middle-top.  The camera is limited to 1080p Full HD, so no 4K on this one. This isn’t an issue in my opinion, especially considering it’s price and the fact that most people don’t yet own a 4K display at home.

The HTC A9 wasn’t designed to compete against the big guys like the Sony Z5, iPhone 6S or LG G4, but for a mid-rage phone it certainly offers some really good specs, especially that OIS that can really help improve image quality when shooting in low-light conditions.

What do you think about the new A9 cameras?

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