ABQ’s Cellphone Review: My Best Photos on the HTC 8x!
When HTC asked me to try out their new HTC 8x phone, I quickly agreed. I was already a fan and user of HTC: I had bought my hubby an HTC Desire a couple years ago and I got myself an HTC Radar which I adored. I couldn’t imagine anything better than my Radar but the HTC 8x lived up to it’s promise of taking better pics with it’s ultra-wide angle front and back cameras.
Basically, I needed a phone that could take fantastic photos that I could upload on the spot to my WordPress blog and Facebook. Let me show you some of the amazing photos I’ve been able to take since I got my HTC 8x a month and a half ago:
The HTC 8x is pretty good at taking photos even in low light. The Jacuzzi room on the left was quite dim, there were no lights in the room except for the sun streaming in from outside. And if you take advantage of back-lighting you can come up with some dramatic shots like the two on the right. CallosSpa is one of our favorite Spas…
I love taking photos of food and posting them on my Facebook and sometimes I like to include the company I’m having in my food photos! So here you see a slightly blurred Krissy in the background but a clear Shrimp Aglio and Iced Tea in the foreground. With the HTC 8x camera, you can tap anywhere on the screen and it will take the photo. However, the look changes depending on where you tap. To achieve this kind of depth of field, I tapped on the image of the shrimp dish. If I tapped on Krissy’s face, then she wouldn’t be blurry.
Using odd angles often results in very interesting shots. The one where Ron and I are canoodling (bottom right) – that was a stolen shot that our daughter Diandra (you can see her hair in the photo) took at a low angle – worm’s eye view. She just stuck the camera below us, estimated the angle and clicked on the button (yes, aside from tapping on the screen, there is a button that you can click on to take shots).
The top photo of me and Diandra has beautiful muted colors and that Bokeh effect (ethereal balls of light). It was achieved using the Fhotoroom App which you can download for free on your HTC 8x.
The funny faces photo on the bottom left has no effects except for what we did with our faces! LOL!
You can change the White Balance on your HTC 8x; there are several settings. In the photo above, I used the Daylight setting and the one at the bottom had a Flourescent setting. The other White Balance Settings are Auto (the default setting), Cloudy and Incandescent. You might be wondering if this phone camera is too complicated but it isn’t because you can always just ignore the setting and click away. It still takes great shots! I am not a photographer and yet with a little creativity I can come up with some cool shots.
Other camera setting that you can fiddle around with are:
Effects (Available settings are: Grayscale, Negative, Sepia and Solarize)
Resolution (You can lower the 8 Megapixels to 6,5, 4, 3 or 2 Megapixels. VGA is also available)
Exposure, Contrast, Saturation and Sharpness.
ISO (The choices are Auto (default), 100, 200, 400 and 800)
It also has a Face Detecting option.
Alright, this is not one of my best photos, mostly because I had to ask someone else to take it. The original shot is on the left – it’s got an unfriendly bluish tone because it must have been on a bad White Balance setting. But I was able to improve it and inject some life by using the Warmify effect on Picasa – as you can see in the photo on the right. Picasa is like an easy-to-use type of Photoshop and is free to download online.
I had the chance to watch the concert at the Hot Air Baloon Fest and here are a couple gorgeous shots of some of the performers. I was right in front of the stage so I was able to take good enough photos. I used the Fhotoroom App to jazz up the two shots above.
The HTC 8x has a zoom function but as you zoom in, the photo quality goes down. And if they’re moving, it’s difficult to take a clear photo using the zoom function. It’s really best to come in as close as possible. Below is a lucky shot I got of Julianne using the zoom function. I took so many zoom photos but they all looked blurry or too bright. This one somehow came out quite nice. So if you’re planning to take photos of a concert with your HTC 8x, I suggest you get front row tickets.
If you want great photos, you have to take LOTS of shots, specially if your subject can move like Gary V. I must have taken 30 shots before I got the one above. With Yeng, I was walking backwards while in front of her also taking a bazillion photos, snapping away over and over. Out of a dozen shots only one came out worthy – the one above. Once again, I used the Fhotoroom App to enhance the shots.
Other apps that I love to use on photos: Lomogram, Photo Enhancer, Phototastic Free and Photogrid.
Nice effect here. Clear Eggs, blurry daughter. LOL! How I achieved this practical effect with my HTC 8x: Without telling my daughter, I surreptitiously took out my phone, aimed it and then tapped on the Eggs. I tapped several times on the eggs to get several shots while she was moving around. This was the best shot out of about 4 shots.
The HTC 8x is great for taking solo shots and group shots. This here are some of the contestants in Bb. Pilipinas 2013. The two at the bottom, Parul Shah (left) and Charmaine Elima are my Top 2 favorites… my 3rd favorite is the girl on the far left in the group photo – she’s got the face of a doll! Mariel de Leon is her name, daughter of Christopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong. These photos were all taken in incandescent lighting using the incandescent setting on my HTC 8x. I needed no photo apps to get these beautiful warm colors. I used the same setting, Incandescent, in the photo below except the lighting was morning sunlight coming in from a huge window.
Papparazzi-style photos are so in fashion! All I do is put on classy shades, bring my dogs to Bonifacio High Street and ask my husband to ‘secretly’ follow me while taking photos with my HTC 8x. This one was taken a bit far so I had to crop it. It still came out clear. Then I used the Lomogram App to shade it a bit then I used my favorite Fhotoroom app to add a very light Bokeh effect. Yes, you can use different Apps to ‘fix’ one photo! Love it!
Not one of my best photos. In fact it was a bit blurred (because someone else was taking the photo) so I had to sharpen it on Picasa. But what I wanted to emphasize were two things: 1) This camera can take good shots of huge groups – you see all faces and enough of the background. 2) It takes good low light shots. This room was very dim. Our only source of light was an open door behind the camera man. We had to turn off the flourescent light inside room because it was sending out an ugly flare.
But in the photo below, you’ll see just how flares can be really pretty. We took this ‘self-portrait’ with the 4pm sun right behind us, shining in it’s full glory. Diandra (she’s on the left) was holding the camera at a low angle – she’s really good at estimating camera angles in self-portraits, a skill that is worth mastering if you want to take interesting shots. The top photo is the original, untouched photo. The one at the bottom was ‘fixed’ by Diandra using Fhotoroom. She added a vintage effect and a rugged-looking frame.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my photos and my review of the HTC 8x. Thanks to HTC for letting me try out this cool toy! Click here to check out the specs of the HTC 8x.
My photo adventure is not over tho… I still have to experiment with Lens Apps, Saturation, Exposure, ISO, etc. etc… and with the Bb. Pilipinas beauty pageant just a couple weeks away (ABQ is covering it of course!) I’ll be needing my HTC 8x to instantly upload photos from backstage and frontstage. FUN! So stay tuned!