What is an "UltraPixel" camera?

ernard

HTC's new One has what they are calling an UltraPixel camera. Is this something that is actually new (and improved!), or is it just a marketing department branding of existing technology? There have been some pretty radical developments in camera tech over the past couple of years, such as the Lytro camera, so I don't want to be cynical without reason. Does the HTC One's camera actually bring anything new to camera design?

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jimlynch
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Gizmodo has a look at this. Personally, it sounds like a gimmick to me. But your mileage may vary.

HTC One UltraPixel Camera Versus the Competition
http://gizmodo.com/5990360/htc-one-ultrapixel-camera-how-does-it-stack-up

"When HTC first showed the world the One last month, it touted the merits of the camera's larger "UltraPixels". Theory says that larger pixels could produce better images than the competition. In practice? We're pretty damned impressed.

We compared the HTC One's camera to the cameras on the Nokia Lumia 920 and Apple iPhone 5, which were the top cameras in our recent smartphone camera battlemodo. We tested the camera in low-light both with and without flash, as well as in daylight. The photos in this test are taken from identical spots in every case, so any differences in the framing of the images is because of slight differences each camera's field-of-view. In almost every situation the HTC One's camera performed above our expectations—and above its competitors."

tganley
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The primary advantage that HTC is claiming for the "ultrapixel" camera is that it is superior in low light. I haven't used a new One myself, but many of the reviews I've read don't seem to see a huge advantage. The concept is that the pixel size is large, hence there are fewer of them, so that you get 4 "ultrapixels" on the same size sensor that also could support 13 "normal" megapixels. Here is an article with some side by side photos by the HTC One and the iPhone 4S, and it does look to me like the low light performance is superior on the HTC One. 

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