One of the major talking point post the launch of the HTC One (M8) was the dual camera configuration at the back of the device. Seeing the unlimited leaks on the internet about the device, before the launch, nobody was really able to guess why the dual camera setup even existed. It was soon revealed that the purpose of the setup was to help record the depth analysis of any image when you take the picture so that you can later on add an artificial blur effect to the image giving it a pleasant look.
Before we get to how to use the UFocus effect that is possible due to this lens setup, let us understand the role of the two lenses in capturing an image on the M8.
The Dual Lens Setup
The HTC M8 is not the first smartphone to pack two rear cameras in the setup. The Evo 3D by HTC only, was in fact the first and on that device, the dual camera setup helped with producing 3D effect with the images. Needless to say, the Evo 3D apart from an initial buzz, failed to excite the customers. So, when HTC decided to bring a similar setup to the M8, everyone feared and hoped, it would not be for some 3D fad. And it was not.
The Dual Camera Setup on the M8 sees the main lens that is manufactured by Omnivision. It is the OV4688 1/3″ sensor with a pixel size of 2 micrometers with a focal length of 3.82 mm and f/2.0 aperture. The secondary lens is infact the front facing camera of the M7 which was the Omnivision OV 2722 with 1.4 microns pixel size and a 1/5.8″ sensor. The main lens does not have OIS unlike the M7.
So the way the setup works is that everytime you click a picture, the secondary lens and the primary lens both take a picture. You only get to see the image taken by the primary lens as the image taken by the secondary lens is in an unreadable format at least for now. The secondary camera captures a wide field of view including the depth information of the scene such as what is in the background, foreground and at what relative distance. It is worth noting though, that if you are shooting in low light conditions, burst mode or with the flash on, the secondary sensor automatically is turned off. Given the small size of the sensor and relatively no information to record due to bad lighting or quick burst of shots, this is not a surprise. Hence once you have taken the shot, you can use the UFocus Feature in built the M8, to blur the background.
How to use UFocus on the M8 to Blur Background
To use the UFocus feature to blur out the background or the foreground on the M8, just follow the following steps:
Step 1: Make sure you take the image in the right lighting conditions and have the flash turned off. The phone does prompt you in case the depth sensor is not working.
Step 2: After you have taken the image, go to the ‘Gallery’ and click on the image you wish to edit.
Step 3: After that, click on ‘Tools’ and the first option you will see is that of ‘UFocus’. Click that.
Step 4: If the secondary camera has captured sufficient information, the moment you click on UFocus, you will be taken to the image and you can tap on an area to bring it into focus and leave the rest blurred. You can select an object to focus on and save the image to the Gallery.
This effect works best when used in situations where there is some distinction between the background and foreground, for example landscape background with an object in foreground. Though the UFocus effect does struggle especially at the boundary between the foreground and background. Having used several other apps capable of producing the artificial bokeh, we must admit that the HTC M8 does perhaps the best job out of the lot with UFocus.