HTC One M9 has one big flaw, that its auto-focus does not work correctly. 5 out of 10 shots taken with the M9 results in over-exposed photos and depending on where you focus, the exposure changes constantly. This is worse than the HTC One M7 and M8. Since this is a matter of the camera’s auto focus not doing job correctly, it should be fixed with a camera firmware update by HTC in the future.
In the meanwhile, there is a way to fix those over-exposed photos easily by using the manual mode. The HTC One M9’s probably only advantage over flagship phones like the Galaxy S6 is its camera’s manual mode. Now, the Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge have pro mode but it does not allow you to adjust the shutter speed like the M9 can. And yes, that’s where the HTC One M9 shines if you know how to use it.
Similar to many DSLR cameras, the HTC One M9 allows the user to control ISO and shutter speed. By having this control, the user is able to get the exact photo he wants. In practice, this actually worked out really well. While I wasn’t able to get any photos like the S6/S6 Edge in auto focus mode, the M9 lived up to its expectations in manual mode. I was able to capture photos that were just as good as ones taken by Galaxy S6/S6 Edge.
If you know how to use a DSLR camera, this is going to be piece of cake. And even if you didn’t, it’s pretty easy to do, just adjust the ISO setting to the lowest possible (I usually just use 100 in normal to bright lighting) and set the shutter speed accordingly to get the shot you want.
By using the manual mode, no longer did the M9 camera go bonkers on me as I could now focus on my subject and get a clear shot, not matter I focused.
Of course, in comparison, the shots taken Galaxy S6/S6 Edge auto focus were still better than the ones taken with M9 in manual mode. That may be due to Galaxy S6’s lower F-stop number of F1.9 vs. M9’s F2.2. Physically, the S6/S6 Edge have better/faster lens along with OIS, which does a great deal if the phone shakes during a shot.
Overall, this isn’t a permanent fix for the M9 as you probably want to capture the moment, not fiddle with the settings. But hey, this does prove one thing, the M9’s camera manual mode may just save the day the next time you need to take an important photo and the camera starts over-exposing the background.