Oneplus 8 Camera Review
Hi Guys .. we are going to take a very detailed look at the triple cameras on the OnePlus8. OnePlus is known for making amazing smartphones at an affordable price. And while they moved away from the affordable price point, it is true that they still make amazing smartphones. But the cameras on their phone have always been their achilles heel.
As amazing as the design, hardware and software on their phone is, OnePlus has never managed to get the cameras right. And performance of the cameras on their phones has been average at best. Does that change with the OnePlus 8, let’sfind out.
After trying out the circular camera module on the 7T, OnePlus has gone back to a simple triple camera module on the OnePlus 8. I really liked the camera module on the 7T,and I wish they kept it the same on this phone as well. Design of camera module is not the only thing that has changed, OnePlus has shuffled around the cameras as well. For starters, on the OnePlus 8, you won’t get a 2x telephoto lens, instead, we get a 2 megapixel sensor with F/2.4 aperture anda macro lens. 7T used the ultra wide camera for taking macroshots, which is not the case anymore. Speaking of the Ultra-wide camera, thankfully it is still present on this new phone.
This camera gets a 16 megapixel sensor with F/2.2 aperture, and a 14mm lens. This field of view is wider than the 17mm ultra wide lens on the OnePlus 7T. And finally the main camera, retains the same 48 Megapixel Sony IMX 586 sensor as the OnePlus 7T. But the Aperture is now narrower at F/1.75 against F/1.6 on the 7T. Lens optics also shift down from 7P on the 7T, to 6P on the Oneplus 8. It still gets optical image stabilisation, but it is only put to work while shooting images, and all videos are stabilised just with the help of electronic stabilisation. With the primary camera, you can shoot 4Kvideos at 30 or 60fps, 1080p videos at 30, 60 and 240fps, and 720p videos at 480fps. With the wide camera, you can shoot 4K and1080p videos in 30fps.
At the front, we again get the same 16 megapixelSony IMX471 sensor, like the OnePlus 7T, but the aperture is now much narrower at F/2.45. This has got to be the narro west aperture on any selfie camera that I have used in the last couple of years. Interface of the cameras has also changed a bit. You get the lens selection button above the shutter button, like on most phones, and you can swipe to the left or right to switch modes. Now the option to change the resolution is not just available in the pro mode, you can just tap on this icon at the top to switch between 12 and 48 megapixel mode. Right next to it is the option to switch to the macro camera. Settings has been moved to the top right corner,and to change or even check the video resolution, you have to go deep into this settings menu.
The Pro Mode
Pro mode is pretty much same as before. You can change all settings like ISO, white balance, shutter speed, focus and exposure, according to the scene, or according to your liking. It lets you shoot RAW images and you can even have a histogram, right on the view finder. Range for ISO in the Pro mode is from 100-3200. And the range for shutter speed is from 1/8000th of a second, all the way up to 30 seconds. While the camera specs don’t sound like an upgrade of the OnePlus 7T, may be Image signal Processor on the Snapdragon 865 will help this phone deliver better results.
My OnePlus 8 is running on the latest version of Oxygen OS, which is available at the time of uploading this video. Let us start with daytime images. We have been looking at the images from this sensor since the OnePlus 7, and as you can see, it is getting better and better with the details, thanks to image signal processing capabilities of the newer snapdragon processors. There are plenty of details in these images,but I think the contrast is a bit on the heavier side, making some of the images appear a bit darker than they should. Most of the images look good from the primarycamera, and if you are getting this phone, I think you will be happy with the primary camera’s daylight performance. Indoor daytime images also turned out to be pretty good from the primary camera. OnePlus seems to have worked a lot on getting the colours right, because in almost all of these shots, colours turned out to be exactly as the actual scene looked. There is just a bit more contrast in these images, as I mentioned before, but they look good for the most part. And we don’t see the weird green or magenta tint that we saw in some of the images from the OnePlus 7 series phones, so thumbs upto OnePlus, for getting it right this time.
Better But Not The Best
In terms of dynamic range, I think OnePlus need to work a bit on getting it even better. In some of the shots like this, it does well to bring up the details from the shadows, but it fails to preserve the details from the highlights. You can see something similar in this image. It did bring up many details from the darker parts, but if we zoom in, we see that it did not preserve any of the details in the brighter area, and this is with the Ultra Shot HDR mode turned on. Now in this shot, it did well to bring up the details in the building and preserve the details in the leaves, despite of the sun behind them. But the overall image still need some work,here is how it could look if the image processing did a slightly better job. I think there is potential in this sensor and the ISP to do better, but OnePlus just needs to tweak the software a bit, so it can take better advantage of all the RAW data that this sensor captures.
Something About Close Up Shots
Before we move on to the close up shots, It has is a quick focusing speed of the primary camera. There is a 4K 30fps video, it is pretty quick at switching the focus from a near to far object, and then back again. If you remember, on previous OnePlus phone,there was a pretty big dip in the focusing capability when I switched from 30fps to 60fps videos. I think that was because they were using OIS for stabilising the 60fps videos. Now they have switched to using EIS for keeping all these videos stable, so even while shooting at 4K 60fps, focusing is just as quick for the primary camera. Faster and accurate focusing, means we get to take amazing close up shots like this one. The subject is in perfect sharp focus, and since it is a large sensor and it has F/1.75 aperture, the background gets a very nice optical blur. Now since a 48 megapixel sensor is large for a smartphone, as you get closer to the subject, plane of focus starts getting narrower, making it harder to keep things in focus. You also see some arti facting in the things that are just slightly out of focus. If you want to get even close to the subject,there is a dedicated macro camera on this phone. Normally I am defending the lower resolution macro cameras on most smartphones, because given right conditions, you can take really good macro shots even with most 2 megapixel macro cameras. But the one on the OnePlus 8 has to be one of the worst out there.
First of all, you can’t get too close to the object, and even when the focus is set, there just aren’t too many details in the subject, no matter how well lit the subject is. I have found a work around for this, you can use the digital zoom on the primary camera to get even better macro shots than the macro lens. Since it is a bigger sensor, and it has wide raperture than the macro lens, these digitally zoomed images look much better than the ones from the macro camera, and there is also a lot less noise in these digitally zoomed shots. The ultra wide lens on this OnePlus 8 is even wider than the one on the OnePlus 7T, and it lets you capture so much more of the scene when compared to the normal lens. Unlike the 7T, we don’t have a telephoto lens on this phone, but you can still take 2x digitally zoomed images. These ones are not as sharp as the ones from a telephoto lens would have been, but in ample of light they get the job done. The colours and while balance are a bit inconsistent when you switch from the normal to wide lens. Overall colour tones from the primary camera are natural warm, but the wide lens tends to lean on capturing cooler colour tones. OnePlus needs to work on the software a bit,to match these 2 lenses as closely as possible in terms of white balance and colour temperature. We all know this by now, that the wide lens is not as sharp or as detailed as the primary camera, and most of its images are softer,specially towards the edges.
You might notice this while taking close upor indoor shots with these lenses, but for outdoor or far away shots, you won’t notice the lower image quality, unless you zoom way in. All the images from the primary camera were 12 megapixel pixel binned ones. But if you wish to take higher resolution images, you can switch to the 48 megapixel mode. When you switch to 48mp, it says this mode offers higher resolution and captures details in a well lit scene. And that 12 megapixel mode offers better dynamic range, and that this is the recommended mode for most of your shots. When you take 48mp images in ample light, it does capture more details than the 12 megapixel ones, but you will have to zoom in 5-6 times to notice the difference. 48mp images are also much bigger in terms of file size, so it is best to stick to the default 12 megapixel mode for most of your shots.
Now portrait mode on smartphones is the best way to make your images look like they were taken with DSLR camera and an expensive prime lens. OnePlus 8 does a very good job with these portrait shots. I think edge detection needs a bit of refinement, but the shots look good for the most part. Faces are in perfect sharp focus, and the background gets a very good natural looking blur. The dynamic range seems to be amazing while taking these shots. It might be a bit aggressive at times, but it does a good job for most of these shots. I just hope we get better results more consistently. Edge detection and dynamic range is just as good while taking portraits of objects. Edge detection is definitely not perfect while taking these portraits, but I am sure OnePlus can fix this with software update, as they did on some of their previous smartphones. There is again a bit more contrast in these images, but I like that the subjects are sharp and detailed in all shots.
Let us move to images shot in indoors, artificial and lower lighting conditions. F/1.75 aperture and optical image stabilisation lets it keep on capturing pleasing images even as the light goes down. This phone makes the indoor lighting images look really good. There is some noise in the darker parts on these images, but that is to be expect out of any phone when the light is low. Night scape mode helps in reducing that noise and capturing much sharper images. As we zoom in, look at how much more details the image with night mode managed to get in the shot. OIS on the main camera, helps the shutter remain open longer, and capture more light which when combined with the night scape mode,gives us such good images. You can use Pro mode and get better results with even longer exposure. But that might require a tripod or somethingto keep the phone steady, and some knowledge of things like shutter speed, ISO, Exposure and so on. And most people don’t want to mess with these settings, every time they want to take a decent image, so the Night Scape mode works best for them. These images look good on their own, considering the available light at the scene. But how do they look when compared to some of the competing smartphones? Well, that is a question for another video. If you want to see me compare cameras on this phone with the likes of OnePlus 7T, iPhone 11 and the Mi 10 make sure you Check this out .
OnePlus has been using the same sensor for the selfie camera since quite a few generations, even tough its performance not been anything out of ordinary. It is a decent shooter, But the sharpness and detail levels don’t really match up to the level of other front facing cameras in the market. I have said this about previous OnePlus phones as well, that I am not talking about an increase in the megapixel count, but OnePlus really needs to take a hold of the image processing for this camera. Edge detection is good for the portrait selfies, and since the background is blurred out, subjects appear a bit more sharper in these portrait selfies. It does really well even when you have multiple faces in the shot. Dynamic range takes big hit while taking portrait selfies. While I think that Oneplus has got a lot right with the rear facing cameras on this phone, I think they really need to put in more efforts into the front facing camera.
OnePlus has finally managed to give us a decent set of cameras on this OnePlus 8. While the images are not mind blowingly great, but other than the disappointing macro camera, there is really not a lot to complain about. I have not compared its images with any other smartphone yet, so we don’t know where does it stand against the competition. But on its own, I think the OnePlus 8 has got a set of decent cameras on its back. Now all OnePlus needs to do is tweak it a bit with software updates, to make it even better, specially the selfie camera. I am really exited to test these cameras against the ones on the OnePlus 7T and see if we really get enough of an upgrade in terms of cameras. What are your thoughts about the cameras on this OnePlus 8? And based on its cameras, would you choose it over the 7T?