“See London through the eyes of the latest killer flagship”
The fact that OnePlus chose to pit its latest smartphone against the likes of the Google Pixel 2 XL (review), Apple iPhone X (review) and Samsung Galaxy S9+ (review) in a blind camera test even before its launch, suggests how confident the brand is when it comes to the imaging prowess of the OnePlus 6. So is the device any good in terms of shooting prowess? Well, we got a chance to see London through the dual cameras of the OnePlus 6 and made the most of it. But before we show you the pictures, let’s take a quick look at the camera hardware and software.
The OnePlus 6 comes with a camera setup which is eerily similar to its predecessor – a 16MP f/1.7 primary shooter, accompanied by a 20MP f/1.7 lens. However, the primary camera is now upgraded, with the Sony IMX519 sensor boasting a larger pixel size of 1.12µm. The front snapper remains the same as the OnePlus 5T, i.e. 16MP. An interesting thing to note here is that unlike other dual-camera implementations in smartphones, the secondary camera on the OP6 is only used for capturing depth information. Despite that, the smartphone offers 2x lossless zoom.
Related read: OnePlus 6 review
The camera viewfinder is very minimalistic, with all the options laid out in front. By default, in the portrait mode, you’ll get the shutter button, toggle for the front camera and the ability to jump to the gallery at the bottom. Above that, the app gives you controls to switch between photo, video and portrait modes. Tapping the arrow above it will bring up a number of shooting modes, including slow-mo, pro, time lapse and panorama, while the gear icon on the screen takes you to camera settings. Up top, you’ll get the options to turn on the timer, enable or disable the HDR feature, change the aspect ratio and toggle the flash. While OnePlus has joined the AI bandwagon to enhance image quality, it does have some other new features up its sleeve – Smart Capture and Advanced HDR. While the former ensures that the camera can optimise the photos depending upon the environment, while the latter brings out better details and dynamic range in the photos.
But words can’t do justice to the camera quality of the OnePlus 6, so without further ado, here’s a look at the images captured from the smartphone.
PS: the images have been resized for the web. To check them in the original resolution, click here.
Some of the most common shots taken by modern day smartphones are landscapes, sceneries, cityscapes, and the like, and the OnePlus 6 does a brilliant job of capturing the same. The shot embedded above looks pleasing to the eyes, showing high level of detail for the buildings and trees in the frame. It’s only when you see the image in full resolution, you’ll see the sharpness going down, especially for the distant buildings.
While capturing subjects from close quarters, the OnePlus 6 ensures similar levels of sharpness and reproduces natural colours. Focusing on the rose in this case, ensured that the phone’s camera is able to offer some bokeh effect, which makes the image all the more appealing.
Close up (zoomed in)
Magnifying on the same image doesn’t result in loss of details, and we can see that the camera does a good job with edge detection.
OnePlus’ first smartphone with dual rear cameras – the OP5 – offered lossless zoom of up to 2x (1.6x optical zoom + 0.4 digital zoom), and the 5T that came later also offered a zoom option. But it’s interesting to note that both the 5T and OnePlus 6 don’t have telephoto lenses, which means that the 2x magnification isn’t an optical one. So we captured the image you see above, with 2x zoom enabled (result below) to see if it shows reduced sharpness levels. As you can see from the image below, while the sharpness has taken a slight hit, the OnePlus 6 still manages to retain details and should be able to serve its purpose.
Without a doubt, the portrait mode has been the most popular implementation of dual-camera phones. One thing that differentiates the OP6 from the competition is the fact that since the secondary lens isn’t a telephoto one, there’s no crop factor while capturing portrait images. The handset’s viewfinder provides a good indication about the distance from which portrait shots can be captured, and does a solid job in separating the subject from the background. The smartphone also gives the option to enable various bokeh effects such as hearts and stars, which will add more charm to your shots.
Over the years, HDR has become one of the most popular modes in smartphone cameras for the simple reason that it enhances the output by improving the contrast between brightest and darkest spots in an image. And phonemakers are making it even better these days, including biggies like Google or Samsung. OnePlus also joins that league as it offers an Advanced HDR mode with the OnePlus 6, which promises to bring out the shadows to deliver better images. Comparing the non-HDR image (attached above) with the Advanced HDR one (posted below) does show significant differences. However, as my colleague pointed out in the review, sometimes the mode is really aggressive and while it looks pleasing, the colours can look unnatural in occasion, and it also results in loss of sharpness in some cases.
The camera on the OnePlus 6 manages to offer very good output while capturing images in dim settings. While there’s some noise, the overall output still remains attractive and vibrant.
While we usually don’t talk about panorama shots much, it’s a great way to capture a wide frame. In this case, the image doesn’t look stitched and offers vivid colours with high level of detail.
The OnePlus 6 is also capable of recording 4k videos at 60 fps, and thanks to the combination of OIS and EIS, the results are quite smooth. It must be noted however, that video capture at this resolution is restricted to five minutes.
OnePlus has been teasing about the slow-mo video recording capabilities of its latest smartphone, so it’s no surprise to see that the device can capture videos at higher frame rates. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Huawei’s P20 Pro however, which shoot videos at 960fps, the OP6 can record at 480fps. The advantage that the smartphone has is that it can capture these clips for up to a minute, instead of restricting it to just 0.2 seconds.
With a 16-meg sensor at the front, the OnePlus 6 will certainly appease selfie aficionados. The selfies captured from the smartphone offer nice depth-of-field effect and have good colour reproduction, though they aren’t that sharp when viewed in the original resolution.
All in all, the OnePlus 6 is clearly the best camera phone to come out of the brand’s stable yet. While it may not be as good as the Google Pixel 2 or the Samsung Galaxy S9+ in terms of photography, it does fall in the same class. Before we go, we’ll leave you with some more camera samples for your viewing pleasure.
Disclosure: this writer attended the launch event in London on OnePlus India’s invitation.