The OnePlus 3 goes for around $400 and offers a design with solid attention to detail, good technical specifications and performance. But how well does the smartphone camera perform? Well, I'm the AndroidPIT photographer and I'm here to let you know how well it works.
The new top-of-the-range photographic specs on various flagships allow you to take quality pictures in different lighting conditions. This year's Samsung Galaxy series has made inroads in the hearts of photography lovers by integrating the S7 and S7 Edge with a 12 MP camera with an aperture of f / 1.7. And Huawei has partnered with Leica for its P9 and P9 Plus devices.
OnePlus has opted for a Sony IMX298 1 / 2.8 " with 16 MP (1.12 mM) and an aperture of f / 2.0. Its supported by an optical and electronic image stabilizer, autofocus phase detection sensor and manual mode. On the front panel of the device, OnePlus has built a Sony IMX179 1 / 3.2" 8 MP sensor (1.4 uM) with the same aperture of f / 2.0. But what do all these technical specs mean? What we really want to know is whether the camera of the OnePlus 3 is able to take good pictures.
Colors aren't always natural
Amazing front camera
The settings aren't manual
Good field depth
The pixels aren't visible to the naked eye
Struggling with manual mode
If you leave a smartphone in the hands of a photographer, the first thing he/she will do is go in search of the manual mode. And this is exactly what I did.
Accessing the manual mode is very simple: you just launch the camera app (with a simple tap or with activation gestures by drawing a circle on the display), click on the menu at the top left corner of the screen and select Manual. From here, you can adjust the shutter speed (1/8000 to 30 seconds), whites (choosing one of four options: overcast, sunlight, florescent, incandescent), focus and ISO. The latter can be set up to 3,200 although there is no guarantee of excellent performance in the dark.
The camera focuses quickly despite the depth of field being not as astonishing as that offered by the Samsung Galaxy S7. But, overall, it is still great. To get an idea, take a look at the two images below, taken one after the other.
Unfortunately, you cannot change the opening set default of f / 2 and greater flexibility of the settings would be more than welcome.
The snapshots during the day
How does the OnePlus 3 camera cope with outdoor shots during the day? Well, I can guarantee good shots without surprises or disappointment. The colors are rather cold and tend to green, the shadows are sometimes flat but, in normal lighting conditions, the pictures are good overall.
If you usually use the camera of your smartphone to capture landscapes then 'landscape mode' is an option on which it is worth discussing. To be blunt, I'm not particularly satisfied with this mode. When you are in front of bright views or shaded areas, some spots in the photo are overexposed. Unfortunately, 'panorama mode' is not able to take advantage of the HDR, which is selectable when shooting in 'auto mode'. It should be said that under normal lighting conditions this mode does its job without problems.
The front camera does not disappoint and under the sunlight ensures rich bright shots with fine detail.
Generally, the main camera is the one that is most surprising, but in the case of OnePlus 3 it was the dedicated objective of selfies to make their mark on me by allowing me to see the pores of my skin.
We have said it many times before but I'll say it again: megapixels are not everything. The OnePlus 3 with its main 16 MP camera once again demonstrated this when I compared it to the 12 MP rear lens mounted on the iPhone 6s. As you can see from the picture below, the camera of the OnePlus 3, in a photo taken at ten at night, cannot offer the same details that we find in the picture offered by the iPhone 6s. Zooming in, you can better see the difference below.
Even the front camera, which is best at night, is surpassed by that of the iPhone 6s. which offers more natural colors. In the shot made with the OnePlus 3, you notice the magenta hue of the skin, much less natural than that of its rival.
The camera of OnePlus 3 is quick and ensures good photos, especially when you consider the price of the device. It does not reach certain levels offered by the new top-of-the-range Samsung devices.The colors are good, maybe not always accurate, and clear images lose some details when you zoom in.
The camera app offers a simple, minimalist functionality, but does not provide a manual mode dedicated photo enthusiasts. It should be said that if you are a professional you'll probably find the settings restrictive. Do not expect to find effects found in the P9 or other similar options – as mentioned above. The OnePlus 3 camera software is very simple and only provides essential functions.
In short, considering the $400 price tag, the camera is more than satisfactory. However, if you are considering buying a new smartphone for its camera, then it is worth it to pay a few more bucks to get a more powerful camera. This is especially true when you consider the smartphone as a pocket camera with WhatsApp, Google and related functions integrated into calls.
Every two weeks, we will propose a new episode of our #Photocorner during which we will show the cameras integrated into Android devices or the best app dedicated to photography.
Would you like to know all the secrets of a particular device's camera or camera application? Leave a comment below, we'll take it into consideration for the upcoming events.