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OnePlus 5 Camera Review (with Sample Pictures)

It has been over months since I been snapping photos with what can only be described as the most snap-happy (is that a word?) camera I’ve ever used. Technically, it’s a smartphone, yes, but once you use the camera of the new OnePlus 5, you will understand why “snap-happy” is just the perfect term to describe its camera.

Let’s take a step back.

I always keep a secondary phone with me ever since I got an iPhone. The reasons are simple. I want to keep a smartphone handy that has enough battery power in case my primary phone runs out of juice, and I also use the secondary phone as a WiFi Hotspot when I’m on the go to prevent iPhone’s battery draining to zero.

As a bonus, I get to keep experience both Android and iOS. 

What makes OnePlus 5 camera amazing — apart from the obvious image quality — is how good the software optimization is.

Up until recently, my secondary phone was a Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime. With iPhone 7 Plus’ price dropping, I was itching to get a new phone, but I didn’t want a new iPhone as my 6s is doing just fine. So I decided to upgrade my secondary phone to OnePlus, and I didn’t regret that decision for a second.

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OnePlus 5 deserves a comprehensive review of its own, and — spoiler alert — it will be full of positive vibes. I have so many good things to say about this phone. And a large portion of those good things will be about the camera.

In order to prevent the full review from becoming an epic long scroll, I decided to share the sample photos from the camera before the full review comes out. If you’re wondering why you should care about reading my review of the phone, check out how I write my reviews and why they are different.

A Two Cameras Like No Other

Plenty of my friends so far have given the OnePlus 5’s camera this praise: “The camera makes anything look nice!” And that’s a great compliment to give!

OnePlus 5 has dual cameras on the back and a single camera at the front. The back cameras comprise of a 16 MP f/1.7 aperture lens at 27mm and a 20 MP f/2.6 aperture lens at 36mm. The wider lens has an Electronic Image Stabilization which works somewhat well. The front camera is also a 16 MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture at 20mm and also features EIS.

But specs aren’t what makes this camera amazing. In fact, I’m sure there are plenty other cameras out there that have better specs. What makes OnePlus 5 camera amazing — apart from the obvious image quality — is how good the software optimization is.

Snap-Happy

From the moment you start taking pictures on this camera, you begin to realize just how fast the software is to process pictures one after another and how quickly it is ready to take another picture at the touch of your finger. Even with many, many apps running in the background, the camera never failed to load blazing fast, not once in my over a month of use.

Of course, the ridiculous hardware of Octa-Core processor and 8 GB RAM plays a vital role in this. But I’m pretty certain that if you get the 6 GB RAM version, you’ll get a similar performance, at least, in the camera department.

Sample Pictures

I know, I know. All of you are here to see the pictures. But this camera is so good that I couldn’t keep myself from praising it before showing you the pictures. So, without wasting any more time, let’s get to the pictures!

Immediately after purchasing the phone, I took a trip to Cox’s Bazar and decided to take the majority of the photos using OnePlus 5. I’m not disappointed in my decision!

The pictures are straight from the camera and were taken in various lighting conditions. The watermarks are option (obviously), but I chose to leave them for the sake of comparison! (Plus, they look cool!)

Oneplus 5 sample photo cox's bazar The pictures are straight from the camera and were taken in various lighting conditions. The watermarks are option (obviously), but I chose to leave them for the sake of comparison! (Plus, they look cool!) Oneplus 5 sample photo cox's bazar IMG_20170927_145313IMG_20170926_074703IMG_20170926_074552 IMG_20170928_135438IMG_20170928_134617 IMG_20170927_164203IMG_20171005_115657

Depth Effect

This is OnePlus’ version of “Portrait Mode” first introduced with iPhone 7. Although this can be a hit and miss at times, for the most part, OnePlus manages to replicate the bokeh effect very, very nicely! Especially if you actually take a person’s portrait with the Depth effect turned on, it works mostly well.

But if you use objects, it may be a hit and miss especially on the corners of the subject that should be in focus.

Here are some of the photos taken in Depth effect. The first one has a non-depth effect photo side-by-side. When taking a photo in Depth effect, you can choose to have a regular version of the photo saved to the gallery as well.

As you can see above, the difference is minimal but noticeable.

The picture on the left — the delicious steak — is my favorite picture from the entire trip!

IMG_20170928_134833_BokehIMG_20170928_134850_Bokeh

Low-light Photos

The low-light performance of any camera is the first thing that comes to mind for anyone enthusiastic about photography. From my experience of shooting low-light photos with the OnePlus 5, I can confidently say that you will not be disappointed.

It’s not the best low-light performer in the world and its low-light images are certainly not 100% free from noise, but in most cases, you will get a usable image.

IMG_20170927_175459 IMG_20171002_155253 IMG_20170923_142639 IMG_20171002_141726IMG_20170929_131345IMG_20170927_220441IMG_20170927_180637

Compared to the iPhone

I know what you’re thinking. Why does every smartphone camera need to be compared to the iPhone? Well, because historically, the iPhone has been providing the best camera experience. Besides, when you have two smartphones at the same time, your mind kind of gets curious to know how they compare!

To be honest, I didn’t have the latest iPhone camera at my disposal. I didn’t have the 7 plus or the 8 plus. These were taken using an iPhone 6s. Let’s take a look at the photos from both phones. You’ll know which picture was taken using which camera! 😀

IMG_20170924_143351IMG_7944IMG_20170924_150243IMG_7945IMG_20170927_142957IMG_7957IMG_20170927_180024IMG_7961IMG_20170927_182513IMG_7965

I would say that there isn’t that much of a difference between the two unless you are pixel-peeping. I don’t pixel-peep so I would give both equal performance points!

There’s one thing to note, however. If you take a picture on an iPhone and a OnePlus 5 and compare them side-by-side, the OnePlus 5 photo will always look better. This is because of OnePlus 5’s screen which makes everything look better, more saturated, and slightly sharper.

When I saw the pictures side by side on the respective phones, I was sure that OnePlus 5 photos were coming out better. It wasn’t until I saw the actual photos side by side on a computer when I realized they don’t look that different. Take a look at the red airplane seat photos. Both photos look somewhat same in terms of saturation and sharpness.

Wrapping Up

There’s so much more to say about the OnePlus 5 phone as a whole that I can’t wait to publish the full review. By now, you must have realized just how good the OnePlus 5 camera performs. It completely deserves a review of its own. The camera is a solid performer both in adequate and low light. Against the sun or bright light, the camera has good contrast and captures sharpness and saturation pretty well.

Most of all, the camera app is blazing fast, snappy, and ready to take a picture at a moment’s notice. What more could you ask for from a smartphone camera?

Have thoughts or questions about the OnePlus 5 camera? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll answer!

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