In the run-up to the launch of the OnePlus 5, all the hype surrounded the new camera, but I found it was the weakest part of the phone. For the 5T, OnePlus seems to have reigned in its expectations slightly and focussed less on the camera, which is probably a good thing.
Even though there are still two cameras on the back of this phone, they work very differently to how they did on the OnePlus 5. Previously, the secondary sensor was telephoto, with a longer focal-length for giving you a bit more freedom with zooming. That’s been ditched here – which is fine, it was kind of terrible – and now both cameras have the same focal-length and f/1.7 aperture. The ‘main’ sensor is still 16-megapixels, but those pixels are much bigger than the pixels in secondary 20-megapixel sensor.
This might seem a strange move: what’s the point of having two cameras on the back that are virtually the same? Well, OnePlus says the new secondary sensor is there just for low-light performance and that when the light is under 10 lux it’ll automatically switch. This low-light sensor also benefits from ‘Intelligent Pixel Technology’ which merges four pixels into one. OnePlus says this reduces noise and enhances clarity, but I can’t say I am entirely convinced.
The low-light shots I have captured are quite good, but not noticeably better than before. Noise is marginally reduced and there’s a good hit of detail, but I don’t really feel it’s worth having an entire dedicated sensor for this.
Shots taken in bright light are reliably decent: colours are bright and vivid, detail is crisp and there’s a good amount of dynamic range. It’s not going to trouble the likes of the iPhone 8 or Google Pixel 2, but I can’t criticise too much at this price. It’s also a far better camera than the terrible effort on the Razer Phone.
Well lit shots look good
Low-light shots aren’t the best, but they can be ok
Dynamic range is ok
The auto-HDR mode nicely levels out exposure
There’s plenty of detail
Even though the telephoto zoom lens has been ditched, OnePlus has kept around the quick 2x zoom jump and portrait mode. Both are fine, but the portraits still look super artificial.
I really like the camera app OnePlus has built and it’s one of the only ones I have tried that manages to cram in a deep suite of manual controls without it being overbearing. You can alter the ISO, white balance and exposure and capture images in RAW.
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Video can be captured in 4K and the electronic image stabilisation (EIS) does a good job at making up for the lack of proper optical image stabilisation (OIS) but it can sometimes have an artificial finish in particularly fast-moving video.
The 16-megapixel front-facing is the same as previous OnePlus devices and it’s still pretty good. The screen can be utilised as a flash and there’s HDR here too, which can level out exposure when you’re snapping selfies in bright sunlight.