How good is the OnePlus 7 Pro camera setup?
- The OnePlus 7 Pro is the first of the company’s phones to feature a triple sensor primary camera.
- Improvements to software features like Nightscape – it’s low-light shooting mode – are also onboard.
- Quality is for the most part good for a flagship, but work still needs to be done to improve its low-light performance.
OnePlus has ensured that this year’s flagship keeps pace with the competition by offering a multi-lens, multi-focal length main camera setup that’s both capable and versatile.
The 7 Pro’s three-lens arrangement is fronted by a 48-megapixel primary sensor – the same Sony IMX586 sensor found inside everything from the Xiaomi Mi 9 and Honor View 20, to the Black Shark 2 and Oppo Reno series.
It’s popular for its headline-grabbing megapixel count and for the technical flexibility it offers too. “More megapixels does not a good camera make” of course, but it’s a capable offering when put in the hands of an experienced engineering team.
The sensor also features an f/1.6 aperture, OIS (optical image stabilisation) and a custom seven-element lens that OnePlus says should help with fringing and distortion at the edge of frame. Beneath the main sensor is a small gap which houses the gubbins that support the phone’s hybrid contrast and phase-detection autofocus system too.
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Just above the main sensor is the phone’s secondary 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera, which sports an f/2.2 aperture and a broad 117-degree field of view, while down at the bottom lurks its 8-megapixel telephoto lens, with an f/2.4 aperture and OIS.
While not quite matching Oppo or Huawei’s efforts in the realm of lossless zoom, the Pro’s tele camera does an admirable job by providing the phone with 3x optical zoom and that’s without the need for a transverse periscopic design, as on its rivals.
Beyond hardware, the phone has an enhanced portrait mode, version 2.0 of its Nightscape low-light scene mode. By way of that 48-megapixel Sony sensor, it also has pixel-binning technology which condenses the image data of four pixels into one, to help identify and iron out shake and noise, spitting a 12-megapixel final image out as a result.
Natural light: OnePlus 7 Pro (left), Huawei P30 Pro (right)
Quality is impressive at the phone’s maximum 3x lossless optical zoom
In natural light, the 7 Pro is on par with every other high-end snapper worth its salt right now, save for the Huawei P30 Pro and Google Pixel 3, both of which offer greater detail capture and dynamic range. The 3x lossless optical zoom also means cropping in on subjects and scenes is no longer a fruitless effort, with impressive amounts of detail held in images.
OnePlus needs to work on the 7 Pro’s low light performance: OnePlus 7 Pro (left), OnePlus 6T (right)
OnePlus worked hard to improve the OnePlus 6T‘s low light capabilities last year but the move to new hardware has clearly added a bump in the development of this year’s setup. While the pictures it produces are still usable, there’s an evident lack of detail that the competition – including its predecessor – has a better handle on.
The newly improved Nightscape feature goes a long way to improving the 7 Pro’s low light shooting but more work needs to be done before it’s a true contender in this area.
Elsewhere, that triple camera arrangement is a joy to use. The weaker wide-angle lens is best utilised in bright environments but can capture interesting and arresting perspectives not otherwise possible.
Portrait mode adds pleasant and realistic bokeh to situations but any face detected in-frame, be it in the foreground or background, will appear sharp, which sometimes works against the artificial depth effect, breaking immersion.
With the phone’s capable hardware, the inclusion of up to 4K video recording at a smooth 60fps is also a welcome inclusion, with decent stabilisation to boot.
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