Camera Shootouts

OnePlus 5T vs OPPO R11s: Camera Shootout

Which phone has the better cameras?

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We are here, yet again. Months after the release of the OnePlus 5T and OPPO R11s, we are left scratching our heads at how much these two phones from supposedly different companies look so alike.

And now, the OnePlus 5T has a Lava Red version, too!

Of course, this isn’t the first time, this happened. These two phones’ predecessors, the OnePlus 5 and OPPO R11, also looked confusingly similar.

And so, I had to ask: Despite looking like absolute twinsies, how do the phones’ cameras perform against each other?

Quick specs

Both phones are equipped with dual-rear cameras: A 16- and 20-megapixel combo. Both phones have ditched using their secondary cameras for optical zoom capabilities and instead champion having two shooters with f/1.7 apertures — to shoot better in low-light situations, they claim.

It’s on the front-facing cameras where these two phones differ. The OnePlus 5T sports a 16-megapixel camera with an aperture of f/2.0 while the OPPO R11s is fitted with a 20-megapixel camera with the same f/2.0 aperture.

Now, on to the shootout!

Rear cameras

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be a big difference between the two phones in terms of rear camera performance. In great lighting conditions, the OnePlus 5T and the OPPO R11s deliver great color and detailed photos.

As I used the two phones more, however, I noticed a slight difference with the photos they produce.

In very bright or extreme lighting conditions, the OnePlus 5T’s photos had higher contrast while the R11s’ photos were usually brighter in terms of exposure.

With HDR on, the OnePlus 5T did slightly better. This handset was better at balancing the bright sky background and the shadowy flower foreground. The flowers on the R11s sample were visibly darker and less detailed.

Colors come out almost the same — bright and punchy, but not too saturated as other smartphone cameras have been known to do. But, notice that the R11s’ shot is a tad warmer than the 5T’s photo.

This warmth on the R11s photos is more apparent in the photo above. Again, OPPO’s photos are more exposed, though in this case, that led to a lack of detail on this particular photo.

That R11s brightness works for some instances, however. In the pictures above, the brightness on the OPPO R11s photo worked as it made for a more vivid photo of the flowers.

In low-light settings, both devices do good, though we’ve seen other handsets perform better. Colors are brighter and more solid on the OnePlus 5T; its contrast settings work better for scenarios like this.

Portrait mode

The OnePlus 5T and the OPPO R11s both have portrait modes on their rear cameras. For the unfamiliar, this shooting mode just allows for a bokeh effect and slight face-filtering that ensures optimum photos.

On this mode, both devices did well. Bokeh cutouts looked good and natural. As expected and as observed from the other photos, the R11s had a higher exposure which meant less shadows on the face. There was also more airbrushing on the R11s photo with Joshua’s (the photo subject) freckles almost disappearing completely.

There’s also an extra setting on the R11s’ rear camera portrait mode that allows for a tighter portrait shot — I call this the “bust” or “full body” button. Toggling this will either crop into the photo like above, or give you a wider shot like the photo before that.

The same observations are applicable to this next portrait photo. Notice how smooth my skin is on the R11s picture — even golden hour’s great lighting wouldn’t have been able to get my skin to look that great!

Front-facing cameras

Now on to selfies!

This first selfie batch was taken with the beauty mode turned off.

Look closer and you’ll notice subtle differences. The R11s’ photo exposure make it seem like my face is brighter, and even without beauty mode, there seems to be subtle airbrushing done on my face. On both photos, you see the detail on my skin, though I’d say that the OnePlus 5T photo is more true to life — not that I’m happy about that fact.

It should be noted, though, that there is no bokeh mode available on the OnePlus 5T’s front-facing cameras. Alas, you have to deal with crappy backgrounds when you’re on this phone as you can’t blur them out.

It’s really on the beauty mode that these two phones differ. The OnePlus 5T does have a beauty mode contolled by a bar that you can toggle for intensity. The OPPO R11s, on the other hand, has beauty mode settings with choices from intensities one to six, and artificial intelligence-powered beauty mode when set to “Auto.”

The OnePlus 5T’s beauty mode is noticeably mild compared to the R11s’. Even on the highest setting, OnePlus’ filters weren’t as strong as some of OPPO’s. Although OPPO’s filters run the risk of too much smoothing and plastic-y skin, the improved AI-beauty mode has me impressed with natural-looking selfie results.

Even in group selfies, the same results carry over. Again, there is no bokeh or portrait mode on the OnePlus 5T’s selfie camera, which is a shame especially for group photos like above.

Verdict

While these two devices look confusingly similar, they are designed for two different markets. Aside from camera treatment, there are notable differences between two phones in terms of user experience (OnePlus uses OxygenOS which is near stock Android, while OPPO is on ColorOS which mimic’s Apple’s iOS) and specs (the OnePlus 5T uses a high-end Snapdragon 835 while the OPPO R11s uses a midrange Snapdragon 660 processor).

The OnePlus 5T, slapped with a flagship processor, is aimed at power users who look at utility and value for money as primary priorities. Even this phone’s lack of portrait or bokeh mode on the front-facing camera, if it’s any indication, shows how selfies just aren’t a priority on this device.

The OPPO R11s, on the other hand, sticks to the brand’s selfie roots. It caters to an audience that puts importance on selfies and beauty modes, even going as far as installing artificial intelligence on said beauty mode.


To be completely honest, there isn’t much of a difference in terms of picture quality between these two handsets. It all boils down to preference. Unless you’re very particular about your beauty modes, either phone would work for you.

In this particular case, the cameras aren’t a tie-breaker.

SEE ALSO: OnePlus 5 vs OPPO R11 shootout: Which has better cameras?

Camera Shootouts

Does AI on Honor 10 photos really work?

We took plenty of snaps to find out

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Artificial Intelligence or AI appears to have become a staple feature on smartphones released in 2018. It’s even a headline feature on the Honor 10 with its tagline “Beauty in AI.”

Just how much can AI enhance your images? We took a stroll one afternoon and took a few photos to find out. Side note: The only editing done on these photos was resizing to make sure they load faster on the website.

Even without AI, the Honor 10’s pair of cameras does a good job of capturing the details of the buildings, but with AI turned on, the colors pop. If you look closely at the clouds, it almost appears as if the gates of heaven are about to open.

Moving on, we spotted this colorful set of umbrellas. You’ll notice right away that the photo taken with AI is more vibrant. This will be a recurring theme throughout this entire article.

This flower photo shows how color translates well even in closer shots.

Inside the mall, the photo taken with AI captured the feeling evoked by the installation better. Felt pretty bright and cheery seeing inanimate flamingos in love.

Before heading out to eat, I checked out some new kicks because apparently, that’s something I’m really into now. I’m not a fan of King James but this Nike LeBron 15 Low “Ashes” caught my eye. In this photo, I thought the one without AI did a better job at focusing my attention on the shoe.

Snapped this quick portrait of Leez right before we ate. The AI did fantastic work here, but as you’ll see later on, it doesn’t always get things right.

Here’s what I had for late lunch and the AI made it look super sumptuous. I’m crazy about Hot Star’s large fried chicken — the BBQ flavor, in particular. 🤤

We ran into a few superheroes when we stepped out. Iron Man Hulkbuster looked lackluster without AI, but he shines once it’s turned on.

Leez’s photo with Deadpool shows the Honor 10 does a decent job identifying more than one subject when applying bokeh.

Now, here’s an example of when the Honor 10 just didn’t get it right. We had more results like this than really good ones. I don’t know if it was me being a little too emo here, but bokeh on the photo went a little too far.

However, when it does bokeh right, the photo can look magical.

Took one more shot before leaving and honestly, this was my reaction after seeing how much enhancement the AI does on the Honor 10. Can it be better? Sure. But for what it does now, we were pretty happy with the results.

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Camera Shootouts

Huawei P20 vs P20 Lite: Camera Shootout

Double the price, double the performance?

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We all know the Huawei P20 family has a fantastic set of cameras, but the questions is: How do they compare against each other?

While a P20 versus P20 Pro comparison would be interesting, I figured comparing the P20 against the lower-end P20 Lite is more compelling. Why? Because the latter is half the price of the former.

And yet, they both share a dual-camera setup, sans the Leica branding on the Lite model. But do those sweet German lenses justify the doubling in price? That’s something we need to find out in this shootout.

As usual, every photo is taken on Auto mode without any post-processing, except for resizing to let this page load faster. To make this comparison more fun, we’ll make it a blind shootout. You can find the answer sheet at the bottom.

Let’s start!

#1

 

#2

 

#3

 

#4

 

#5

 

#6

 

#7

 

#8

 

#9

 

#10

 

#11

 

#12

 

So, was it closer than you expected? Here’s the answer sheet:

#1: P20 Lite (left) vs P20 (right)

#2: P20 Lite (left) vs P20 (right)

#3: P20 (left) vs P20 Lite (right)

#4: P20 (left) vs P20 Lite (right)

#5: P20 (left) vs P20 Lite (right)

#6: P20 Lite (left) vs P20 (right)

#7: P20 (left) vs P20 Lite (right)

#8: P20 Lite (left) vs P20 (right)

#9: P20 Lite (left) vs P20 (right)

#10: P20 Lite (left) vs P20 (right)

#11: P20 (left) vs P20 Lite (right)

#12: P20 (left) vs P20 Lite (right)

From my own experience, I’d say the P20 clearly does better at night, but they do equally well during daytime. Another thing to consider — and this doesn’t show up on the results — is that the P20 focuses on subjects faster and has a richer camera app. The P20 also has that useful night mode allowing four-second handheld photos, which weren’t included in this shootout.

So, what do you think about the comparison? And which phones should we compare next? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Camera Shootouts

$100 Phone vs $900 Phone: Camera Shootout

Does paying 9X more mean 9X better photos?

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Here’s something you don’t see us do very often: comparing one of the best smartphone cameras available in the market today with one of the cheapest but not necessarily worst.

The chosen contenders in this shootout are single-camera phones, namely the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Xiaomi Redmi 5A. The former sells for around US$ 900 almost anywhere in the world except for the US where it’s much cheaper, and the latter is more or less US$ 100 in Asia and some parts of Europe.

In previous similar comparisons, we used phones that had US$ 200 to US$ 650 price gaps; this time we’re comparing phones with a huge US$ 800 difference. While it’s obvious that Samsung’s flagship has top-of-the-line specs and is one of the most feature-rich phones out there, we are curious to see if its camera is nine times better than Xiaomi’s budget offering, given its steep price tag.

Get your pen and paper ready because this is a blind test. All photos were taken in Auto Mode and were not edited. They are labeled Photo A and Photo B randomly. Swipe left to see the photos in full and take note of your picks.

#1

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#2

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#3

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#4

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#5

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#6

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#7

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#8

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#9

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#10

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#11

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#12

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#13

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#14

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#15

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#16

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And that’s it! Are you ready to see what phone you picked for each set? Here they are:

#1
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#2
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#3
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

#4
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#5
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#6
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

#7
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

#8
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#9
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

#10
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#11
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#12
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

#13
A: Redmi 5A
B: Galaxy S9

#14
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

#15
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

#16
A: Galaxy S9
B: Redmi 5A

After several other comparisons in the past, we know by now that when it comes to at least daytime scenes, any two smartphone cameras will be comparable, and the same can be said about this shootout. We just didn’t expect it would be a close fight between the Galaxy S9 and Redmi 5A even for indoor and low-light shots like numbers 8 to 12.

There are, of course, little things that a comparison cannot show by just putting two photos side by side. The Galaxy S9 focuses and shoots much faster than the Redmi 5A in all scenarios. It took several tries for the Redmi 5A to produce a good photo while the S9 more often than not would get it right the first time. It’s important to note, however, that the S9 sharpens and makes some photos warmer than in real life, as can be seen in the food and portrait shots.

Overall, the Galaxy S9 is still the better camera, no doubt. But if there’s one thing we learned, it’s that when it comes to still images, you no longer need to spend all of your hard-earned savings for capturing moments you want to remember. The Redmi 5A will give you comparable results as a smartphone camera worth nine times its price tag.

As the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have in your pocket, and in this case, the one your pocket can afford.

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