iPhone X vs. OnePlus 6: Which smartphone camera produces the best photos?

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in iPhone edited May 30
With a Snapdragon 845 processor, tons of RAM and a base price of $529, the new OnePlus 6 is being called the best bang for your buck smartphone on the market. But, how does its camera system stack up to the iPhone X?





For the second part of our tests, comparing the OnePlus 6 versus the iPhone X, we pitted the $579 OnePlus 6 model with 8GB of RAM against the $999 64GB iPhone X. In an initial benchmark comparison video, the OnePlus impressed with performance on par -- or better -- than Apple's flagship handset. Today we take a closer look at cameras, an area where Apple commits considerable resources to stay ahead of the Android pack.

The OnePlus 6 markets a dual camera system with 16- and 20-megapixel shooters, specifications that look great on paper because the iPhone X only has two 12-megapixel cameras. As with most marketing, however, specs alone don't tell the whole story. We found the 20MP sensor on the OnePlus is restricted to gathering depth data in portrait mode; there is literally no way to see an image through this lens.

OnePlus 6 Smartphone


Let's jump right into the comparison with a lighting situation that's tough for any camera. Seen below, the OnePlus 6 massively over sharpens the image, which looks overexposed and with a lot of noise as compared to the same shot taken with iPhone X.

OnePlus 6 and Apple iPhone X camera comparison


Looking at the metadata, the OnePlus was set at 100 ISO, increasing brightness, but in turn introducing unpleasant artifacts into the image. In fact, we looked through all of the One+ 6's photos, and found that it's limited to no less than 100 ISO, which is a huge downside for photo quality in bright conditions.

The iPhone X, on the other hand, was at a very low 20 ISO, so we naturally see markedly less noise. In our tests, the iPhone reached a low of 16 ISO, drastically reducing noise.

We also discovered that the OnePlus 6's aperture actually shows as f/1.53 instead of the marketed f/1.7. On the iPhone, some photos were shot at f/1.7 instead of the marketed f/1.8. This makes a difference in quite a few ways, and can actually make the OnePlus 6's photos less sharp.

Moving on, we tested portrait modes on both models. As you can see, the OnePlus 6 uses the wide lens for portrait mode, leaving the other to collect depth data.

One Plus 6 and Apple iPhone X camera comparison


Overall, the iPhone did a much better job with edges of objects, whereas the OnePlus had issues in some places, like my hair. The iPhone X is also quite a bit more detailed.

Here, you see the minimum distance needed for portrait mode to work on both phones. This just shows you how much better close-up portraits look with a telephoto zoom lens.

OnePlus 6 versus Apple iPhone X


In this set of photos, we tried to match the framing by bringing the OnePlus 6 closer to the subject. As you can see, the iPhone X's zoom lens compresses the background, which enlarges it for a more pleasant portrait photo. However, the colors on the OnePlus are much more natural, and it actually looks more detailed.

Here's another portrait photo. Shot with the OnePlus, there's more blur on the wider background and the white balance is more accurate.

OnePlus 6 and Apple iPhone X images


This non-portrait photo however, is the opposite. It butchers the white balance compared to the X, but it is more detailed.

And here we tried to get as close as we could while maintaining focus. The iPhone X's photo just looks incredible.

Here's a closeup photo of a tree for detail. The X's contrast is completely unrealistic, but appealing. The OnePlus churned out a photo that looks exactly like we saw in real life, despite being less detailed than the X.

Now with Panorama mode, both phones did great.

We took a couple more HDR photos, and the OnePlus overexposed again.

Now onto the selfie camera. The iPhone X goes way overboard on the contrast again, which makes shadows under the eyes darker. Detail is about even, and both phones missed the mark for white balance. The OnePlus was too cool and the iPhone was too warm.

OnePlus 6 cell phone


The iPhone, of course, has selfie Portrait Mode, a feature that the OnePlus lacks.

We tested dynamic range for selfies, an evaluation the OnePlus absolutely failed. It went nuts on the sharpening, revealing every single pore on the subject's face. The iPhone doesn't look as detailed, obviously, but we'd much rather have that instead of an over-sharpened image.

Since the OnePlus 6 doesn't have a telephoto lens, we decided to see how much detail you lose when using 2X digital zoom instead of telephoto zoom on the iPhone. The difference in detail is obvious, and the OnePlus again overexposed, washing out the color in the grass. However, the white balance is spot on to what we saw in real life.

The iPhone X can digitally zoom up to 10X with its telephoto lens, so we thought we'd compare zoom detail. The OnePlus 6 can actually only go up to 8X magnification, and it tried desperately to bring out the detailed by over sharpening.




We decided to shoot against the sun. The iPhone did a much better job dealing with lens flare, so the sky looks pleasantly blue, but the OnePlus did better in terms of dynamic range.

I myself took a selfie, and we can see that the OnePlus over sharpened the image. This time, the colors on the iPhone look much more pleasant. As you can see, the selfie camera on the OnePlus is actually quite a bit wider, with each selfie taken at arms length away.

Now for a low light flash photo in the office, the OnePlus got the warmth right, although it oversaturated a bit. The iPhone just looks kind of flat.

To finish off our testing, here's one to compare detail, and if you crop in, we actually see more detail on the OnePlus.


Impressions

We definitely weren't expecting the OnePlus 6 to hold up as well as it did. There were shortcomings in terms of missing features, overexposure, over sharpening, and some failed high dynamic range photos, but overall, it did pretty well. The accurate white balance was probably our favorite thing about it.




For $529, you're definitely not sacrificing too much in terms of camera quality.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,216member
    It's nice to see these comparison articles.

    It's worth adding that being so new, the software will probably see a major upgrade to iron out kinks and add some polish in the next few weeks and imaging will probably be one area that will benefit.

    Unfortunately it's a double edged sword because from what I've been reading, the Chinese adore the oversharpened, vibrant colour look and some of the things we see as OTT are actually like that by design.

    I think we'll end up with profiles that set base settings for different geographical collectives and then everyone can choose what they like best at the flick of a switch.
  • Reply 2 of 22
    tmaytmay Posts: 2,649member
    Please re-edit this article. It appears that there are either missing images, or at best, that the positional correlation between the images and the text of the review has been lost. Example; "This non-portrait photo however, is the opposite. It butchers the white balance compared to the X, but it is more detailed. And here we tried to get as close as we could while maintaining focus. The iPhone X's photo just looks incredible. Here's a closeup photo of a tree for detail. The X's contrast is completely unrealistic, but appealing. The OnePlus churned out a photo that looks exactly like we saw in real life, despite being less detailed than the X. Now with Panorama mode, both phones did great. We took a couple more HDR photos, and the OnePlus overexposed again. Now onto the selfie camera. The iPhone X goes way overboard on the contrast again, which makes shadows under the eyes darker. Detail is about even, and both phones missed the mark for white balance. The OnePlus was too cool and the iPhone was too warm." I'm noticing more glitches just in editing this post, formatting is gone, so maybe it's your blog application.
    edited May 30 airnerdradarthekatnetmage
  • Reply 3 of 22
    nunzynunzy Posts: 332member
    Unless the Oneplus runs iOS nothing even matters.
  • Reply 4 of 22
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,665member
    The prose does not match photo quality, one plus is way worse in nearly every photo.

    If you want to say things like too cool, and talk about sharpness why not just take a few shots with standard color charts and sharpness charts. These things exists for a reason, it even helps people know if the bias is correcteable or not.
    StrangeDaysMplsPradarthekatanton zuykovwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 22
    tylersdadtylersdad Posts: 120member
    nunzy said:
    Unless the Oneplus runs iOS nothing even matters.
    Why?
    nunzylkrupp
  • Reply 6 of 22
    tmaytmay Posts: 2,649member
    foggyhill said:
    The prose does not match photo quality, one plus is way worse in nearly every photo.

    If you want to say things like too cool, and talk about sharpness why not just take a few shots with standard color charts and sharpness charts. These things exists for a reason, it even helps people know if the bias is correcteable or not.
    "...and the OnePlus again overexposed, washing out the color in the grass. However, the white balance is spot on to what we saw in real life."

    Even a single grey card in images would be an improvement in the review process.

    "This isn't the review you are looking for..."
    StrangeDaysradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 22
    I was going to mock their crapwad box, but then remembered it looks similar to my Airport Express box.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 22
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,405member
    So What ? If it ain't iPhone than it ain't iPhone. No need for stupid comparison......
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 22
    airnerdairnerd Posts: 514member
    Is the Selfie iPhone X photo mirrored?  The pole in the background, buildings, his hair, and v-neck all look like they are flipped in the X from 6.
    edited May 30 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 22
    nunzynunzy Posts: 332member
    tylersdad said:
    nunzy said:
    Unless the Oneplus runs iOS nothing even matters.
    Why?
    Because Android is so bad.
    StrangeDaysradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 22
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,787member
    The OnePlus portraits are terrible-looking -- they turned your subject into a pinhead. Truly awful. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 22
    deminsddeminsd Posts: 40member
    The article text and the image comparisons are all wonky and not in the correct places in the article.  Makes it hard to read.  Just looking at the photos, the iPhone X looks clearly better.
    radarthekatnetmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 22
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 460member
    nunzy said:
    tylersdad said:
    nunzy said:
    Unless the Oneplus runs iOS nothing even matters.
    Why?
    Because Android is so bad.
    Although many on this site don't realize it, there is a large number of people who are relatively platform agnostic and would be willing to switch. If Android truly is as bad as you say, why does Android have a 54% US market share? Simply dismissing the competition outright is pretty short sighted, IMO
    muthuk_vanalingamnapoleon_phoneapart
  • Reply 14 of 22
    tmaytmay Posts: 2,649member
    MplsP said:
    nunzy said:
    tylersdad said:
    nunzy said:
    Unless the Oneplus runs iOS nothing even matters.
    Why?
    Because Android is so bad.
    Although many on this site don't realize it, there is a large number of people who are relatively platform agnostic and would be willing to switch. If Android truly is as bad as you say, why does Android have a 54% US market share? Simply dismissing the competition outright is pretty short sighted, IMO
    Actually, Apple has 52% user share in the U.S. 

    So even though Android OS devices have higher unit sales, they also have shorter lives and more churn. That would be great if the ASP's of Android OS devices were in anyway equivalent to Apple's, but they aren't. The true is, current iOS users are not platform agnostic; they've actually made a choice to be in Apple's ecosystem.

    Oh, and there are more Android OS users leaking into Apple's ecosystem than vice versa, hence the growing user share. 

    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 22
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 163member
    Eventually cameras become obsolete. Are obsolete cameras included in market share estimates? At what point are obsolete cameras not included. Is market share for the last 12 months of sales only? Do Android cameras or iOS cameras being obsolete faster? My questions aren't facetious, they are completely sincere and I don't know the answers.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,787member
    MplsP said:
    nunzy said:
    tylersdad said:
    nunzy said:
    Unless the Oneplus runs iOS nothing even matters.
    Why?
    Because Android is so bad.
    Although many on this site don't realize it, there is a large number of people who are relatively platform agnostic and would be willing to switch. If Android truly is as bad as you say, why does Android have a 54% US market share? Simply dismissing the competition outright is pretty short sighted, IMO
    Most people accept shit quality and don’t care. It’s called the good-enough factor. See McDonald’s. Doesn’t mean Android isn’t garbage. See Windows. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 22
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 2,747member

    The title says: iPhone X vs. OnePlus 6: Which smartphone camera produces the best photos?


    Shouldn't the conclusion answer the question? All I see is that you aren't sacrificing too much in terms of camera quality if you pick up the One Plus 6.

    edited May 31 watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 22
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,887member
    I don't get the last photo.  Did you flip the images?  "To finish off our testing, here's one to compare detail, and if you crop in, we actually see more detail on the OnePlus. "  

    The X looks much more detailed.  What am I missing?  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 22
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,004member
    MplsP said:
    nunzy said:
    tylersdad said:
    nunzy said:
    Unless the Oneplus runs iOS nothing even matters.
    Why?
    Because Android is so bad.
    Although many on this site don't realize it, there is a large number of people who are relatively platform agnostic and would be willing to switch. If Android truly is as bad as you say, why does Android have a 54% US market share? Simply dismissing the competition outright is pretty short sighted, IMO
    That argument used to be made by Windows PC fanboys when they trashed the Mac. The world chooses Windows therefore Windows is better. The argument didn’t hold then and it doesn’t today with iOS vs Android. The world chooses cheap and that 54% you crow about is completely dominated by the low end of the market, just like Windows PCs still do. People don’t “choose” Windows or Android, they accept Windows or Android because of the lower priced hardware they choose to buy. Windows and Android users are the true lemmings and sheep of the tech world, not iOS user who actually choose iOS and iPhones over lower priced options. And as we have realized for decades now Apple has done very well serving the high end of the markets it participates in. In that respect it is perfectly rational to dismiss Android as inferior to iOS, which it is from just about every metric you can come up with. 
    edited May 31 watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 22
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,101member
    avon b7 said:
    It's nice to see these comparison articles.

    It's worth adding that being so new, the software will probably see a major upgrade to iron out kinks and add some polish in the next few weeks and imaging will probably be one area that will benefit.

    Unfortunately it's a double edged sword because from what I've been reading, the Chinese adore the oversharpened, vibrant colour look and some of the things we see as OTT are actually like that by design.

    I think we'll end up with profiles that set base settings for different geographical collectives and then everyone can choose what they like best at the flick of a switch.
    This is very true, Different cultures tend to emphasize different things. Back in the day I worked for a company which did compressed digital video products, and we use US based company products for a long time, until their quality and availability dropped off so we switch to Sony consumer monitors and at first we did not realize the colors were off. Then we got complaints since compress video sources when displayed a Sony monitor was more red in hue than what is normal. As we found out the Japanese tend to like flesh tones more red than green which most people colors is more olive. Sony factory color setting were done to what they felt was pleasing to see. Because of this we have to reset the color balances and other setting to make sure the colors were more inline with what most Americans are use to seeing.

    This is still true today, Most TV and monitor colors and other setting are not set to what the average end user would consider normal for them. Image how much more complicated this get for a camera or video source which you can not easily adjust.

    I grew up on Film and manual cameras once you found a film (Kodak) which worked for you and used the correct ISO like 100 or 32 and if you had to go to 400 or 1000 the rest was in your hands to control. Today's PAS cameras try and balance this all for you. The article shows the trade offs you have to make. I personally do not buy a phone for its camera, since I have a SLA which I know how to use and always get a good picture.
    edited May 31 avon b7muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
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