In the days leading up to the release of the OnePlus 5, there was an announcement made by the company, revealing that they had struck a partnership with DxOLabs. Without really sharing any specifics, the only real information we had was that the two companies were working closely in helping the OnePlus 5 deliver the absolute best camera experience. When the phone launch, there was an eerie lack of any mention of the DxO partnership, prompting many to assume that just maybe, the camera on the OnePlus 5 wasn’t up to the mark. Today DxOMark has released their review of the OnePlus 5 camera, giving it a very high rating of 87, ahead of the Apple iPhone 7 and behind the Google Pixel and the Samsung Galaxy S8. However, don’t just go out and buy yourselves the OnePlus 5 based on this rating, as there are a number of caveats in DxOMark’s findings and testing methodologies.
Single Lens test for a dual lens setup
DxoMark’s review of the OnePlus 5 begins by stating that the company only tested the 16-megapixel sensor (wide angle lens) using the standard auto mode. This means that the score of 87 is only for the wide angle lens and cannot be representative of the secondary sensor/lens. It should be noted that DxOMark is yet to release their review of the Apple iPhone 7 Plus, and they said in their review of the Apple iPhone 7 that “the new features and technologies in the iPhone 7 Plus require additional time for testing, so its review will follow this one, and be published shortly.” The statement refers to the use of the secondary lens in portrait mode.
OnePlus 5 Dual Lens Snafu
DxOMark will have their hands full in trying to get a review out for the second lens of the OnePlus 5. We have covered in extensive detail the problems with how OnePlus went about implementing the 2X zoom, building challenges into the camera system at the hardware level. The secondary lens can truly only offer a 1.6x optical zoom factor, but the software within the smartphone upscales it to 2x. At present, there is no way to get ‘unadulterated’ photos from the secondary lens, that is, a photo that hasn’t been upscaled or digitally zoomed in. We’ve covered this extensively when we looked what went wrong with the dual lens camera in the OnePlus5.
The Strengths and Weaknesses
What is good to note of the DxO review of the OnePlus 5 is the conclusion, even if based on a single lens as it almost lines up with our own finding. The OnePlus 5 has issues with detail retention under most conditions as we noted in our OnePlus 5 Primary Camera Review but delivers very good colour and contrast. The autofocus is solid and there is practically no shutter lag in between shots. The camera’s ability to record an image with the correct white balance was also very commendable. What was a little alarming was to note that while DxO mentions that the lack of OIS leads to shaky images in some situations, they do not note it as an actual “con” in their final results, leading us to our next point.
Conflict of Interest?
We know that OnePlus and DxOLabs entered a partnership to develop the camera is no secret. With a stake in the quality of the smartphone, it does make us wonder as to how much objectivity has gone into the review of the OnePlus 5’s camera. The fact that the second sensor has still not been tested is of concern, given that it is most likely to reveal the numerous flaws inherent in the system, ranging from switching to the 16MP sensor in less than bright light and then upscaling the image to fit not just a 2x field of view, but also 20 megapixel resolution. A loss in quality here would be evident. We just can’t help but feel that the rating here may be inflated, but to be honest, this isn’t something anyone can confirm for now.
Every OnePlus smartphone has delivered excellent value for money, with the camera being one of the most well-performing components. Keeping with that tradition, we are not surprised that when the OnePlus 5’s primary 16-megapixel sensor was put to the test, it performed admirably well. If you shoot RAW, you can even recover the detail that would typically be lost if you shoot in JPG, but the downside is that you would first have to edit that file in a photo editing app before it looks presentable. Regardless, we are keen to see how DxO will tackle reviewing and rating the secondary lens on the OnePlus 5. Unless OnePlus releases a software update that allows native output (images shot at original focal length and not digitally zoomed), DxO will have a big challenge lying ahead.