OnePlus’s main series of phones have always been known for having fast, zippy software, top-tier SoCs, and great build quality. For half a year in 2019, it even had the best phone screen on the market (the awesome OnePlus 7 Pro). But having a tip-top camera that could at least make a claim as being the best on the market is a feat that has never been achieved by a OnePlus device. In its early years, the cameras needed work, while recently, the competition has zoomed past. Beginning last year, the company began pushing more in that direction with a highly publicized partnership with Swedish camera maker Hasselblad, and this year’s OnePlus 10 Pro offers “gen two” of this collaboration. I already did an overall hands-on of the OnePlus 10 Pro which remains China-only so far, but let’s dive deeper into the new camera system, and see how it stacks up against some existing top camera phones. Can the OnePlus 10 Pro crack into XDA’s Best Smartphone Camera list?
|Specification||OnePlus 10 Pro|
|Dimensions & Weight||163 x 73.9 x 8.55 mm|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1|
|RAM & Storage|
|Battery & Charging|
|Security||In-display fingerprint sensor|
|Front Camera(s)||32MP, Sony IMX615|
|Port(s)||USB Type-C 3.1|
|Audio||Dual Stereo Speakers|
About this Hands-On: This camera review article was written after a week of testing a China retail unit of the OnePlus 10 Pro on loan from Trinity Electronics, a retailer based in Hong Kong. Neither Trinity nor OnePlus had any input in this article.
While the OnePlus 10 Pro’s camera module got an eye-catching new look, the hardware inside is similar to last year’s OnePlus 9 Pro: it’s a triple camera system headlined by a 48MP, f/1.8, 1/1.43-inch main camera; an 8MP, f/2.4 telephoto zoom lens with 3.3x optical zoom; and a 50MP, f/2.2 ultra-wide camera. The sensors of the main and zoom lens are identical to the OnePlus 9 Pro, so the only difference is the 10 Pro uses a different ultra-wide sensor. This ultra-wide lens is a Samsung JN1 sensor with a really wide 150-degree field-of-view, but it’s arguably an inferior sensor to its counterpart in the OnePlus 9 Pro due to having a smaller image sensor size.
Still, the camera hardware isn’t everything — software image processing is becoming increasingly more important than hardware, as Google and Apple would attest.
The model of OnePlus 10 Pro I tested was the China retail model which runs ColorOS (the version hitting international markets later may run on OxygenOS-ColorOS), and the whole phone feels like an OPPO device, except in the camera app, where it still retains some OnePlus touches, such as the Hasselblad-inspired orange shutter button introduced in the OnePlus 9 series.
I’ve always found the OnePlus camera app to be one of the more intuitive camera apps in Android, as it’s less overly crowded and complicated like Vivo’s, and is easy to operate with one hand unlike Huawei’s. I particularly like the fact that OnePlus’s camera app has always had a smooth, almost iPhone-like zoom dial, and this returns here in the 10 Pro. When I drag the zoom dial up and down rapidly to zoom in and out, the camera viewfinder keeps up and switches between lenses in a manner that is almost as smooth as the iPhone’s zoom dial. This is a far cry from Xiaomi or Samsung phones, where there’s a split-second hiccup anytime I zoom out to the ultra-wide lens. This speediness carries over to the shutter speed, as I find the OnePlus 10 Pro’s shutter response is faster than the Galaxy S21 Ultra or Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, both of which exhibit a slight shutter lag.
The camera app interface is kept simple: there are only four camera modes to swipe through: “Photo,” “Portrait,” “Video,” and Night. All the other modes are in the “More” section, which shooting modes such as “Time-Lapse,” “Pano,” “Dual-View Video.” These are self-explanatory — there’s also a “150-Degree” mode which unleashes the new ultra-wide sensor’s extremely wide FoV (more on this later in the photo sample section), and XPan, which shoots in a 65:24 aspect ratio that resembles old Hasselblad cameras.
There’s also an excellent “Movie” mode which is just manual mode for video recording. This gives the camera app granular control over most camera settings from ISO to white balance to shutter speed. I particularly like the excellent manual focus that lets the phone pull off rack focus.
The manual mode for still photography is still here of course, and it, too, is excellent. I love that it even has focus peaking to show where exactly the shot is in focus. There are also a ton of filters in the standard automatic camera modes, as well as the option to set artificial bokeh level in portrait mode. Dual-View video lets the phone record video with the forward- and back-facing cameras at once.
The OnePlus 10 Pro’s camera app can also do trick photography, like hand-held long exposure shots. The resulting shot can be quite good.
These first three shots below are the default focal length of the OnePlus 10 Pro main cameras: we have main (wide) shot, then ultra-wide, and 3.3x zoom. The ultra-wide shot is cropped in (by default, as set by OnePlus) from the sensor’s actual 150-degree, as that is too extreme an angle for day-to-day use.
The color and dynamic range between the main and ultra-wide cameras are mostly consistent during the day, but the zoom lens tends to be warmer. It’s not a huge deal, but this is one area — keeping a consistent color science across all lenses — where an iPhone does a better job. Even in more challenging shots like shooting against backlight, the ultra-wide holds up well.
At night, the OnePlus 10 Pro’s main camera does a good job of pulling in light naturally. It’s worth noting that the OnePlus 10 Pro does not automatically turn on night mode the way Google, Apple, and Samsung phones do now. But even without night mode, this below shot with the main camera looks great. The ultra-wide shot blows out lights a bit and is a bit soft on details, but still a good shot.
In the below set, the ultra-wide camera again looks soft compared to the main camera. Perhaps due to the need to do more post-image processing for the weaker sensor, the ultra-wide shot also sees a drastic color shift, as the denim jacket suddenly looked bright blue compared to the other two images.
But if you want a shot to look punchier at night, with fewer areas drenched in darkness, you will need to turn on night mode. This is particularly true for the ultra-wide camera.
In really low light conditions, like the shot below, you can see the OnePlus 10 Pro camera really struggled without night mode, blowing out the lights from outside the window while showing a lot of noise. I wish OnePlus would automatically turn on the night mode for users in such extreme lighting conditions.
As mentioned, the OnePlus 10 Pro’s ultra-wide camera actually has a 150-degree field of view, but by default the phone crops in. You can get the full-frame if you like but images will appear very distorted, like this.
However, you can jump into most photo editing apps and correct distortion. I did so on Adobe Lightroom.
And the end result is a really wide shot that can achieve a sweeping panoramic-like view. However, image sharpness takes a major hit. I’m not sure it’s worth it to shoot in this mode.
OnePlus 10 Pro 150-degree shot, adjusted for distortion.
The OnePlus 10 Pro can do optical zoom at 3.3x and digital zoom up to 30x. At max zoom level, the shot is soft and noisy, but 10x zoom is quite usable.
The OnePlus 10 Pro has a 32MP front-facing shooter using Sony’s IMX615. I must admit, selfies have never been my thing, but I’m happy with the OnePlus 10 Pro’s selfie cameras, as it doesn’t try to beautify my face automatically the way many other Asian phone OEMs do.
The OnePlus 10 Pro can record video up to 8k/30 but I stuck with the default 4k/30 option. Stabilization is solid, and the video can switch to the ultra-wide lens with only minor stutters, but zooming in the video is underwhelming for a flagship, as footage at 10x zoom looks bad.
Here’s the aforementioned rack focus achieved using the OnePlus 10 Pro’s “Movie” (aka manual video) mode.
And here’s the OnePlus 10 Pro’s bokeh video in action. As you can see, the bokeh effects look very unrealistic with a lot of clipping, but the effect can be lowered.
Here are more photos captured by the OnePlus 10 Pro during my days of testing.
Since the OnePlus 10 Pro is one of the very first 2022 flagships, there aren’t many other 2022 flagships against which to compare, so I did the next best thing and compared to OnePlus 10 Pro’s cameras against the Google Pixel 6 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro, and a couple of other phones.
In the below set we can see all three phones captured the color-rich building with great vibrancy and detail. The Pixel 6 Pro’s shot is brighter overall, particularly if you look inside the staircase.
For the most part, all these shots look great and will appear similar on Instagram or other social media platforms. But if we want to pixel peep and zoom in 100%, we can spot some deviations.
We can see the Pixel’s shot has an over-processed look once we zoom in, while the iPhone and OnePlus 10 Pro’s shots would rather keep noise and shadows instead of over-digitalizing the shot.
In this next set, we can see the OnePlus 10 Pro’s color science is somewhere between the iPhone 13 Pro’s overly warm and realistic processing and the Vivo X70 Pro Plus’s crazy HDR. Vivo’s ultra-wide shot is the only one that does not blow out the city street lights, but it can also look a bit over-processed. Almost fake.
I shared these shots to social media and quite a few thought the OnePlus 10 Pro’s shot found the happy medium. However, the color shift between the main and ultra-wide camera is the most drastic in the OnePlus 10 Pro, which is a rather far cry from the parity that the OnePlus 9 Pro saw. Moving on to the aforementioned very challenging shot (a dark apartment with a burst of harsh lights coming from a computer monitor and outside streets), we can see that, with night mode on, the OnePlus 10 Pro’s shot is arguably the best balanced of the bunch. It’s the only shot, for example, not to blow out the monitor’s colors. It’s worth mentioning that both Apple and Google turned on night mode automatically, while the OnePlus 10 Pro needed me to manually switch it on.
If we pixel peep at 100% crop, we can see that all three shots at full of noise as expected, the Pixel 6 Pro’s shot may have retained the most details.
For zoom shots, I tried a night set with all three phones at their default optical zoom. The iPhone’s 3x telephoto zoom is still the best for portraits, as it exhibits a shallow depth of field. I may have accidentally stepped closer in between photos hence why the iPhone’s 3x crop seems closer than the Pixel 6 Pro’s 4x crop.
Here’s another set of optical zoom shots with all three cameras.
Overall I’m happy with the OnePlus 10 Pro’s camera performance. I still think the Vivo X70 Pro Plus and Google Pixel 6 Pro are superior cameras all around due to having a better ultra-wide and zoom lens, but the OnePlus 10 Pro’s main camera isn’t losing to these two by much. I’m also quite happy with the OnePlus 10 Pro’s video capabilities. However, the ultra-wide camera is inferior to those seen in top flagships, and in quality, it is a step down from the OnePlus 9 Pro which had an ultra-wide camera that could hold its own against the main camera.
One important thing to note is I’m testing the OnePlus 10 Pro against, technically speaking, 2021 flagships. This year’s premium slabs with new camera innovations will hit the market very soon, such as the Galaxy S22 Ultra, OPPO Find X5 Pro, etc. Will the OnePlus 10 Pro compete as well against those cameras? We will have to wait and see. For now, this OnePlus 10 Pro system is intuitive and fun to shoot with.