Ahead of the OnePlus 7 Pro’s launch on May 14th, Wired got the chance to check out the phone’s triple main camera array.
In addition to sharing images, the publication interviewed OnePlus imaging director Simon Liu, who shared insights into how the company designed the OnePlus 7 Pro’s camera.
The main takeaway is that the OnePlus 7 Pro features a new 3x zoom lens.
“On our previous phones, we wanted to maintain a nice phone body that wasn’t too thick, and to make sure the lens didn’t stick too much,” Liu told Wired. “In this case, the users’ input on forums helped me get these features onto the phone. But we tried to find the balance over the entire phone experience.”
As Wired notes, the OnePlus 7 Pro won’t be the first time OnePlus has shipped a smartphone with optical zoom. In 2017, the company released the OnePlus 5, which it claimed featured a 2x optical zoom lens. In testing, fans found the OP5 actually featured a 1.6x zoom lens, not 2.0x as advertised. The camera made up the difference with cropping, which led to less than stellar results. With the OnePlus 5T, OnePlus dropped the OP5’s zoom lens. Since then, OnePlus phones haven’t included optical zoom.
Recent history notwithstanding, Wired found the new zoom lens on the OnePlus 7 Pro worked well.
“It’s a great little zoom that shows up the OnePlus 6T and other software-based solutions, like the Google Pixel 3’s smart OIS motor-based solution,” writes the publication. However, it also notes the zoom delivers images with less detail, less mid-tone contrasts and more noise than the P30 Pro’s 5x zoom lens. In addition, the website found the OP7 Pro’s 3x zoom easier to use than the P30 Pro’s 5x optical zoom.
To his credit, Liu was honest about the improvements OnePlus made to the OP7’s camera.
“I think we have a shot at competing with the first tier phones,” he told Wired. “I don’t think we can beat them, but the imaging world is always subjective.”
Elsewhere, Liu says OnePlus focused on optimizing the OP7 Pro’s imaging pipeline to deliver more natural images. Users will see that in the phone’s reworked HDR, low-light and portrait modes, which Wired found much improved over what was on offer with the OP6. “The bokeh effect is closer to what you’d get from a professional lens. Previously it was more artificial, to prove that there is an effect, but when you’re using a digital camera, it’s not actually that strong,” says Liu.
Visit Wired to read the full report and see all the sample images the publication shared. In short, however, it looks like the OnePlus 7 Pro improves on the OP6T’s camera in all the important areas. Whether that’s enough to justify the phone’s new and more expensive price tag we’ll have to see.
Image credit: Wired