OnePlus Nord Detailed Camera Review
let us check out the cameras on this OnePlus Nord. OnePlus makes very bold claim on their website,saying that “if you don’t like cameras, we’ve really messed up”. Let us go ahead and test this claim. I have over 75 image and video samples fromthe Nord to show you guys, so without wasting any time, let us check out the cameras weare working with.
OnePlus Nord gets 6 cameras in total, 2 atthe front and 4 on its back. Primary camera at the back gets a 48 megapixelSony IMX586 Sensor with F/1.75 aperture, OIS and 6 element lens. OnePlus wants to brag about it and let usto know that this is the same primary cameras as the OnePlus 8. But what they are not telling you, is thatits the same camera that they used in OnePlus 7T and the OnePlus 7.
So it is well over a year old. And while OnePlus has used it in their flagshipphones, we have seen countless other manufacturers use it in their Budget phones, like the HonorView 20, Redmi K20 Pro, Realme 5 Pro, Realme X, Xiaomi Mi A3 and so on. So lets wait till we look at the actual imagesamples, before getting all exited about it. Next camera gets an 8 megapixel sensor withF/2.25 aperture and an ultra wide angel lens. Then there is a 5 megapixel depth sensor withF/2.4 aperture, and a 2 megapixel macro sensor again with F/2.4 aperture. I think the last 2 cameras are completelyuseless.
No-one wants a measly 2 megapixel macro camera,and the edge detection for portrait shots can just as easily be achieved via software. OnePlus just wanted included these cameras,just so they can call it a quad camera phone. There are 2 cameras at the front. Main one finally gets an upgraded 32 megapixelSony IMX616 sensor with F/2.45 aperture. And the 2nd one gets an 8 megapixel ultrawide camera again with F/2.45 aperture. I am so glad this is a wide camera, and notjust a depth sensor like on some budget smartphones.
With the rear camera, you can shoot 4K videosat 30fps, 1080p videos at 30 and 60fps. and 1080p slow motion videos at 240fps. The front facing camera however can shoot4K and 1080p videos in upto 60fps. I am just as puzzled as you guys, that whydoes the front facing camera gets the 4K 60fps mode, and not the rear one. Hopefully they can figure out a way to includethis with a future software update.
The camera interface is similar to what wesaw on the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro. If you want a detailed look at it, I suggestyou guys check out my dedicated camera review of either of those phones. I will leave cards to them on the top rightcorner of the screen, and also link them in the description section. Let me just quickly tell you the Range ofISO and shutter speed for the Pro mode. Range for ISO is from 100 to 3200, and theshutter speed ranges from 1/8000th of a second, all the way upto 30 seconds. Now if you leave the ISO on auto in the Promode, it can go upto 6400, but while adjusting it manually, it just goes up to 3200.
There is still this annoying this shutterlag while you are taking pictures, like we saw on the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro. And it gets even worse on this phone whenyou click images in 48 megapixel mode. In some cases, there is a delay of close to5 seconds, before you can take another image. This is really annoying. If anyone from OnePlus is watching this video,please, please fix this soon. Before we head over to the image and videosamples, if you are new to this channel, please make sure to hit the subscribe button andthe bell icon next to it. That way, you won’t miss out on any of theamazing videos coming up on this channel.
Now some of you guys complain in the commentsthat I don’t include video samples in my camera reviews, which is not true. I include 4k and 1080p videos in all camerareviews, and I don’t know how they miss it. Anyways, this time let me include the videosamples first and then we will move on to the images. 4K v30fps videos look very good from the OnePlusNord. They are stabilised via EIS so they are extremelysmooth. Even tough there is OIS on the primary camera,these videos don’t get optical stabilisation. I have tried every resolution and frame rateoption, and all videos are just stabilised electronically. The videos turned out good in these diffusedlighting conditions as well, but you definitely see some noise since the lighting is not perfect.
In bright lighting conditions like this, videoslook so much better. There is less noise overall, and the colourslook pretty good. I don’t now if you can notice it or not,but there are few dropped frames here and there while shooting videos on the OnePlusNord. You can take 4K videos with the wide lensas well. For some reason, videos from this wide lensare sharper and better than the photos from it. 1080p videos are a bit softer, but they arestill usable, and the stabilisation is again doing an excellent job. For slow motion, the resolution and framerate are locked at 1080p and 240fps. There are no other resolution and frame rateoptions. As you can see, the video is very smooth,but since these are a bit diffused lighting conditions, you see plenty of noise in thevideo. Make sure to shoot slow motion videos in brightlight, to avoid this unwanted noise in your footage.
Now let us take a look at the images. Starting with the day time shots. It is monsoon season where I live, so mostof the images are going to be in overcast lighting conditions. I was lucky to be able to take a few of theseshots when the sky was relatively clear of clouds. As you can see, there are plenty of detailsin these daylight shots. Everything appears to be sharp, but I thinkthere is a bit more contrast in these images. That extra contrast give these images a bitmore depth. Some might like this extra contrast in theirimages, and some might not, its a matter of personal preference. Now even as I zoom in on these images, youcan see that they hold on to their details.
Sometimes there is a bit too much noise inthe bright sky, you can see it in this image as I zoom in, other than that, all these daylightimages in bright light are looking really good. Even in overcast situations, we see the maincamera capture a lot of details. In these situations, some phones just endup capturing no details at all. But the Nord is doing a pretty good job ofkeeping the details intact. Keep in mind, that even tough its a Oneplussmartphone, it is a sub 25K phone, and we should judge the camera according to that. As you can see, the Nord is doing a good jobin these indoor daylight conditions as well.
In some of the shots it tends to over expose,so you might have to pull the brightness slider down manually in those cases, for the imageto look good. Like on the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, Nord alsogets the UltraShot HDR option, and I have kept it on for all of my shots. And as you can see, it does a good job whenthe phone needs to capture higher dynamic range. Now while taking HDR shots, you might notalways see the result that you are going to get. In the viewfinder, the brighter areas mightlook too bright, or the shadows might appear too dark. But the HDR effect is applied after you clickthe image, and when you go to the gallery, after a second or so, you get to see how goodtime image turned out.
When I took this shot, the background wascompletely blown out in the viewfinder, but after clicking the picture, ISP applied theHDR effect and brought back most of the details from the sky, while bringing up lot of detailsfrom the shadows at the same time. The resulting image looks very good, but youdon’t know that when you are clicking the image. Kind of like what pixel did with the portraitmode shots. Checking each shot after you take it, canget a bit frustrating, when you are out on a vacation with friends and family. I guess this is due to the less powerful processor. Hopefully, onePlus will fix this with an update.
I really like the colours coming out of thiscamera for the most part. Sometime they are a bit muted, but I thinkwe can blame that on the weather, and not on the cameras capabilities to reproduce goodlooking colours. Sometimes due to the higher contrast, coloursappear a bit saturated the the actual scene. But I think these kind of images look veryattractive when you share them on social media. If you want to ge the most natural lookingcolours, shoot RAW images in the Pro mode, and then edit them to make the colours lookexactly how you want. These have all been 12 megapixel pixel binnedimages from the primary camera.
You have the option to take 48 megapixel imagesas well. And here are how the 12 and 48 megapixel imageslook when stacked next to each other. From this far, you cannot differentiate betweenthem, you will have to zoom in 3-4 times, to see that the 48 megapixel images have abit more details. 48 megapixel images are also 3-4 times largein terms of file size, so if you shoot all your images at this resolution, your phonesinternal storage will fill up very fast. If you click 48 megapixel images in overcastor dim or low lighting conditions, you will barely see any details in these shots.
While shooting at this resolution, size ofeach individual pixel is very small, so each one captures very little light. This is not an issue in bright sunny light,but in less than ideal light, here are how the 48 megapixel images end up looking. So for most of your shots, stick to the default12 megapixel mode. Here is a quick focusing speed test beforewe move on to the close up and macro shots. Main camera is pretty quick at switching thefocus from a near to far object and then back again. The shift in focus is smooth in some cases,but at times it also suddenly changes the focus.
It doesn’t matter while taking images, butsmoother shift in focus looks very good while taking videos. Fast and accurate focusing is important fortaking close up shots like this. Now both the Oneplus 8 and 8 Pro gave me someproblems with focusing while taking close up shots, but I did not have any such issueswith the Nord. I just fired up the camera, walked up to thesubject and clicked these good looking closeups.
The subject closest to the camera, or theone that you tapped on is in perfect sharp focus, and thanks to the large sensor andwide aperture, background in these shots gets a very nice and smooth optical blur. If you want to get even closer to your subject,there are 2 options. You can either switch to the dedicated 2 megapixelmacro lens, which lets you set the focus even if you get this close to the subject. But the quality of these images is abysmal. You can get much better shots by using the2 or 3x digital zoom on the main camera.
Here are the macro shots compared side byside with the 3x digital zoomed shots from the main camera. If you want to take macro shots on this phone,please do this, instead of using the macro lens. OnePlus should have ditched the macro anddepth sensor on this phone, and put that money towards a better wide camera which could alsodouble as a macro camera, like the one on the OnePlus 7T. That would have given much better results. Speaking of the wide camera. Here are how the images from it, look againstthe images from the main camera. Wide lens lets you get so much more of thescene in the shot.
It is not as good as the main camera in termsof details and dynamic range, but it lets you capture a completely different perspectiveof the scene, from the same exact shot. The overall image is very soft from the widelens, specially in overcast or dim lighting conditions like this. It is because the sensor behind this lensis of a lower resolution, and the lens elements are also not of a very good quality. All this being said, this image quality isstill accepted and much better than the useless macro lens. You also get a 2x button in the viewfinder.
Nord doesn’t get a telephoto lens, so whenyou tap on the 2x button, it just digitally zooms in on the image from the main sensor. Most of the times these digitally zoomed imagesturned out pretty good. Coming to the portrait mode. Other than missing on some strands of hair,edge detection is on point. It does very well to separate your subjectfrom the background. The UltraShot HDR helps while taking portraitshots as well. Most of the times it does a very good jobof keeping the highlights in check, like the background in this shot.
But sometimes it completely messes the shadowslike in this shot. There were shadows on the face while takingthis shot, so the HDR mode just brought up all the shadows and made the image look unnaturallyprocessed. While no one talked about this, I showed thesame think in the portraits from the OnePlus 8 and 8 pro as well. I really hope OnePlus fixes this. In other situations, when the scene is evenlylit, I really like the portrait shots from the OnePlus Nord. Faces are in focus, colours are looking good,and the blur to the background also looks very natural.
I just found that the Nord take more timethan any other phone to detect the edges for taking a portrait shot. The depth effect overlay on the viewfinderon this phones takes longer to turn green. Again this might be because of the processor. It is not an issue, but you just need to havea bit more patience while taking images with this phone. You will find the same thing while takingportraits of objects. While it is accurate at detecting the edgesof objects for the most port, it takes a second or 2 more than other phones. Other than that, the portraits turned outto be amazing.
We can again see the ultrashort HDR tryingto bring up too many shadows from the black box. While it still looks processed, it is notsuch a big issue while taking portraits of things, it looks weird when there are peoplein the shot. Again there is a bit more contrast in theseportrait shots, but to my eyes, they are looking pretty good. Let us now move on to the images shot in,indoor artificial and lower lighting situations. Main camera on the Nord has a wide aperture,and that combined with the Optical image stabilisation lets the sensor capture more light for longertime. This means, the low light performance of thisphone is also pretty good. You can see it captures lot of details inthese lighting conditions as well.
But if this is not enough for you, or if youwant to click images in even lower light, there is a NighSight mode. Like on any other phone, it lets the sensorcapture light for longer time, and then apply some computational photography magic, to giveus brighter and much more detailed images. Look at how much more light the NightSightmode image managed to capture. Night sight mode doesn’t only bring up thedark shadows, but it also manages the exposure in the brighter parts of the image in a betterway. NightSight mode also does wonders while shootingindoors.
There was barely any light around while takingthis image, but look at how much light the NightSight mode manages to add in this images. This mode doesn’t bring up the ISO to makethe images look brighter, it also reduces the noise in the overall image and makes itlook much cleaner and sharper. This mode takes a couple of seconds to capturethe image, so if you have people in the shot, ask them to be completely still for 2-3 seconds,because any movement, results in a blurry looking shot.
Sometimes, the Nord will capture more lighteven in the auto mode, and make the image look much better in lower light. In that case you won’t even have to switchto the night mode. That brings us to the front facing cameras. OnePlus has finally packed in a 32 megapixelselfie camera on the Nord. While 32 megapixel sounds a lot, and the imageslook sharp, I still think the detail levels are not as good as you would expect form ahigher resolution sensor. Don’t get me wrong, These selfies do lookgood.
The secondary wide angle selfie camera letsyou take wide selfies like this. Its images are a bit softer, but the advantageis, it lets you capture a much wider field of view. So when this Pandemic is behind us, you canmeet your friends, get a lot of them in a single selfie. Colours are good while taking normal selfies,but this camera tend to over expose most of the shots, making you selfies look a bit faded.
Even without a dedicated depth sensor, edgedetection is very accurate while taking portrait selfies. Overall colours and skin tones also look prettygood in these portrait selfies. Since the background is blurred out, we getthe illusion that the faces are sharper in portrait selfies, compared to normal selfies. Here is a video from the main front facingcamera on the OnePlus Nord. You can see hot it handles the overall coloursof the scene, exposure and stabilisation when I am walking around with it. This phone does get a secondary wide frontcamera, but you cannot stitch between these lenses while you are shooting videos.
This a video from the wide front facing cameraon the OnePlus Nord. You can see how it handles the overall colours,exposure and stabilisation when I am walking around with this phone. So with that, we have seen close to 80 imageand video from the OnePlus Nord. Other than the very poor Macro camera, I feelthe Nord has a pretty good set of cameras. Now the cameras are obviously not as goodas the flagship smartphones. But looking at them on a smartphone, you’llnot find a lot to complain about.
Now I have not compared its images with anyother smartphones yet, so I can’t say how its performance is compared to them. But on its own, at a starting price of 25KRs. I think these cameras are doing a pretty goodjob. We have seen this sensor on the 7T, and itwas not giving us the best results. Then we saw it on the OnePlus 8, and thanksto better ISP the results were substantially better. Again I haven’t compared these images withthe 7T or the 8, but I have a feeling that they are better than the ones from the OnePlus7T, but not good as the ones from the OnePlus 8. The ISP on the Snapdragon 765G processor seemsto be doing a pretty good job. It is a bit slower in processing these images,but the resulting images seem to be good.
The video performance is also pretty decent. There are few dropped frames while shooting4K videos, other than that, I see no problem with the cameras on this phone. So it seems that OnePlus did not mess up thecamera on the Nord. Again we should keep in mind that this isa 25-30K smartphone and judge the cameras accordingly. Well you guys saw the images too, so whatdo you think about the cameras on the OnePlus Nord. Let me know in the comments. Very soon I will be comparing these cameraswith a few other smartphones, so make sure you have the notifications turned on.
If you like these images, and if you wantto purchase the OnePlus Nord, I will really appreciate if you get it form links in thedescription section. That is it for this video guys. Please hit the like button if this video helpedyou, and subscribe to the channel for more quality tech videos like this.