Recently we reviewed the OnePlus 8 Pro and thought that finally OnePlus had brought a premium level smartphone camera experience to their premium device. To our naked eye the images produced by it were really good and were comparable to those produced by the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Well-known camera review site, DxOMark has now published their own camera review and agree, scoring the camera at 119. That placed it above a lot of decent camera phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S20+, the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Pixel 4 and was enough to make it into the top 10 of smartphone cameras — according to DxOMark.

It is just six points behind the second placed Honor 30 Pro+ and yet the issues they found with it were minimal at most. It was helped by having one of the best video scores of all cameras though.

Comparing the images on the site in the review showed that the OnePlus 8 Pro camera produces some really good imaging and although lacked a bit in the zooming and ultra-wide areas it led them to the conclusion:

By and large the OnePlus 8 Pro is a solid performer, too, with no serious weaknesses identified in our tests, and the primary camera is particularly good, thanks to excellent exposure and color, high detail, and well-controlled noise.

As you can see in the images below the photos from the OnePlus 8 Pro were fantastic and although they weren’t up to the quality of the Huawei P40 Pro (no camera is, it’s just unfortunate it is not allowed to run Google apps) they were still pretty damn good. What does this mean? Are smartphone cameras at the premium end these days just all good and you will not be unhappy with any of them?

Leaving the Huawei P40 Pro aside (it’s just in a league of its own) we have 16 smartphones within 9 points of second place on DxOMark’s ranking. And when you consider that often images produced are very subjective on what you like/want etc it makes it even closer.

So when we talk about smartphone cameras, especially at the high end, why are we even bothering to try to out shoot one from another? All smartphones at the premium end seem to be producing very similar quality imagery. Is it just a flex? Bragging rights?

When you put images from one phone next to those from another you can often tell there is a difference — but does that mean that one is bad? Not always. they are just different. One camera software may enhance the edges more, one may highlight colours more or one may produce a more true-to-life image than the other.

Think about this, the Pixel 4 is well known for producing amazing images and yet sits way down the leaderboard over at DxOMark — who have to somehow split hairs but why are we bothering? Sure it may not have the bells and whistles of some cameras but it produces amazing imagery for 99 percent of cases — low light, good light and bokeh/portrait. This is what most people use most of the time (100% of those surveyed said so).

In the end it doesn’t matter if one phone is apparently better than another or scored higher than another. It needs to produce what you like. Most people share photos on social media which compresses images etc and thus any discernible difference is often lost.

From now on maybe we should just say whether a camera is up to scratch or not and give some sample images of different scenes without trying to see where it sits compared to others. After all, especially for premium smartphones, the images all seem to be well past the acceptable mark. Mid-level phones though may be different — is that the new camera battlefront?

What do you think?

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Username001
Username001
4 months ago

DxOMark doesn’t do fair and comprehensive comparisons. They often ignore innovative or unique camera features (like wide angle, slo-mo, AR, black and white photo quality, offering RAW format etc). For a long time they didn’t even consider night mode or zoom, which is what some consumers were buying certain phones for. They also often fail to update their reviews when a major software update for a camera becomes available which can make their old review irrelevant.   It has also been alleged that they may have taken payments to bump certain non-western phone camera results up the charts due to… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
4 months ago

To my eyes, the Pixel’s still take the best photos of all phones. Something about how they handle dynamic range, contrast, white balance, sharpness etc. The combination of the calculations the Pixel makes to produce images I find most realistic and pleasing. Plus the consistency – it’s rock solid. When I had the Pixel 4XL, I could take a photo and I would be confident it’d be a decent photo every time. The Galaxy S20 Ultra I have now is very very inconsistent. I take 5 photos of the same object and get 5 wildly different images. Updates have come… Read more »

Tom Sekulic
Tom Sekulic
4 months ago

Everything about this phone is great, except Australian availability. Now that 8th series prices have gone through the roof, importing one is not an option due to high risk of ending up with a brick in case develops a fault. Not worth it.
Damn you *Oppo*!

Luke Langley
Luke Langley
Reply to  Tom Sekulic
4 months ago

Why are you blaming Oppo? It’s Oneplus you should be blaming Oppo is just the sister coming of OnePlus while the parent company is BBK!

FestivusOz
FestivusOz
Reply to  Tom Sekulic
4 months ago

Not considering the OP8 Pro or more realistically the OP8 Pro for that reason. Especially given the screen issues reported.

Would not be hard to use Oppo sister company network for break/fix and warranty support. I great we are not a big enough market.

Had a good run with OP. Ever onward to something new