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Scene 7: The cathedral



We're now at the final stretch of this comparison, with only three more scenes to go. But these three rounds are actually going to be the toughest, as they've all been taken in low light.

Yet even though this scene is tricky to capture, the OnePlus 3 does not disappoint. It has preserved a lot of fine detail, accentuated with some extra sharpness, and the colors look mostly accurate. 

The Xperia X Performance, on the other hand, has messed up the colors once again. That's why the image appears overly blueish. 

Speaking of colors, it is the iPhone 6s Plus that got closest to reality, hence its image looks natural and pleasing. Detail could have been a bit sharper, but we're okay with the photo as it is.

Then there's the HTC 10. There's something likeable about the sharpness of the details it is treating us to, but perhaps a bit more exposure would have been welcome.

The LG G5 and Galaxy S7 could have done better. In both photos, colors are quite off, which draws the image away from reality.

Scene 7: EXIF data
OnePlus 3iPhone 6s
Plus
Samsung
Galaxy S7
HTC 10Sony Xperia
X Perf.
LG G5
ISO
sensitivity
ISO500ISO100ISO250ISO200ISO200ISO150
Shutter
speed
1/251/171/501/331/321/30

Scene 7: score
iPhone 6s Plus7.5
OnePlus 37.5
HTC 106.5
LG G56.0
Samsung Galaxy S76.0
Sony Xperia X Performance5.5


Scene 8: The church



It was getting late quickly, but we still had time, will, and energy to snap a few more shots. Including this one – a scene that the OnePlus 3 captured rather well. Its image is nice and sharp, with pleasing colors. In contrast, the Xperia X Performance did a poor job, and you'll see why if you zoom in on its image slightly. The poor detail could be a result of us not having a hand steady enough and the phone not having optical image stabilization. Or it could be an image processing issue. In any case, the X Performance has a greater tendency to come up with low-light photos messed up this way. 

Looking at the six images side by side, we'd say that the HTC 10 took the best shot. Both colors are detail are near-excellent, while the scene as a whole has been adequately exposed. The iPhone 6s Plus also did a great job, although it could have added a tad more exposure to its image. 

Disappointingly, the Samsung Galaxy S7 has skewed colors quite a bit, which is why its image looks unnatural. The exaggerated contrast doesn't help. As for the LG G5, this could have been a fantastic image had the colors been more accurate. There's an excessive amount of green all over the shot.

Scene 8: EXIF data
OnePlus 3iPhone 6s
Plus
Samsung
Galaxy S7
HTC 10Sony Xperia
X Perf.
LG G5
ISO
sensitivity
ISO1250ISO160ISO200ISO500ISO400ISO400
Shutter
speed
1/171/81/141/141/161/12

Scene 8: score
HTC 108.5
iPhone 6s Plus7.5
OnePlus 37.5
LG G56.5
Samsung Galaxy S76.0
Sony Xperia X Performance5.0


Scene 9: The statue



And for our final scene, we've partnered up with our good ol' pal, Mr Statue. He's cool and all, but there's something creepy about how his face gets recognized by the phones' face recognition systems. Anyway, let's take a look at the photos. 

The OnePlus 3 has performed commendably throughout this comparison, but its final shot leaves us wanting more. The image's overall tone is cold and lifeless, and it looks like the focus has been shifted onto the background, not on our buddy's face. The Sony Xperia X Performance can't impress us either. For starters, colors in its photo are a bit unnatural, with a weird greenish tone to them. Also, it looks like the focus hasn't been set correctly, even though we tapped multiple times on the statue's face (and retook the image several times). All we got were these confusing rectangles, supposedly indicating that an object is being tracked. 

As a breath of fresh air, the LG G5 has captured a splendid image. Colors are accurate, focus is spot-on, and detail is plentiful. Moreover, the depth of field beautifully accentuates the statue's face. The same effect can be also observed in the image out of the Galaxy S7, which has also performed rather well in this scene. The contrast seems to be on the heavy side, but we'll let it pass this time. 

The HTC 10 is treating us to a detailed image, but the overall color tone is slightly cold. Same can be said about the photo out of the iPhone 6s Plus. Also, fine details aren't as clear as they are in other phones' images.

Scene 9: EXIF data
OnePlus 3iPhone 6s
Plus
Samsung
Galaxy S7
HTC 10Sony Xperia
X Perf.
LG G5
ISO
sensitivity
ISO3200ISO250ISO400ISO1000ISO1000ISO650
Shutter
speed
1/171/41/101/141/161/9

Scene 9: score
LG G59.0
Samsung Galaxy S78.0
HTC 107.5
iPhone 6s Plus7.0
OnePlus 36.5
Sony Xperia X Performance6.5


Conclusion



One of the goals of this camera comparison was to show whether the OnePlus 3 – a $400 smartphone – could rival high-end handsets costing several hundred dollars more. It can, as the final score shows. The OnePlus 3 demonstrated mostly consistent camera performance throughout our testing, without revealing any serious or recurring flaws. Given the phone's price, we'd say that we're impressed. 

The Sony Xperia X Performance, on the other hand, couldn't wow us with its mediocre photos. Sure, 23 megapixels sound awesome on paper, but the extra megapixels don't translate to greater level of details. They're not of much help when it comes to color accuracy either, and color accuracy turns out to be the Xperia's weak spot. Anyone paying an arm and a leg for a phone like the X Performance would expect more out of its camera. Moreover, we're still baffled by the fact that Sony can't deliver a killer smartphone camera even though its digital camera division delivers outstanding products.

As for the HTC 10, we already knew that its camera was potent and reliable, hence we're not surprised to see it in first place. And we're glad to see that the latest generation UltraPixel camera isn't an utter disappointment, as the case was in previous years. Good job, HTC!

The HTC 10, however, isn't leading by a mile. Close behind it is the LG G5, which would have easily grabbed the first spot if it wasn't for a few color-inaccurate pictures. Still, its 16MP snapper is definitely one we'd recommend.  

And then there's the iPhone 6s Plus. Just think about it – this is a phone that's been around for almost a year, which is like a century in smartphone terms. Yet Apple's phone is still a worthy opponent, capable of rivaling 2016's best phones.  

Lastly, we're having mixed feelings about the Samsung Galaxy S7 and its camera. Its photos look fine on their own, but the excessive processing they're treated to isn't always necessary. Sharpening, contrast, and saturation boosts could make or break an image, depending on how they're applied, and in the Galaxy S7's case, the "break" scenario happens more often than it should. 

Final score
HTC 107.9
LG G57.7
iPhone 6s Plus7.6
OnePlus 37.4
Samsung Galaxy S76.8
Sony Xperia X Performance6.0

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OnePlus 3 specs
  • Display 5.5 inches 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP (Single camera) 8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 6GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB,
  • Battery 3000 mAh
  • OS Android 9.0 Pie OnePlus OxygenOS UI
Apple iPhone 6s Plus specs
  • Display 5.5 inches 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera) 5 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A9 2GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2750 mAh
  • OS iOS 14.x
Samsung Galaxy S7 specs
  • Display 5.1 inches 2560 x 1440 pixels 60Hz Refresh rate
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera) 5 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 4GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh
  • OS Android 8.0 Oreo Samsung TouchWiz UI
HTC 10 specs
  • Display 5.2 inches 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera) 5 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 4GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh
  • OS Android 8.0 Oreo HTC Sense UI
LG G5 specs
  • Display 5.3 inches 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP (Dual camera) 8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 4GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh
  • OS Android 8.0 Oreo LG UX UI
Sony Xperia X Performance specs
  • Display 5.0 inches 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 23 MP (Single camera) 13 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 3GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2700 mAh
  • OS Android 8.0 Oreo

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