OnePlus admits the 7 Pro camera is 'not where we want it to be' despite crazy DxO scores

OnePlus admits the 7 Pro camera is 'not where we want it to be' despite crazy DxO scores
The OnePlus community of phone lovers is as dedicated about the brand as those of much larger and more popular ones for a good reason. The unorthodox word-of-mouth marketing that OnePlus started with, the dedication to software that makes it a standout in the sea of Android phones, and the (until recently) value for money hardware, made OnePlus a force to be reckoned with in the span of a few short years.

There is only one dark stain in this heretofore bright image - the camera abilities of OnePlus phones - and even the company acknowledges they are not up to par with the best out there now. The company's product manager Zack Zhang, however, blamed the discrepancy on miscommunication. 

The OnePlus 7 Pro, for instance, got very high score on the controversial DxOMark tests and it shipped with the same firmware, he said, but people apparently preferred their photos livelier than "natural." According to him, that's why they started complaining about the actual camera output in their daily shots:


That's quote implies that OnePlus simply aimed for different color/exposure settings than what people prefer to see in their photos, and a few software tweaks should fix the discrepancy. Mr Zhang also waxed poetic how they are still figuring out their camera philosophy, and now want "natural" colors that still carry plenty of "emotion," whatever that means.

That is a pretty bold approach, in line with most of what OnePlus has been doing so far in its industry disruption efforts. Phone makers usually just give users the warm and bright shots they crave in auto mode, and call it a day. As usual, OnePlus talks about taking a different approach - using AI for enhancing existing modes like HDR or night shots - instead of creating separate scenes for each situation.


Unfortunately, this might not be as much because OnePlus differs from Google, Huawei, Samsung or Apple's mobile photography efforts philosophically, but since it is simply is very hard to pull off a good computational photography algorithm without having Google or Apple's years of imaging databases to sift through and analyze on the fly. Thus, Mr Zhang rightfully concluded that:


The great OnePlus camera improvement push is coming in the form of a directive from CEO Peter Lau to dig in and show something for the photography efforts that will be commensurate with what Google or Huawei are doing, but with the OnePlus imaging philosophy applied. While that's a tall order, and the sheer difference of opinions what constitutes a good photo may prevent OnePlus from hitting it, it's the journey that matters, too. 

OnePlus has apparently set up a new camera lab that automates testing, and has augmented it with real users recruited from all over the world that give their honest opinion on the results of this or that camera improvement effort. OnePlus still has a long way to go if it wants to catch up with the big camera boys but at least it is acknowledging the problem and trying to do something about it the right way - by rolling up its sleeves and cracking on those hard to do HDR and night modes. 

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21 Comments

1. User123456789

Posts: 818; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

So ... They dont feel satisfied. They dont feel their phone do as good as the other. And the phone has just 1 point below. Score higher than deserves? Iphone score is higher than it should be too. Only great thing is exposure. Colour, texture , AF and zoom are not.

7. Venom

Posts: 3410; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

If that's what they are saying. I give them props for not releasing a half baked phone to the masses with issues such as the camera and requiring multiple updates that still fail to address the issues.

9. meanestgenius

Posts: 21778; Member since: May 28, 2014

Props to OnePlus for addressing the camera and making it better, as opposed to continually releasing what seems to be a beta phone with updates that consistently cause more harm when trying to do good.

11. Venom

Posts: 3410; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

ONE+ definitely deserves props. They didn’t delay and release a phone with half baked software and a slightly older processor with a very slow processing camera.

14. meanestgenius

Posts: 21778; Member since: May 28, 2014

Great that OnePlus is being so transparent concerning this. They don’t release beta smartphone after beta smartphone and charge a premium like some OEM’s do that just can’t compete with the other big boys.

2. meanestgenius

Posts: 21778; Member since: May 28, 2014

OnePlus coming out and saying this is kind of refreshing, imo. It shows that they acknowledge where they need to improve, and are willing to take the necessary steps to make those improvements. For all intents and purposes, the OnePlus 7 Pro is one of the best smartphones released this year. Maybe even the best, so far. They get a lot more right than they do wrong, especially when compared to big guys like Samsung, Apple, Google, and some others. I’ve been hearing and reading overwhelming positive things about their smartphones, and it’s well earned, imo. Honestly, OnePlus is now on my radar as a smartphone OEM whose products I’m willing to buy.

3. Nutcase4u2

Posts: 44; Member since: Oct 15, 2015

I feel like I hesitated for too long when deciding to buy a OnePlus phone. Partially because I have Verizon service, but I was always interested in the OnePlus brand. I now have the OnePlus 6T and I can honestly say it's just about everything I want in a smartphone. Sure the camera quality isn't quite up to par with the big guns out there, but it's good enough for me. Looking forward to seeing what they will come out with next, and I'll likely upgrade in another 6 months or so.

6. Venom

Posts: 3410; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Glad you liked it. The 6T is a fantastic phone, still one of the best phones ever. I would definitely cop that jawn even today. They've always been on my radar and not just something that randomly happened because of a statement. The positive reviews and reception has been noted for some time now.

15. meanestgenius

Posts: 21778; Member since: May 28, 2014

Glad you like the OnePlus 6T. It’s one of the best bang for your buck smartphones out today, and with the advent of the OnePlus 7 Pro, I’ve made up my mind to purchase one. They are definitely on my radar now, despite those that feel a certain way about it. The glowing reviews of their products put them above many of the industry stalwarts that seem to not be able to get it right.

5. rsiders

Posts: 1934; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

The camera is still really good already and I'm happy with their update efforts so far. This is the one reason why I chose to leave my trusted LG V series for the OnePlus 7 Pro. They have not disappointed and I love the portrait mode.

8. meanestgenius

Posts: 21778; Member since: May 28, 2014

That's awesome. Glad you are really liking your OnePlus 7 Pro. It's the best Android smartphone on the market right now in terms of overall package IMO, and offers a far better package than most. I was initially surprised that DXO has it beating out the best that Pixel has to offer, but considering that the photos look much more natural than the Pixels do, I can see why it's better in the eyes of the professionals. OnePlus has been an OEM that I've been keeping my eye on for some time now, despite what some may assume. The 7Pro has sealed it for me and put OnePlus on my radar to support their products, and I'm going to cop this jawn to add to my smartphone collection, despite the knowledge of this not sitting well with some. The positive reviews and reception have it better received than many of the industry stalwarts brands, and I will happily share my feelings about the 7Pro once I cop this jawn.

13. Venom

Posts: 3410; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

That's neat. I'm still going to stick with the 6T if I decide to go the OnePlus route. Camera is definitely more than capable to do what it needs to compared to a device that was supposed to be made for photography but fails to even do that right without issues. I'm not jumping on a bandwagon like some are because I've had my eye on OnePlus all the way back to the 5T days. I wanted to cop that jawn but ended up with the 7.1.

16. meanestgenius

Posts: 21778; Member since: May 28, 2014

I hope read some more of your assessments of the OnePlus 7 Pro, and hope to see the same from others like you. The 7 Pros camera has even beat out the Pixel 3XL, according to DXO Mark, as have many other smartphones. It’s due to the more natural looking photos produced by it. The 7 Pro also offers a much more complete package than say, a smartphones that has been released with issues from generation to generation whose only saving grace is the camera, which has been beaten. I know you were an LG fan before, so I’d never hypocritically say that you are jumping on the bandwagon, like some here who have jumped on the Nokia bandwagon since they now claim to own a Nokia smartphone.

10. Invalid_GR

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 27, 2019

Great for the to acknowledge that camera isn't that good. One simple solution for OnePlus: get a Pixel and try to get the image as close as possible. If you want to add 50x zoom you are welcome.

12. Venom

Posts: 3410; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I agree. The Pixel is still the best camera of any phone hands down.

17. rsiders

Posts: 1934; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

It's the best software. Huawei is by far the leader in camera hardware.

18. meanestgenius

Posts: 21778; Member since: May 28, 2014

Agreed. Huawei’s camera hardware is better by far.

19. Venom

Posts: 3410; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Maybe so, but hardware doesn't matter if you don't have good software to make it work and that's why the Pixel phones are better. Kudos for not being a jock rider like some wannabe tech geniuses.

20. meanestgenius

Posts: 21778; Member since: May 28, 2014

Again, I agree with you that Huawei’s hardware for camera is better than Googles by far. There are some photo experts that already have Pixels being beaten by Huawei, OnePlus, Samsung and some others. Kudos for pointing out the facts instead of being a Google jock rider and wannabe techie spewing misinformation.

21. Venom

Posts: 3410; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

If the hardware was as good as some people say, then users wouldn't be trying to sideload the Gcam app on their phone. It takes a combination of hardware and software for a camera to be the best and that's why the Pixel phones are highly rated camera wise. You have some fake geniuses who continue to spew misinformation with their negative pixel campaign just because they can't point to where on the doll where the Pixel violated them at.

22. meanestgenius

Posts: 21778; Member since: May 28, 2014

If their hardware wasn’t as good as some people say, their cameras wouldn’t be lauded the way they are. It’s hilarious that some would try and say that people are side loading gcam in their Huawei devices without supplying one iota of evidence to support such a claim. Pixels clearly don’t have good hardware to support their software for cameras, because if they did, they wouldn’t have been beaten by the latest Huawei smartphone cameras, as well as Samsung and OnePlus. You have some fake venomous individuals who continue to spew misinformation with their negative campaigns against Chinese smartphone OEM’s, BlackBerry, HMD, and LG just because they have had severe pot, meet kettle moments when talking about others. By the way, I went ahead and purchased a OnePlus 7 Pro, and I’m loving it! True fans support what they like and buy the products.

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