OnePlus walks back an important claim about a OnePlus 7 Pro feature

OnePlus walks back an important claim about a OnePlus 7 Pro feature
The OnePlus 7 Pro camera system has already been under attack from owners of the phone; this prompted a OnePlus staff member to write about an impending update that will allegedly improve the quality of images snapped with the rear cameras. According to a Reddit poster using the handle /u/ImKuya (via Android Police), another problem has come up in regard to the three snappers on the back of the phone. But this isn't a software issue or even a hardware problem. It is a problem with marketing.

Here's the situation. OnePlus said in the marketing material and official spec sheets it distributed that the OnePlus 7 Pro features a 3x optical zoom. It is still listed that way on the company's website. But as it turns out, that figure was a bit incorrect. The phone actually offers 2.2x optical zoom with the remainder covered by cropping. The post on Reddit even proves mathematically why this is true. And if you have a OnePlus 7 Pro, you can prove it to yourself. First, you have to understand that the telephoto lens is used for portrait mode. You can prove this in a brightly lit room by blocking the bottom camera on the back of the handset with your finger. Move the zoom slider from 1x to 3x, which will let you see when the zoom feature kicks in. Switch to portrait mode and it should still be blocked by your finger. This will confirm that the portrait mode uses the telephoto lens.

OnePlus website still claims that the OnePlus 7 Pro has 3x optical zoom

OnePlus website still claims that the OnePlus 7 Pro has 3x optical zoom


Next, take a photo using the 3x optical zoom in the Main camera mode. Switch to portrait mode and you'll see that the Field of View (FoV) is wider and the image is not as zoomed in. Since both the Main mode and portrait mode have access to the telephoto lens, it means that the picture you snapped in Main mode was cropped to create a 3x zoom. No, it is not a digital zoom, so there is a sliver of truth, but just a sliver. After all, 2.2x optical zoom is closer to 2x than 3x.

Proof that the OnePlus 7 Pro doesn't have 3x optical zoom

Proof that the OnePlus 7 Pro doesn't have 3x optical zoom

This isn't the first time there have been questions about the zoom on a OnePlus phone


OnePlus did issue a statement about the optical zoom on the OnePlus 7 Pro. In the statement (found directly below), you'll notice that the company refers to the feature as 3x zoom and not 3x optical zoom. And that is true. With the cropping, there is a 3x zoom effect and as OnePlus points out, there is no "loss of detail." The company adds that the 3x zoom "delivers the advertised lossless 8 megapixels images." 


This isn't the first time that there have been questions about the zoom capabilities on a OnePlus phone. Back in 2017, the company marketed the OnePlus 5 as being equipped with a 2x zoom. But with Apple delivering 2x optical zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus, there was confusion in the media over whether the OnePlus 5 also had the same feature. Eventually, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei confirmed with a tweet that OnePlus was claiming 2x lossless zoom, not 2x optical zoom. The phone did offer 1.6x optical zoom and used SmartCapture multiframe technology for the remaining .4x zoom effect. 

The difference this time is that OnePlus did claim that the OnePlus 7 Pro features 3x optical zoom. In fact, it still does on the company's website. And per its statement, that apparently is not true.

Related phones

7 Pro
  • Display 6.7" 1440 x 3120 pixels
  • Camera 48 MP / 16 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 4000 mAh(34h talk time)

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22 Comments

1. User123456789

Posts: 587; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

No surprise

2. OneLove123

Posts: 849; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

Who cares? I don’t zoom in anyway because zooming in a phone gives you horrible quality.

4. p51d007

Posts: 700; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

If it is OPTICAL zoom, the quality isn't as bad as DIGITAL zoom, but, with the SUPER TINY pinhole sensors these things use, anything could cause distortion.

5. xocomaox

Posts: 200; Member since: Dec 14, 2015

I think you misunderstand the point of optical zoom. It's lossless, meaning you do NOT lose quality when using it.

11. User123456789

Posts: 587; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Actually all phones gives you horrible quality when you check photos on a big 4K screen. Mainly those with lower resolution.

20. hjl2345

Posts: 82; Member since: Aug 11, 2018

It's not about whether or not you care for the feature, it's that people seems to be okay with the fact that they have been promoting a 3X zoom but in real life it's not. That's misleading customers.

21. Larry_ThaGr81

Posts: 559; Member since: May 26, 2011

I agree with that because they are leading us to believe that you are maintaining the same field of view when in fact they are actually cropping a 13MP Samsung S5K3M5 down to 8MP worth of detail to achieve the lossless 8MP zoom that they are advertising. It's misleading because it's not a true 3x optical zoom that is achieved with an 8MP sensor but rather a 13MP sensor that can achieve a true 2.2x optical zoom without loss of field of view.

3. p51d007

Posts: 700; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

LOL, remember when they said the OnePlus One, would have stereo speakers, which turned out to be twin MONO speakers, then the "yellow stain" which they said was due to setting the display to a lower temperature, to make it warmer? Best thing when purchasing anything made by Oppo, is to WAIT a couple months, for all the "distortions" to be known, before making a decision to either purchase it or not.

6. tedkord

Posts: 17135; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

That's the best thing to do with ALL brands of devices. They've all got flaws and issues.

10. UglyFrank

Posts: 2191; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I got the S8+ & S10+ on their respective release days and experienced no issues.

7. cozze02

Posts: 124; Member since: Nov 25, 2012

Don't care, love the phone either way, the display alone has me sold

8. Sealblaighter

Posts: 424; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Oh boy, another Chinese company who is caught lying. :(

9. Japultra

Posts: 133; Member since: May 16, 2014

OnePlus has had deceptive marketing since inception. Remember when they claimed the OnePlus One was smaller than comparable 5.5" screen phones? It turned out not to be true at all.

12. rsiders

Posts: 1889; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Who really cares? What's important is that you can see a visible difference in clarity from the telephoto zoom versus digital from the main lens. Only wish the resolution was higher and that OnePlus used the 5x periscope system like Huawei. But for what we have right now it's fine.https://youtu.be/Y0M3VlC3AQE Right at 14:13 you can see how useful the zoom(whatever range it really is) works.

13. TadTrickle

Posts: 42; Member since: Apr 08, 2019

Trump, ban these fools

14. rsiders

Posts: 1889; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

15. QuantumRazer

Posts: 36; Member since: Apr 27, 2019

Who cares? 8MP photo created by cropping 13MP photo, or 8MP photo produced from a native 8MP sensor, there's no difference between them in terms of actual image quality, and after all both of them give you 8MP photo at the focal length equivalent to 78mm. Oneplus could've explained it better but it's nothing we should make a fuss about. The situation is completely different from what they did with Oneplus 5 where they simply cropped and UPSCALED the image without using any sort of super resolution algorithms or some such, which resulted in severe detail loss.

16. Macready

Posts: 1811; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

Actually, cropping plus upscaling or cropping without upscaling, it's really a wash. Both images judged at the same output size (monitor or print) will look identical or nearly identical, even with the most rudimentary bicubic algorithm. Neither gives you real optical zoom (you lose some sharpness, gain noise at a given output size, comparable to shooting at a smaller sensor format) but digital zoom doesn't lose more detail than cropping alone either.

22. Larry_ThaGr81

Posts: 559; Member since: May 26, 2011

It's the misleading information that bothers some of us and sadly it's not the first time as you referenced with the OnePlus 5. Should we as consumers just stop believing what they market because we know they aren't going to be completely honest about what they are marketing? They should have been advertising a 13MP sensor with 2.2x optical zoom. If that's the case Samsung and Apple can do the same thing to claim a higher optical zoom, but they won't because it would be misleading information about the hardware in the phone for consumers. If I were interested in or already owned the OnePlus 7 Pro, it wouldn't be a dealbreaker. I will say that this is a turn off going forward for their future devices because they have established a pattern of misleading consumers.

17. CEDEOTB

Posts: 365; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

OnePlus really sucks in the camera department. All around it's still one of the best phones though.

18. Cat97

Posts: 1774; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Any 12MP sensor phone has 5x optical zoom, and it delivers ~1.08 megapixel lossless 5x zoom pictures :)

19. ebilcake

Posts: 1219; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Suspected as much from earlier reviews, when you pixel peep the 2x on Samsung devices arguably looks more detailed than 3x on the OP7 Pro. It's blatant false advertising, they even tried to hide it, disappointing but not surprising from OnePlus.

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