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OnePlus 5 Camera Review: Twice the lenses, twice as good?

Our OnePlus 5 camera review takes an in-depth look at that dual-lens mobile shooter, the biggest new feature found on the latest OnePlus flagship phone. Following the recent OxygenOS update, this camera tech has got even better, as you'll see in our side-by-side comparison 4K video clips.

Dual lens cameras are certainly in fashion in 2017. Last year we saw them crop up on the iPhone 7 Plus and certain Huawei phones, while this year we’ve reviewed dual-lens snappers on the LG G6, Huawei P10 and P10 Plus. Now you can add the fresh new OnePlus 5 to that list.

So does the swap from a single to dual-lens setup work well on the new OnePlus? And how’s that selfie camera? Here’s our full review, along with test samples for you to check out yourself.

Want to see how the OnePlus 5 camera compares to the best Android mobile shooters out there? Check out our OnePlus 5 vs Galaxy S8 vs HTC U11 vs iPhone 7 Plus vs Huawei P10 Plus camera comparison.

OnePlus 5 rear camera specs

16-megapixel wide-angle f/1.7 aperture Sony IMX398 lens

20-megapixel telephoto f/2.6 aperture Sony IMX350 lens (1.6x optical zoom)

Dual LED flash

DCAF AutoFocus

EIS (no OIS)

OnePlus 5 front camera specs

16-megapixel f.2.0 aperture Sony IMX371 lens

Fixed Focus

EIS

OnePlus 5 camera review: App and features

The OnePlus 5 camera app packs in plenty of functionality, while also keeping operation reasonably simple for anyone who simply wishes to point and shoot.

On the main camera interface, you’ll find a handful of simple toggles as well as the shutter button for taking snaps. You can quickly alter the aspect ratio of your photos or resolution of your videos, as well as switching HDR mode and the flash on or off. There’s also a shortcut for jumping between the front and back cameras, as well as pulling out the camera modes menu.

You can switch to video mode from the main auto mode at any time, simply by swiping your finger up the screen. Swapping between the two usually takes a second or so. Alternatively, if you swipe down the screen, you’ll open up the new Portrait mode.

Although the OnePlus 5 doesn’t pack loads of bonus camera modes, unlike the Huawei P10 Plus or Samsung’s Galaxy S8, you’ll still find all of the common features. As well as recording up to 4K resolution video, you can shoot timelapse and slow-motion footage. You also have full manual controls via the Pro mode, if you’re confident enough to get very precise results. This comes with the option to capture RAW images also.

That Portrait mode is a new option, using the dual-lens setup to capture your subject in crisp detail while blurring the background. To see this in action, check out our photo samples in the next section.

OnePlus has included a couple of methods of quick-loading the camera app, even when the phone is hibernating. For instance, double-tap the OnePlus 5’s power button and you’ll jump straight in, ready to take a shot in just a second or so. Likewise, you can setup the handset to open the camera app from hibernation, simply by tracing a letter on the display. This is done from the gestures section of the main settings menu (check out our OnePlus 5 tips and tricks guide for more info).

OnePlus 5 camera review: Photo quality

The OnePlus 5 costs less than most other premium flagship phones, yet that dual-lens camera holds its own rather well. It’s rarely the best at one particular thing, but as a general snapper it’s very capable and rarely churns out a duff shot.

Click any of the following photos to open a full-sized version of them.

With reasonable lighting conditions, we were very happy with the sharp results of our test photos. Even fast-moving subjects are captured without blur, helped by the nippy shutter action.

You get a 1.6x optical zoom, courtesy of that secondary telephoto lens, so you can push in a little closer to your subject when necessary too. That’s obviously not as strong as the zoom on the iPhone 7 Plus, but still worth having to keep photo detail levels high.

Colours are realistically reproduced, with vibrant hues giving a particularly punchy and eye-pleasing photo. Accuracy levels are on a par with any other mobile shooter out there, while in low light the OnePlus 5 actually outperforms some of its closest rivals. Detail levels aren’t quite as strong as on the Galaxy S8 or HTC U11, yet our test shots didn’t suffer from much grain, even when snapping in very dim conditions.

As for high-contrast situations, they’re handled well also. You can expect respectable detailing on any subject shot against a bright sky, without much oversaturation of those brighter areas.

Macro shots are also handled admirably. Again, expect solid detail levels, while the lens rarely struggles to focus, even when mere centimetres away.

As for that Portrait Mode, we're impressed by the results. You get some pleasing bokeh effects with no effort, while your subject stands out nicely in the shot.

Check out our OnePlus 5 photo sample gallery below for more test shots.

OnePlus 5 camera review: Video quality

The OnePlus 5 is fine for everyday home movies, packing in plenty of detail and coping well with sudden changes in lighting. However, there are some issues which need addressing.

For one, we found that the focus occasionally ‘pops’ in Full HD resolution. You can see this in our test clip below. It's a very distracting issue, and hopefully one which OnePlus can fix in an update soon.

Also, while the digital image stabilisation does a good job of eliminating pretty much all judder and shake, the end result has a mechanical feel. It’s almost as if a cyborg were shooting the footage, with smooth and sudden shifts in perspective. Not a serious problem by any means; it's just rather different to the results from other handsets.

Check out our video samples below, shot in Covent Garden market.

In 4K resolution, our OnePlus 5 video results were more impressive. You get incredible detail and accurate colour reproduction, for a pleasing viewing experience on the big screen. That focus pop issue seems to no longer be present, either.

When the OnePlus 5 first launched, the image stabilisation was pretty much non-existent at this resolution, as there's no OIS and the EIS wasn't able to stop the judders. In other words, you had to stand very still while shooting, to prevent your video looking like it was shot during an earthquake.

Thankfully a recent OxygenOS update has fixed this issue, as you can see in the side-by-side before and after comparison clip below.

OnePlus 5 camera review: Selfie camera

Around the front of the OnePlus 5 you get a 16-megapixel selfie camera, which is just as impressive as the OnePlus 3T’s front-facing snapper. You have smile mode to activate the shutter automatically (with a timed delay), a ‘screen flash’ mode for low light shots and of course the obligatory beauty mode to smooth out those creases.

If you take a lot of ego-stroking selfie snaps to share online, this is well up to the job.

Read next: OnePlus 5 vs the best Android phones, is this the ultimate 2017 flagship device?

You can grab the OnePlus 5 exclusively from O2 here in the UK, from £34 per month (or £36 for the Midnight Black version). Pre-order now and you will receive the phone from June 22.

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