OnePlus 8T camera: 2 things I loved and 2 things that...


Andrew Hoyle / CNET

The OnePlus 8T comes with a number of great features including 5G, super fast charging, and a beautiful display. But it’s the cameras on the back that interest me the most. So I was excited to pick up the phone and take it for a walk through the orange leaves of Edinburgh in the fall.

The 8T has four cameras: a 48-megapixel main camera, a 16-megapixel super wide-angle camera, a 5-megapixel macro camera for close-ups and an additional black and white sensor for black and white photos. TL; DR: The main and wide camera modes can take great shots, but the black and white sensor is pointless and macro images don’t look good. Read on for more information and to see my test images.

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OnePlus 8T outdoor camera test

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

oneplus-8t-autumn colors

oneplus-8t-autumn colors


OnePlus 8T outdoor camera test

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

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oneplus-8t-river-normal

OnePlus 8T outdoor camera test

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

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When I use the standard camera lens in standard mode, I am impressed with the phone’s ability to compensate for bright lights and shadows (the auto HDR mode seems helpful). The colors are rich and vivid and the pictures are full of detail.

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oneplus-8t-flussweit


OnePlus 8T outdoor camera test, wide-angle lens.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

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oneplus-8t-hill-wide

OnePlus 8T outdoor camera test, wide-angle lens.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

When switching to the wide-angle lens, I am happy to have a good grip on the exposure again. While I think the colors look more subdued than with the regular lens, the white balance has shifted. It’s a wide view that makes it easy to capture a large portion of the scene in front of you.

OnePlus 8T monochrome mode

One of the new additions to the 8T’s camera setup is a monochrome sensor. Interestingly, the picture is still captured with the main camera sensor, but the mono sensor apparently captures more light and shadow detail, allowing for better looking black and white images.

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oneplus-8t-gallery-mono


OnePlus 8T monochrome camera review.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

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oneplus-8t-dean-mono

OnePlus 8T monochrome camera review.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

oneplus-8t-trees-mono

oneplus-8t-trees-mono

OnePlus 8T monochrome camera review.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

The mono images produced by the phone are decent. The lights and shadows are balanced and there is a pleasing amount of detail overall. The problem I have is that the mode feels redundant: the shots are no better than you could get by editing your photos in a free app like Snapseed or using the software-based black and white modes that the phone already offers. We have already seen special monochrome sensors on phones like the Huawei 2016 P9. They don’t tend to stay long – Huawei dumped it after the P20 Pro. Personally, I don’t think it adds any additional photographic value here.

Disappointing macro mode

The phone’s 5 megapixel macro lens allows you to focus on objects much closer than is normally possible. In theory, it’s a great way to capture tiny details about things like flowers and insects, but in practice, the 8T’s macro shots don’t impress.

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oneplus-8t-Macro


OnePlus 8T-Macromodus.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

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oneplus-8t-macro-2

OnePlus 8T-Macromodus.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

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oneplus-8t-macro-3

OnePlus 8T-Macromodus.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

Details are so squishy that I don’t even want to upload these pics to a album, let alone print them out to view. If macro photography is your thing, this lens won’t cut it. Instead, consider using external macro lenses like those from Moment (an 8T compatible lens housing is expected) and OlloClip. You can keep reading our guide Here’s how to take macro shots with your phone to see how these pictures can look.

The OnePlus 8T can take great shots with its main lens or its ultra-wide angle lens. For the majority of your snap, it will be great. But I find the monochrome sensor an odd and redundant addition, and the macro mode doesn’t impress me. Given that these are two main features of the camera setup, I can’t help but be disappointed with the entire camera package.

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