The OnePlus 3 smartphone amazed me in many ways. There are many things I love about this phone: from the build quality, to the speed of the Android interface. But the camera is where this phone really shines.
This summer I got the chance to take some photos and test this device during a trip to Hungary, Austria, and Croatia at a Pixel Square workshop (thanks to androidworld.it for the device and the collaboration).
So, how does the camera perform?
First of all it fires very quickly with the double tap of the sleep button on the right of the device. The camera app on the OnePlus 3 is clean and offers an automatic mode that works very well, and if you want it, you can find the manual mode in the settings that lets you control the basic parametrs of shooting like the ISO value, shutter speed, and white balance.
Another great feature—that now even Apple’s iOS 10 supports—is the RAW shooting.
Shooting in RAW DNG with the OnePlus 3 gives you a much wider range of opportunity to capture all the details and colors in your pictures, and lets you edit them afterwards without loosing any quality via JPG compression.
Here are some sample photos I’ve captured, shot in RAW and edited in Lightroom:
For the pictures in this review, I used the following approach: I set the device to shoot in RAW DNG and then installed Lightroom Mobile onto the phone.
Since I have Creative Cloud, I can sync my RAW photos from the OnePlus 3 to my standard Lightroom library and edit the shots either inside the app on the smartphone, or when I’m back in the studio in front of my 27-inch iMac.
Lightroom Mobile, with a few taps, lets you automatically import only the RAW DNG files found on the device. Then you can set a collection where these imports will go. I’ve found this workflow to be very effective, since I can shoot and edit the pictures on the go or later with calm.
How does the OnePlus 3 perform in difficult lighting situations?
I’m more and more amazed by what this small sensor can achieve in terms of details and light recording.
Here are some pictures I captured in difficult light situations. As you can see, the lights and details are beautifully preserved. Shooting in RAW DNG gives this great advantage in shadow and highlight recovery; but I have to say, even the JPGs straight out of the camera are good thanks to a nice HDR implementation.
My final conclusions about this device are very positive. The OnePlus 3 is a serious contender agains the iPhone 7/7 Plus and the new Google Pixel smartphone. If you want to decide for yourself, I’ve prepared a ZIP file of full resolution RAW DNG files captured with the OnePlus 3 smartphone so you can take a closer look.
About the author: Alessandro Michelazzi is a professional portrait and lifestyle photographer based in Florence, Italy. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. To see more of Alessandro’s work, visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Instagram. A version of this review was published here.