- I’m not sure what possessed me, but I took two smartphones with me during a hiking trip to Banff, Canada, one of the most beautiful places in the world.
- Those phones were the OnePlus 7 Pro and the Google Pixel 3 XL.
- I documented the trip by taking photos with each phone at the same times and places so I could definitively tell which smartphone had the best camera.
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On a recent hiking trip to Banff, Canada – one of the most beautiful places in the world – I decided to bring along two of the best smartphone cameras: the OnePlus 7 Pro, and Google’s Pixel 3 XL.
While I took photos with each phone at the same time and place, the OnePlus 7 Pro simply didn’t deliver the types of photos I was looking for, as it was seemingly trying too hard to make photos pop by overly processing them.
It’s pretty clear that the Pixel 3 XL took better photos, but it wasn’t so clear when I tried the previous OnePlus 6T against the Pixel 3 XL during a different trip to Hawaii.
For reference, the OnePlus 7 Pro photos were taken with the 9.5.7 update, when OnePlus had supposedly fixed the earlier issues with the camera.
Check out the photos below to see what I mean when I say that the OnePlus 7 Pro was trying too hard to take good photos.
Starting off with a bang, the OnePlus 7 Pro makes Lake Moraine in Banff, Canada, really pop compared to the Pixel 3 …
… with that said, the Pixel 3’s photo has a greater range of lighting, which gives the photo more depth.
I’ve always said that the Pixel 3’s camera excels with lighting and depth, and it holds true against the OnePlus 7 Pro.
It looks like the OnePlus 7 Pro is trying to make the day appear less overcast than it actually was. Some might like that, but I think that trying to change things – like the weather – usually results in an overly processed look.
The OnePlus 7 Pro has an ultra-wide lens to capture more breathtaking scenery. But there’s a lot of blurriness around the edges of the photo, especially on the left. And the colours are wildly different than the OnePlus’ standard photo — they’re actually closer to the Pixel’s.
Here’s how the OnePlus 7 Pro holds up when you get closer to things and try to capture more details …
It struck me how many rocks of different shapes, sizes, colours, and patterns there were on the shores of the beautiful Lake Louise in Banff, Canada.
Compared to the Pixel’s photo below, you could argue that the OnePlus’ photo actually has greater lighting range and depth. But the OnePlus doesn’t quite pull it off. It simply looks more processed – as if someone had already applied some kind of filter – than the Pixel’s photo, which looks more natural.
… but the Pixel’s photo looks more natural and less processed, and the colours are richer.
Here’s another example, where the OnePlus tries too hard to make this an appealing photo by creating too much contrast in the details on the rocks. But it backfires a little …
… while the Pixel’s photo looks less detailed than the OnePlus’ photo, it’s a lot closer to what I saw when I took the photo.
The recent OnePlus phones I’ve tested have always had trouble with the colour green, and the OnePlus 7 Pro is no different, unfortunately. The photo looks great until you compare it to the Pixel’s photo …
… clearly, the Pixel does a much better job with the colour green, which looks far more natural and accurate here. And there’s more detail on the mountain, too.
Here’s another example where it looks like the OnePlus tries too hard …
… while the Pixel lets the natural beauty of whatever you’re taking a photo of speak for itself.
I’ve had mixed results with close-up shots on the OnePlus, but this one came out pretty well …
… that is, until you see what the Pixel captured. There’s significantly more detail here, and far more depth and colour accuracy than the OnePlus.
I was a little disappointed in the OnePlus 7 Pro camera’s performance for this trip, as I felt like it was trying too hard to make photos look good.
This was surprising, as the OnePlus 6T from 2018 did an arguably better job than the Pixel 3 during a trip to Hawaii.
I could have forgiven the OnePlus’ over-saturation and obsession with adding too much contrast in the wrong places if the ultra-wide camera performed well, but it didn’t. On almost every ultra-wide photo, the edges appears blurry, and it felt like there was little point in using that camera.
At the end of the day, it’s not that the OnePlus 7 Pro camera performed terribly badly, but it’s that the Pixel 3 XL performed significantly better.
The OnePlus 7 Pro is still the best smartphone you can buy today. It has a stunning design, a superb display that destroys the Pixel 3 XL, incredible performance that beats phones that cost hundreds more, super-fast charging, and it doesn’t have a notch or a cut-out for the selfie camera; it’s pure screen.
And even if the camera might try a little too hard, it still takes good photos. It’s just not the best camera.