With the iPhone X yet to reach the stores, the iPhone 8 Plus is clearly the best Apple smartphone you can buy. What really sets it apart is the dual-camera setup, which includes a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens with f/1.8 aperture and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens with f/2.8 aperture. While considered to be among the best, rival companies have lately made immense strides and competition in the smartphone photography space is as stiff as ever.
With that in mind, we have compared two smartphones that share a similar type of the dual-camera setup – Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the OnePlus 5. Samsung’s flagship phablet boasts a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens with f/1.7 aperture, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens with f/2.4 aperture. In Samsung’s case, both lens comes with optical image stabilization (OIS) support. As for the OnePlus 5, it features a 20-megapixel lens with f/1.7 aperture, and a 16-megapixel telephoto lens with f/2.6 aperture. The telephoto lens on all three smartphones allows for 2x optical zooming capabilities. ALSO READ: OnePlus 5 Review: Feel the power
For the camera comparison, I shot photos in different lighting conditions and at different locations. I have also shot photos with default controls without any manual tweaks, which is more often than not how most use a smartphone camera.
For outdoors comparison, I clicked a photo of a rusted car with foliage growing all around and inside it. The idea here was to capture as much details as possible, while also retaining the colors.
While details are high on all three photos, the iPhone 8 Plus, not surprisingly, is able to reproduce the most natural of colors. The greens on the Galaxy Note 8 are a tad too bright, while the OnePlus has gone for more punchier colors. Even the buildings in the background have a natural hue on the iPhone 8 Plus, while on the OnePlus 5 and Galaxy Note 8 the building colors look a tad muted.
The real difference is when zoomed in. When zooming into the rust part of the car just above the window, the Galaxy Note 8 manages to offer more detail and sharpness. You can also zoom in more before the photo starts pixelating. Following very closely is the iPhone 8 Plus, which again manages to offer the best combination of details and natural colors. The OnePlus5 unfortunately isn’t quite able to offer the same level of detailing as the competitors. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review: The beast unleashed!
For indoors, I clicked a photo of my breakfast on a table that is quite close to a window. This means there is enough light for detailed photos. Again the level of details were amazing, but the colors made all the difference.
Yet again, the colors and temperature on the iPhone 8 Plus were the best. The pores on the bread and the contours in the omelette have been impressively captured by the iPhone 8 Plus. The photo clicked on Galaxy Note 8 too is high on details, but the colors are bit too punchy and are borderline washed out. With the OnePlus 5, the colors are quite muted, and the temperature is on the colder side, which makes the food look less appealing.
With the dual-camera setup on board, all the talk is around how well they are able to replicate a DSLR’s bokeh effect. There are two sets of photos I have clicked to see how good the portrait mode is on these smartphones. The first set includes a flower surrounded by a bunch of leaves.
In terms of just bokeh effects, the iPhone 8 Plus is quite visibly way ahead of its competition. The background is blurred, while accurately maintaining the edges around the leaves. On the OnePlus 5, the AC units and sofas in the background are visible, and the blurring has run over a couple of leaves. On the Galaxy Note 8, the blurring levels are decent, but highly inaccurate.
The second set of photos is a closeup of my friend sitting in a cafe. Again, the iPhone 8 Plus is able to reproduce colors naturally. Details are high as well, but slightly blurring is seen towards the back of his head. OnePlus 5 and the Galaxy Note 8 go for punchier looks, which is why details are a tad sharper as well.
For low light, I clicked a photo of an empty road with focus on the leaves, flowers at the opposite side of the road, and the car in the background.
In such less than ideal lighting conditions, the iPhone 8 Plus and the Galaxy Note 8 are miles ahead of the OnePlus 5. The OnePlus 5 struggles to focus on a subject, which results in a photo that is blurry and low on details. Choosing which among the Apple or Samsung smartphone is better, you will need to zoom in. While the two manage to capture an impressive amount of detail, the photo by the Galaxy Note 8 is affected by noise and grainy-ness around the edges.
This is where the iPhone 8 Plus again proves how it is better than others when it comes to portrait photos. In the low lighting conditions, I asked my friend to click a portrait image of me with the cafe behind me for depth.
So bad was the lighting conditions in the cafe that the OnePlus 5 absolutely refused to click a portrait photo despite numerous attempts. After a few tries we were able to get two decent portrait shots on the iPhone 8 Plus, and the Galaxy Note 8. Now the results are far from perfect, but Apple’s smartphone wins here because of how it was able to click an average portrait shot with a blurred background.
Low-light with flash
To check the flash’s capabilities, I clicked a photo in absolute darkness. The subjects were two pieces of toys kept on a table.
As is evident from the above photos, the Galaxy Note 8 is clearly the most capable in capturing a photo in absolute darkness. It was able to capture the creases on the panda’s face, as well as the different colors on the elephant. The slightly colder temperature is also what makes the photo look slightly better than the OnePlus’. Speaking of which, the OnePlus 5 is able to capture the enough details, but the photo is quite warm for my liking. The iPhone 8 Plus, as you can see, struggled to control the flash and details were washed out despite numerous attempts.
2x optical zoom
With a telephoto lens onboard, all three smartphones are capable of 2x optical zoom without a loss in details. For this test, I shot photos of the traffic from our office on the 20th floor. Two photos were clicked from every phone – one zoomed out, and the other zoomed in.
All three smartphones are able to impressively zoom into far away objects. As you can see in the above images, the monorail bridge is quite clearly seen when zoomed in. While the likes of the Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8 Plus allow for a bit more zooming after the photo has been clicked, the OnePlus 5 gets pixelated.