By Rich W Woods
I’ve had a lot of work to do with the OnePlus One lately. After all, we all care about what the camera can do but there is quite a bit of question as to what the right way to do it is.
When the OnePlus One first came out, the camera was terrible. All of the photos looked washed out. that led to users suggesting the HDR, Clear Image, and Smart Scene settings, which really didn’t help. When I reviewed the Nexus 6 and found that it uses the same camera hardware, I compared it to the OnePlus One using the Google Camera, which also didn’t help.
OnePlus ended up pushing out CM11 05Q, and update that promised significant camera improvements and it delivered. I tested CM11 05Q by comparing it to the iPhone 6 yet again and the results were much closer than they had been in previous tests.
Others are still suggesting different camera apps such as CameraNextMod, a modded version of the Cyanogen Camera app, and the ColorOS Camera app, as Chinese versions of the OnePlus One use. I compared the Cyanogen Camera app to CameraNextMod, which turned out to be a huge waste of time because it turned out that they use the same algorithm (imagine that! I won’t even back link to it). Then, by popular demand, I compared the Cyanogen Camera app to the ColorOS Camera app.
Throughout my comparisons, I came to the conclusion that it is not the software at all, but the firmware that causes the photos to look the way they do. After all, it would seem that no matter which camera app I use, the photos all look the same, assuming that the phone is using default automatic settings, which is the way I do camera comparisons.
This is why OnePlus’s own Android ROM, OxygenOS, excited me. It promised new firmware for the device, which means an all-new camera. I compared it to the iPhone 6, as the iPhone 6 is becoming my control group for all of these updates to the OnePlus One’s software. I came to the conclusion that I liked the camera on CM11 05Q better, so now it’s time to see how the Google Camera app in OxygenOS stands up to CameraNextMod, also using OxygenOS.
Google Camera vs CameraNextMod: Rear Camera
When I compared Cyanogen Camera to ColorOS Camera, I didn’t include any nighttime shots or selfies, as both of those things are just fine on CM11. In fact, I regard the OnePlus One as having the best front camera on the market. This will not be the case here. We have a whole new camera so we’ll treat it like one.
Let’s look at some samples. To enlarge an image, simply click or tap on it. To view the full size image, there is a link in the carousel.
If you follow the camera comparisons that I do with the OnePlus One (and there are over 30 now), then you know that I’ve been looking for the perfect picture from the OnePlus One. We know the flash sucks (and PLEASE don’t message me asking me to make sure my finger’s not in front of the flash. I know how to use a fucking camera), but of all the apps and different firmwares I’ve tried, it was never quite…there.
I think I’ve finally found it. I think that the CameraNextMod app running on OxygenOS is it. When I compared Google Camera on OxygenOS to the iPhone 6, I found it to be closer to old school CyanogenMod than CM11 05Q with the camera improvements. They all seemed undersaturated. CameraNextMod seems to add that tiny bit of saturation to make the photos look great without oversaturation.
Another thing that I notice from a lot of Android cameras that I’ve never had a problem with on the OnePlus One (until OxygenOS) is glare. CameraNextMod doesn’t have the same glare that Google Camera brings. You can see that clearly in the blue flower that’s tenth down.
I think CameraNextMod on OxygenOS is the perfect photo from the OnePlus One. Further testing will be necessary and a comparison with the iPhone 6 may be warranted.
Google Camera vs CameraNextMod: Front Camera
I have always said that despite wherever the rear camera is at, the OnePlus One has the best front camera on the market. Many will claim that certain phones have a great camera, and they’re right, except it’s not great when you put it side by side with a number of its competitors. You can’t blame people for not having significant experience with the hundreds of other phones on the market. Phones are expensive, but I digress…
I’ve compared the OnePlus One to just about every phone that came out last year in the flagship range and I’ve never seen a better front camera. This includes the HTC Desire Eye and the HTC Desire 820.
When I compared the Google Camera app on OxygenOS to the iPhone 6, I felt that the front camera was good, great even, but not best in class great, as I had felt before. Let’s see if CameraNextMod works the same magic that it did on the rear camera.
Oh yea. Now that’s the creamy goodness I’ve come to expect from the OnePlus One’s front camera.
I didn’t do any video tests because OxygenOS doesn’t even support 4K video, a feature the OnePlus One is known for, so who gives a shit?
Coming up? Well, next up is comparing the Google Camera app on OxygenOS to ColorOS on OxygenOS. I’m planning to compare these photos from the CameraNextMod app to the iPhone 6, if time allows or more importantly, if readers ask for it, as I tend to do just about anything readers ask. Hell, I’m happy to do it.
This weekend I’m going to do some tests with the CM12 camera, so next week will be all about CM12. Don’t miss it. If you really don’t want to miss it, sign up for the daily mailing list. You won’t regret it.