By Rich W Woods
It has been a long road thus far. Way back in September, I compared the OnePlus One camera to the iPhone 6 Plus. It was before I really started doing a lot of more extensive camera comparisons, so I followed it up a few months later with a comparison of the OnePlus One and the iPhone 6.
The OnePlus One provided poor, washed out photos. Later, OnePlus pushed out an update, CM11 05Q, that promised camera improvements and delivered. I gave the OnePlus One a rematch against the iPhone 6 and the results were a lot better. A trend began. The iPhone 6 was my control group. While firmware and software continued to change on the OnePlus One, the iPhone 6 remained the same, allowing us to gauge the changes that came on the OnePlus One.
When the OnePlus One was finally updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop, there were two different ROMs that users could update to. The first was OxygenOS, so it was the first that I tested. Since the iPhone 6 was the only phone that I had compared the OnePlus One to on every incarnation of its firmware, it seemed fitting to write yet another comparison of the iPhone 6 and the OnePlus One.
I spent all of last week and the first day of this week writing camera comparisons with OxygenOS and came to two solid conclusions: 1) CameraNextMod is a MUCH better camera app on OxygenOS than the stock Google Camera app, and 2) no one gives a shit about OxygenOS. Seriously, half of the comments I received on the OxygenOS camera comparisons were “When are you going to do CM12?” It really makes you wonder who is going to adopt the OnePlus Two.
iPhone 6 vs OnePlus One: Rear Camera
It’s been awhile since we actually went over the pros and cons of each camera. The OnePlus One has a higher resolution at 13 MP, allowing for less loss when zooming or cropping. On the other hand, the iPhone 6 has the lower resolution at 8 MP, allowing for larger pixels, less noise, and a faster camera.
The OnePlus One has a larger aperture than the iPhone 6 at f/2, allowing more light to enter the lens, which should bring better low light performance; however, the larger pixels from the iPhone 6 would do the same.
The OnePlus One records 4K video, although after about eight minutes, it tells you that you’ve reached the maximum file size and shuts down your video. On the other hand, the iPhone 6 records 1080p video at 60 frames per second.
Both phones have digital image stabilization. The iPhone 6 has phase detection autofocus, which is a huge boon to the camera. I own about 10-15 smart phones at any given time and the iPhone 6 is the fastest phone to focus that I have ever seen.
In the earlier days of the OnePlus One when all of the images looked washed out, many would tell me how great the camera is “if you know how to use it”. In fact, there have been numerous forum posts and blog posts on the subject. I tried Clear Image, Smart Scene, HDR, and the various recommended camera apps as well.
The fact is that it doesn’t matter. We’re not talking about a DSLR or even a point and shoot here. We’re talking about a smart phone camera, where 99% of users are just going to open their camera app of choice, maybe tap to focus, and tap the shutter button. That is something that Apple has mastered with the iPhone.
Because Apple’s goal is for the user to simply be able to open the Camera app and snap a picture, the OnePlus One has a ton of features in the CM Camera app that the iPhone does not have. For one thing, CM Camera supported saving RAW files before it was cool and an API in Android 5.0 Lollipop. Other features include various manual settings. I’d write them all down but currently I’m running a battery test on my OnePlus One to test CM12.
So let’s look at some samples. Please note that in order to enlarge an image, simply click or tap on it. If you’re viewing this on a non-touchscreen PC, do not tap it. All you will get is a fingerprint on your screen. To view the full size image, there is a link in the carousel.
|OnePlus One||iPhone 6|
I have to say I’m disappointed in the OnePlus One. With the exception of just a couple photos where the iPhone 6 looks oversaturated, the iPhone 6 outperforms the OnePlus One in every way.
Low light is ever so slightly better with the iPhone 6 and it’s miles better with the flash. Also, please don’t ask me if I was holding my finger by the flash. I know how to use a fucking smart phone camera. The flash on the OnePlus One just sucks. It always has. Go check out the OnePlus One photo archives if you don’t believe me.
Other than that, the colors look washed out in the photos taken with the OnePlus One. Look at the seventh one down. It’s the purple flowers that look like they’re white with a tint of lavender with the OnePlus One.
I feel like they’ve changed the camera here, and not for the better.
OnePlus One vs iPhone 6: Front Camera
Throughout the OnePlus One’s many stages of firmware and software, one thing has remained the same. I have always felt that the OnePlus One has the best front camera on the market. It’s not due to resolution. You can look at camera comparisons between the OnePlus One and the HTC Desire Eye, which has a 13 MP front camera, or the HTC Desire 820, which has an 8 MP front camera, or even phones with other 5 MP front cameras, such as the HTC One M8 or Nokia Lumia 735.
The iPhone 6 also has a pretty great front camera. I’ve never considered it to be quite on the same level as the OnePlus One, but it’s definitely up there.
I think the winner on the front camera is the OnePlus One. It’s really second to none.
Next up, I’ll compare the CM Camera app in CM12 to the ColorOS Camera app, and I’ll finally be done with OnePlus One camera comparisons for Android 5.0 Lollipop. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m done with OnePlus One camera comparisons. I’ve got 30 done and counting. Hopefully by next week, I’ll have a OnePlus One vs Samsung Galaxy S6 comparison done. If you don’t want to miss it, sign up for the mailing list in the left sidebar. I promise, you get one email a day at 5 PM eastern time Monday through Friday. No more, no less. Well, maybe one on the weekend if something interesting happens.