OnePlus 5t vs iPhone X vs Google Pixel 2 Lowlight

A lowlight test between the top end 2017 smartphones
OnePlus 5t iPhone X Google Pixel 2 lowlight photography

OnePlus 5t vs iPhone X vs Google Pixel 2 Lowlight

Posted on Mar 19, 2018

With this blog post, we are going to see how the OnePlus5t, the iPhone X and the Google Pixel 2 performs in low light.

Low light photography is always a challenge: it’s where usually you can notice how the best smartphone camera performs and how each producer tries a different approach to get the best out of these small sensors.

Following my first test of the OnePlus 5t vs iPhone X vs Google Pixel 2 on daylight photography, here we are going to look  now at the low light side of the story.

First of all, let’s start saying that here each producer tries to achieve good low light photos using different technologies: OnePlus 5T has embraced the way to use a secondary sensor to be able to push the performance in low light while Apple iPhone X and Google Pixel 2 use an algorithm approach. In particular, the solution of the Google Pixel 2 with the HDR+ technologies seams on the paper the best one to get excellent photos in low light.

How I shot this lowlight smartphones camera comparison?

For this OnePlus 5t vs iPhone X vs Google Pixel 2 on lowlight photography test, I’ve used the camera of each device at the default settings.

I’ve let each camera app to get the right exposure just facing the device to the scene I had to photograph. I haven’t used any tripod and I haven’t post processed the photos.

The test was held during a (cold) early morning in Florence. I started to take the photos without any light from the sun and then little by little, you will see the contribution of the sunlight in the pictures below.

OnePlus 5t vs iPhone X vs Google Pixel 2 lowlight photography test
OnePlus 5T Low Light Photography Detail
iPhone X Low Light Photography Detail
Google Pixel 2 Low Light Photography Detail

Looking at the first shot we can notice that the OnePlus 5T big missing, the optical image stabilization, force the device to use a higher shutter speed and, in consequence, also a higher Iso value.

It’s impressive how Apple iPhone X is quite confident to use a 1/4 sec of exposure time and we get a well-balanced shot without any blur.  I remind you that the photos have been taken without any tripod.

OnePlus 5t vs iPhone X vs Google Pixel 2 lowlight photography test
OnePlus 5T Low Light Photography Detail
iPhone X Low Light Photography Detail
Google Pixel 2 Low Light Photography Detail
OnePlus 5T Low Light Photography Detail
iPhone X Low Light Photography Detail
Google Pixel 2 Low Light Photography Detail

This shot is the darkest of the series I’ve got during that early morning. We can notice again how the OnePlus 5T is forced to use ISO 3200 to get the correct exposure while the iPhone X uses ISO 125 and the Google Pixel 2 ISO 555.

Looking at the details of the photo, the best one balanced and clean is the one from the Google Pixel 2. The noise average from the Google’s HDR+ seams to be effective to get clean pictures in low light.

OnePlus 5t vs iPhone X vs Google Pixel 2 lowlight photography test
OnePlus 5T Low Light Photography Detail
iPhone X Low Light Photography Detail
Google Pixel 2 Low Light Photography Detail

For this shot, looking at the details we can say that Google Pixel 2 has a slight advantage over the iPhone X and the OnePlus 5T, but the difference isn’t so huge.

Talking about the color of the red signboard in the picture, I prefer the stronger saturation we get from the OnePlus 5t and iPhone X, but this is a matter of personal taste.

OnePlus 5t vs iPhone X vs Google Pixel 2 lowlight photography test
OnePlus 5T Low Light Photography Detail
iPhone X Low Light Photography Detail
Google Pixel 2 Low Light Photography Detail

For this shot, we have a clear winner: the iPhone X. The photo shoot with the Apple device is more luminous but also more vivid in the colors of this early sunrise Florence’s city.

OnePlus 5t vs iPhone X vs Google Pixel 2 lowlight photography test
OnePlus 5T Low Light Photography Detail
iPhone X Low Light Photography Detail
Google Pixel 2 Low Light Photography Detail

With this next photo comparison, it’s interesting I’ve got a very rare fault of the multiexposure blend from the OnePlus 5t device: as you can notice in the detail I’ve some multi-exposed seagulls in the sky.

This defect is not present in the iPhone X shot. Strange enough, the Google Pixel 2 photo looks a bit with less sharpness compared to the other two phones.

OnePlus 5t vs iPhone X vs Google Pixel 2 lowlight photography test
OnePlus 5T Low Light Photography Detail
iPhone X Low Light Photography Detail
Google Pixel 2 Low Light Photography Detail

As the previous shot facing the early light of the sunrise, we can say that the shot from the iPhone X has slight more brightness and more vivid colors compared to the one from the OnePlus 5T and the Google Pixel 2.

OnePlus 5t vs iPhone X vs Google Pixel 2 lowlight photography test
OnePlus 5T Low Light Photography Detail
iPhone X Low Light Photography Detail
Google Pixel 2 Low Light Photography Detail

Getting bit more light from the sun that is slowing rising in the city, we can notice how the OnePlus 5T starts to improve the performance.

For this shot, the OnePlus 5T is able to achieve a better and more vivid color reproduction compared to the iPhone X. The results of the Google Pixel 2 is in line with the OnePlus 5t.

OnePlus 5t vs iPhone X vs Google Pixel 2 lowlight photography test
OnePlus 5T Low Light Photography Detail
iPhone X Low Light Photography Detail
Google Pixel 2 Low Light Photography Detail

At this point in the morning, the sun starts to get its light through the small roads of the city center.

It’s interesting to notice how the Google’s HDR+ algorithm in this situation is even too much careful: we get a too much blue saturated sky that is far from the scene I was facing. On the other side, the iPhone X tend to blow up too much the details and we get an overexposed portion over the house buildings. The OnePlus 5T is the one that balances this shot at the best.

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