OnePlus 6T: everything about the photo camera.

Complete review of the OnePlus 6T camera with photo sessions and samples
The S drown by light on the back cover of OnePlus 6T

OnePlus 6T: everything about the photo camera.

Posted on Nov 6th, 2018

As the end of this year is getting close we get, as a sort of tradition,  the second flagship device of the year from OnePlus. The “T” version is usually an upgrade of the device that has been released on the market during the spring.

This OnePlus 6T camera review is always updated, with all the different photo sessions and materials related the OnePlus 6T camera.

OnePlus 6T camera specs

Main Sensor

SensorSony Exmor IMX519
Sensor Size1/2.5″ Pixel Dimension: 1,22 um
Resolution16 MP
Optical Image StabilizationYES

Secondary sensor

SensorSony Exmor IMX376K
Sensor Size1/2.7″ Pixel Dimension: 1,0 um
Resolution20 MP
Optical Image StabilizationNO

Reading about the camera specs of the OnePlus 6T, yes, there haven’t been any upgrade on the sensor side from the OnePlus 6. The hardware is exactly the same. But this doesn’t mean that there haven’t been some new feature and an improvement.
Let’s find more in this review.

OnePlus 6T new camera feature

Reading that the hardware is the same, let’s see what has changed from the software side, because yes, we’ve some new feature!

Nightscape

The Nightscape is the night mode from OnePlus. Is a kind of popular requests to the smartphone producers to be able to shot some good photos in low light.

In my opinion, the actual shooting mode is already doing a great job on the usual low light scene so that I don’t feel the need to have a special mode for it. Even more, having the Pro mode on the OnePlus 6T (and on the Huawei P20 Pro as well) we can work and set the exposure time and ISO as we prefer.

I know that some people are not so confident with the Pro Mode and using slow shutter speed need a dedicated stand or small tripod to achieve the shot.

So here’s when the Nighscape comes to rescue. Basically, during the exposure time of about 2 seconds, the camera took some different exposures that then it blend them together in a smart way.

The software blends correctly the shots to give a final “super” shot with enhanced low light advantages and low noise results.

I’ve to be honest with you. At this initial stage of implementation, I haven’t noticed so many differences between the normal camera mode and the Nightscape. The captured light seems almost the same and on some shots, I even got a bit darker image compared to the normal mode. In other situation instead, I got more details in the shadows, but in my opinion, the final result looks a bit too fake. To compensate this behaviour, on some Nightscape photos you need to add a bit contrast after the shot.

The point is that Nightscape is just on his initial release. I think OnePlus will work hard with our feedback to improve the algorithm and give a mode that will work correctly in every situation!

Tip: when using Nightscape, pay attention to the moving subject as people walking (as the above example), the cars and the wind in the trees since you can get some “ghosting” artifacts in the final shot.

Studio Lighting

This second new addition to the camera software is a bit controversial, at least for me. I wasn’t knowing about this enhancement until I saw online the presentation of the OnePlus 6T from NY.

Basically, the Studio Lighting is a software post-processing that applies only to the photos you shoot using the Portrait Mode (with the rear and front camera). I suppose it enhances the face brightness and eye light, balancing at the best the exposure. Is difficult to know exactly what is doing since there’s not an official statement from the company about this.

Let me only express a complain that I hope it will be addressed in the future OTA updates. I understand that is important to let everyone to achieve good results with photography, but on the same time, the users that are a bit more expert will prefer to control the light in their own way without any software tricks. For this, my suggestion will be just to add an On/Off selector on the portrait mode for this Studio Lighting enhancement.

Drag the center cursor to see the effect of the Studio Lighting in action. 

I think the studio lighting isn’t a bad idea, but my question is: why not let this option as a post-processing comand with some interactive slider to play with? (in the same way that is doing Apple and Huawei with their software).

New HDR algorithm (?)

Well, this is not a documented feature or something that OnePlus has announced. But doing a quite extensive test during the last two months I can say that I feel the company has changed something in the HDR algorithm. You can notice it in the shots you are going to do in the very high contrast situations. I have the feeling that now the camera is firing more shots and blend them together to achieve more details and highlights.

On the same time, and this I’ve noticed also on sample photos of the new devices as the Pixel 3 and iPhone XS / XR (soon on this blog the photo review), there are some situations in which this HDR is a bit too aggressive and tends to give a bit over detailed and saturated photos. 

About the OnePlus 6T hardware

Let’s talk now about the hardware of the new OnePlus 6T. The biggest changes compared to the OnePlus 6 we can summarise in three points:

  • Under the screen finger-print sensor
  • Bigger screen with smaller notch ever and thin chin.
  • Bigger Battery

Screen Unlock

So for the first time in a OnePlus device, we have the fingerprint scanner under the screen. How does it work? It works well! Yes don’t expect to be as fast as the one that was on the back of the previous device, but honestly, it’s a very good implementation!

I want also to point out that the speed of unlocking this in screen fingerprint is almost the same as the one I had on the iPhone 6/ 6T,  just to point out a comparison with something that until only some years ago was the point of reference in the market.

And let me share something unique that not so much other reviews can tell to you: working with the company with the prototype already for some months before the launch I could really enjoy the progress they did by every little update they constantly did in the period before the launch.

This just to tell you that it’s not only about the hardware, but also about the software that makes the thing to works correctly! And we could maybe get even better performance with future updates!

A useful tip: when you set the screen fingerprints scanner, scan your finger with the same angle you will then unlock the device. This will improve the speed and the success rate! 
Let also the device to learn your fingerprint, I feel there’s a sort of algorithm that improve the scanning with the time

I’ve to add that the face unlock is of course still here, is super fast and you can use it together with the screen fingerprint. (basically you use one or the other offcourse! ūüôā )

Bigger battery

The OnePlus 6t feature now a 3700mAh battery. Is a nice addition over the 3300mAh inside the OnePlus 6.

In my extensive test of the last weeks, when the final unit of the OnePlus 6T was delivered to me and I was able to use it fully every day, I can say that the device can stand a full heavy working day from 6 am to 12 pm without having to run off the battery. Using in a more “normal” way I could get easily two days of usage without a charge.

Beautiful screen with thin bazel

The OnePlus 6T feature one of the smallest notch out there. It’s amazing how they could improve the screen getting a thinner chin without getting the device bigger than the previous version.

The screen is still a beautiful Amoled panel, with a resolution of 1080×2340 px. The screen is, as always crisp with vivid color with a very good maximum brightness.

You can set also the color profile from the Oxygen Os. For instance, I’ve set my devices to the DCI-P3 color space that get a bit warmer white point and would balance better the color with the iPad and other devices that uses the same color space.

The back cover design

This is something not new to the OnePlus 6T, but I could notice more now that I got the Mightnight Black compared to the Mirror Black of the OnePlus 6 I own. Basically, and I could find it only photographing the back with a macro lens, the back cover glass material is composed of a series of microlens that apply a curvature to the light when it pass directrly on it. 

Under a strong direct light the effect is clearly visible and very innovative!

The removed parts

Let’s talk a moment about the removed parts. One of the most talked, was the removing of the audio jack. Yes, this is a trend that started with Apple on the iPhone 7 and slowly got almost every producer.

Let me say that for me this is not a problem. Bluetooth headphones are a reality for years and I own already two of them. Even if you want to use your old jack headphone you will find in the box an adaptor so you will still be able to use them.

Removing the Jack port allowed OnePlus to get more space inside the phone to improve the battery and get the space for the screen fingerprint scanner.

There’s another small remove compared to the OnePlus 6: the notification led. This honestly got me a bit more frustrated that the removal of the audio jack, ’cause I think that the notification led was something very unique to Android (Apple never had that) and in some way, they could work out to create the space for this small led on the top of the front-facing camera. But I’m not a product engineer so I can’t judge the hardware decisions.

OnePlus 6T, is it worth or not? 

The question may arise since the internal hardware is the same as the OnePlus 6 with the Snapdragon 845 with 6/8 Gbyte Ram and 128/256 Gbyte of archive space. The differences I’ve pointed up in the hardware section is more about the bigger screen in the same form factor, the under the screen fingerprint scanner and especially the bigger battery.

For me the OnePlus 6T is the first product that OnePlus has created for the international wide market to open with strong sells in the U.S.

The partnership with T-Mobile is for sure aimed in this direction, so there’s a lot of new possible customers that will buy their first OnePlus phone and they will get the best device that the Shenzhen company have ever produced.

Final Considerations about OnePlus 6T camera over the tech specs

My final consideration is that the OnePlus 6T, as every “T” iteration, is the best upgrade ever. The company has been able to improve the screen and the enlarge the battery adding something unique as the under the screen fingerpring unlock.

Pointing at the camera hardware side, my final thoughts aren’t so different to the one I’ve expressed on the OnePlus 6 camera review.

On the other way there’s something more going under the hood. Something that is not tangible maybe as count of MP on the tech specs.

OnePlus, from the voice of his CEO Pete Lau, has recently expressed on the forum his approach to photography:

“This is all part of a broader initiative to make the image-making process more direct, simple, and intuitive. The goal, as always, is to allow users to create incredible images more easily. In a past deep-dive, I talked at length about honest design. That concept extends to the camera on the OnePlus 6T.”

In the other way, getting the artist / photographer Kevin Abosch in the team will help to get a different vision than only some artists can give. I think this will be a good thing for everyone, and I put myself first since I’ve still a lot of things to learn! 

An “unconventional” (at least for me) portrait I’ve shot with the OnePlus 6T. Sometimes photography has to look over the perfect “beautiful” image.

If there’s something that will improve more your photography, this is not the new sensor or the higher MP count, but the inspiration from life, travels and experience of every form of art that you can find around. 

About all the other feature of the OnePlus 6T camera

Since the OnePlus 6T and the OnePlus 6 shares the same hardware, all the other feature as the slow motion video, Pro-Mode and so on are exactly the same in the past on the OnePlus 6. For this reason, I suggest you to have a look also at my OnePlus 6 review!

OnePlus referral code

This is my link of the OnePlus referral Code.

Basically it works in this way: if you want to buy a new OnePlus device, using the above like you will get 20‚ā¨ / 20$ to use them for any accessory you want to add to your device.  

Download OnePlus 6T full resolution photo samples

I want to share with you some full resolution photos shot with OnePlus 6T. These files cover a bit all the aspect of the review, from the Nightscape mode, to the portrait and HDR.

Note: the photos are given as an example only and must not be shared or publish on the social networks without pointing to the original source.
Any abuse will be prosecuted by the copyright law.

Previous OnePlus camera review

If you are curious to read and see other photos I’ve shot with the previous OnePlus devices, you can check my reviews:

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