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OnePlus 9 Pro vs OnePlus 8 Pro vs OnePlus 7 Pro: Camera evolution comparison


Ever since its inception, OnePlus has probably experienced the most profound paradigm shift: what started as a company that aimed to disrupt our concepts of how much a contemporary flagship should cost has these days become a part of the cabal that runs the premium-priced flagship game. That’s especially true for the OnePlus 9 Pro, which is a boundary-pushing device that ticks all the boxes, but we shouldn’t forget that a slightly more affordable OnePlus was also announced alongside the OnePlus 9 Pro, and that’s none other than the OnePlus 9. With a lower price tag and a couple of corners cut in comparison with the flagship device, the OnePlus 9 is still an appealing choice that has to make its way through the iPhone/Galaxy crowd.

And one of the main highlights of the OnePlus 9 Pro is its reworked camera experience, which aims to fix some of the wrongs that have been plaguing the OnePlus flagship lineup, namely the not so great color resolve. In comparison with Galaxies and iPhones, which should probably be considered the benchmark for camera prowess, OnePlus devices almost always produced pictures with slightly reddish and pinkish tones that haven’t been received well by neither reviewers nor average OnePlus consumers, which is probably the reason why the company took the partnership with Hasselblad so seriously.
To summarize the evolution of the camera of the new OnePlus 9 Pro, we have come up with a quick camera comparison with the OnePlus 7T Pro and OnePlus 8 Pro to show the differences in terms of image quality.

Scene 1

Some pretty stark color differences starting from the get-go! You might think these three photos were taken some time apart, but I assure you, they were all taken within a minute. Yet, some pretty stark contrasts can be drawn between the three pictures of this building with the colorful sunset seeping in the background. The OnePlus 7T Pro has bet on the slightly colder, purple hues that are great by themselves, but the newer phones have done a better job at capturing a more realistic sunset.

Scene 2

Turns out it’s hard to make a baby strike a pose for longer than 10 seconds, but somehow I managed to cope. This is another instance in which we notice a stark difference in color rendition. In this portrait scene, the OnePlus 9 Pro has produced the most realistic and true-to-life picture. It’s awesome, but interestingly enough, I personally like the OnePlus 8 Pro much more as the extra warmth adds so much character to the photo, despite that it’s not that color accurate. There’s also some noticeable separation artifacts visible, but even that’s not enough to sway me away. As far as the OnePlus 7T Pro is concerned, it has mostly failed to produce a portrait image with a blurred background.

Scene 3

Time to enable The OnePlus 9 Pro hasn’t done such a good job in this scene – it’s a bit lifeless and drab. The OnePlus 7T Pro and 8 Pro have done a much better job at capturing a lovely image, and the OnePlus 7T Pro might as well be my favorite. Have in mind that all photos were taken with the Nightscape mode explicitly enabled.

Scene 4

The OnePlus 9 Pro is, to me, a clear winner in this scene. And not because of the color rendition, but because of the detail that simply stands out. Despite the slight difference in framing, the OnePlus 9 Pro looks much better to me than its predecessors, though in all honesty the differences aren’t that big at all, which can be viewed two ways. On one hand, this bodes well for the OnePlus 7T Pro which keeps its ground against its successors, but on the other hand it clearly shows that the OnePlus 9 Pro introduces improvements in the key areas that matter. 

Scene 5

There isn’t much difference in overall camera quality in selfies. The OnePlus 9 Pro has a bit more clarity and definition, but that’s as much as it offers over its predecessors. Then again, isn’t that enough to warrant generational improvement? I think it does, and as far as selfie cameras are concerned, it’s enough of an improvement.

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