iPhone 11 Pro and OnePlus 8 Pro cameras compared: OnePlus has a lot to live up to – CNET


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How do these two powerful camera phones compare?


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Before the OnePlus Nord, there was the OnePlus 8 Pro. Along with its silky blue finish, the phone packs a multicamera setup that includes a standard zoom, a super wide-angle lens and a 3x zoom. It impressed Lynn La in her full OnePlus 8 Pro review, but how does this camera system stack up against the iPhone 11 Pro, one of the best phone cameras around? 

The 11 Pro has a similar camera setup, which also includes a standard zoom, a super wide-angle lens and a 2x zoom. The camera on this phone has seriously impressed me — it even replaced my DSLR on a recent road trip around Scotland — so the OnePlus 8 Pro has a lot to live up to here.

OnePlus 8 Pro vs. iPhone 11 Pro camera specs

OnePlus 8 Pro iPhone 11 Pro
Camera 48-megapixel main, 8-megapixel telephoto, 48-megapixel ultra-wide, 5-megapixel ‘color filter’ 12-megapixel f/1.8 (wide), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (telephoto)
Front-facing camera 16-megapixel 12-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K
Slow motion video 240fps, 1080p 240fps, 1080p
Portrait mode Yes Yes
Night mode Yes Yes
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Apple A13 Bionic

The coronavirus lockdown meant it was tricky to get out and do my usual full suite of tests, but I found the odd moment while taking my daily walks to get some quick snaps for comparison.

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OnePlus 8 Pro standard lens.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

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iPhone 11 Pro standard lens.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

In these first test shots, taken in Edinburgh’s beautiful Dean Village, there’s not much to differentiate the photos taken from the phones’ standard lenses. Both have natural-looking colors and both have achieved even exposures. There’s tons of detail on the brickwork on both images when zoomed in, too. The iPhone photo might just have the edge for me though as it’s got a slightly richer blue sky and a touch more vibrance from the orange tones in the buildings on the left. It’s a tiny difference though and mostly comes down to personal preference. 

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OnePlus 8 Pro wide lens.


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iPhone 11 Pro wide lens.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

There’s a more noticeable color shift when using the wide-angle lenses. While the iPhone 11 Pro’s shot maintains that rich blue sky, the OnePlus 8 Pro’s shot has warmed the scene a bit more, which has reduced some of the vibrancy in the sky. Again, it’s not a big difference and it might just come down to a shift in the white balance between taking the two photos. 

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OnePlus 8 Pro wide lens.


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iPhone 11 Pro wide lens.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The difference is much the same in this wide-angle shot. The iPhone has captured a deeper blue in the sky, as well as a richer tone on the bridge itself. 

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OnePlus 8 Pro wide lens.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

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iPhone 11 Pro wide lens.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Another test of the wide lens, with similar results. Notice the depth of color in the blue sky in the iPhone’s shot, as well as the deep greens on the grass on the riverbank. In this example, it’s more obvious that iPhone 11 Pro has richer contrast and saturation. That said, exposure on both shots remains excellent, and up close, there’s almost no difference in the fine details. 

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OnePlus 8 Pro 3x zoom.


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iPhone 11 Pro 2x zoom.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The most noticeable difference between the two zoom modes is that the OnePlus 8 Pro can go further. It has a 3x zoom lens, which will let you get close in on the details than you could with the iPhone’s 2x zoom. The difference isn’t vast — it’s not like using the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 100x “space zoom” — but it could be enough to help you get the shot if you can’t get close enough to your subject. 

There’s still a noticeable shift in colors and contrast in the shot, but neither shot is spot on. The OnePlus 8 Pro again looks a little desaturated, with a slight magenta shift to the color tone, while the iPhone 11 Pro seems to have shifted more towards the green, giving a different color cast altogether. 

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OnePlus 8 Pro 3x zoom.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

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iPhone 11 Pro 2x zoom.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

In this zoom test however, the colors in both shots are almost identical. They’re similar images, but I’d say in this example, the OnePlus 8 Pro might have the richer contrast. It has the bigger zoom, so again it’s allowed me to get closer into my subject than I could with the iPhone. 

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OnePlus 8 Pro standard lens.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

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iPhone 11 Pro standard lens.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Another similar shot from the standard zoom lenses on each phone. Exposure is spot on and there’s not a lot of difference in contrast either. The OnePlus 8 Pro has shifted its colors toward the magenta side, while the iPhone’s lean a little more on the green, but it’s a difference that’s so small it likely won’t matter and will again come down to your personal preference. 

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OnePlus 8 Pro standard lens.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

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iPhone 11 Pro standard lens.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It’s difficult to pick a strong winner from these two shots of a woodland pathway. The iPhone’s shot is brighter but the OnePlus’s attempt looks more saturated, with richer tones particularly on the dirt path. Personally, I prefer the OnePlus 8 Pro’s image. 

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OnePlus 8 Pro night mode.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

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iPhone 11 Pro night mode.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Turning to night mode now and it’s clear the iPhone 11 Pro has the edge here. Its shot is more crisp, it’s brighter in the sky and the OnePlus 8 Pro’s shot seems to be suffering from lens flare from a nearby streetlight, which spoils the shot — something the iPhone has avoided. 

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OnePlus 8 Pro night mode.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

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iPhone 11 Pro night mode.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

That lens flare in night mode continues to be an issue here, with the OnePlus 8 Pro’s shot looking like there’s a big orange patch in the left side of the image. The iPhone’s photo doesn’t have the same issue, resulting in a better-looking image.

Overall I’m impressed with how well the OnePlus 8 Pro performed in this test, particularly given its cheaper price tag. While it doesn’t consistently provide the same rich colors as the iPhone, it still manages to take some great-looking shots with spot-on exposure. It takes the win when it comes to zoom ability, but If you’re particularly into your night mode images, the iPhone is still the way to go.



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