OnePlus 9 Pro vs OnePlus 9 vs iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Samsung S21 Ultra Camera Comparison

Swapnil Mathur | Published on 28 Mar 2021
OnePlus 9 Pro vs OnePlus 9 vs iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Samsung S21 Ultra Camera Comparison
HIGHLIGHTS
  • The OnePlus 9 Pro and the OnePlus 9 come with Hasselblad branded cameras.

  • The OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9 feature 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor for the ultra-wide camera.

  • OnePlus still has some work to do on the camera app.

The Oneplus 9 Pro(₹ 64999 at amazon) and the OnePlus 9 have launched at an exciting time, with the company going through very fundamental changes. These changes do reflect in the products as well, where the ‘Flagship Killer’ moniker is now mostly retired. The OnePlus 9 Pro sits square in the flagship segment, both in terms of features and price, while the OnePlus 9 is a high-end smartphone, but still with a rather heft price tag. One of the biggest star features of the two phones is the Hasselblad collaboration which sees the camera manufacturer’s colour science be implemented in the OnePlus devices.

We went out with the two phones along with the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra to see just how good the new OnePlus camera stack was, or how far short would they fall from a truly flagship experience. We shot photos from all the available lenses on the cameras in order to evaluate each of their performance with respect to the competition. You can see our results in the video embedded below, but here are a few takeaways. Additionally, you can view all the original, high-resolution JPG files in our Flickr Gallery here.

Primary Camera

The OnePlus 9 Pro offers a 48 megapixel primary camera courtesy a custom Sony IMX789 sensor. Add to that Hasselblad tuning and we expect impressive results. However, when put next to the images from the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, the OnePlus images fall short in terms of dynamic range. The algorithm being employed by OnePlus prioritises high contrast, which in many situations, cases the shadow areas to get completely crushed and turn black.

Ultra Wide Camera

The 50 megapixel Sony IMX766 sensors on the OnePlus 9 Pro and the OnePlus 9 is the star of the show to be honest. The cameras have been tuned to eliminate distortion, which is done by cropping frame by a hair. This is where the 2 extra megapixels come in handy as they are the reason you don’t get a significant reduction in the focal length. The OnePlus images are once again subject to increased contrast taking a hit on its dynamic range. It is still an impressive output in terms of sharpness and colours, so hopefully, OnePlus can improve the tuning with the next update.

Telephoto Camera

The OnePlus 9 Pro sports a 3.3x hybrid telephoto lens while the OnePlus 9 doesn’t come with one. The Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max offers a 2.5x telephoto lens while the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra packs a 3x and 10x optical zoom lens. All four cameras have vastly differing outputs, but the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra remains unbeaten in this regard.

Auto Focus Performance

The AF system on all four cameras is incredibly impressive to say the least. They all operate at commendable speeds, but do show some stutter in tricky lighting conditions or in when shooting specific shades of red. All four smartphones are good at their jobs in both good light and low light, with the Samsung being a hair faster thanks to the use of dual-pixel AF being augmented by Laser AF.

Overall Conclusion

The OnePlus 9 Pro and the OnePlus 9 still have work to do on the camera tuning. The camera app is sluggish while shooting even in good light, sometimes causing key moments to get missed. Thankfully, whatever small limitations are present on the OnePlus 9 Pro and the OnePlus 9, can all be addressed via software updates. Their cameras don’t seem to suffer from any hardware related issues, which is a very good sign. Our video covers more aspects of the camera as well, so do make sure to check that out. We also recently published our display comparison between these four smartphones which we strongly feel you should check out.

Oneplus 9 Pro Key Specs, Price and Launch Date

Price:
Release Date: 23 Mar 2021
Variant: 128 GB/8 GB RAM , 256 GB/12 GB RAM
Market Status: Launched

Key Specs

  • Screen Size Screen Size
    6.7" (1440 x 3216)
  • Camera Camera
    48 + 8 + 50 + 2 | 16 MP
  • Memory Memory
    128 GB/8 GB
  • Battery Battery
    4500 mAh
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Swapnil Mathur

Digit's resident camera nerd, (un)official product photographer and the Reviews Editor

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