Increasingly, our phones are the only cameras we own, and their imaging capabilities have skyrocketed in the last few years. More cameras, more angles, more megapixels, more zoom: every manufacturer is racing to be the king of smartphone photography. But hardware isn't everything, and if there's one thing we've learned from years of OnePlus phones, it's that the company hasn't always been at the head of the pack when it comes to snaps. But OnePlus has made slow but steady progress, adding new hardware and software enhancements with each release. Its latest top-of-the-line is the OnePlus 8 Pro, which sports four camera sensors on the back. As the price creeps up into traditional flagship territory, you might be wondering how OP's imaging performance matches up. We've got plenty of samples comparing the OnePlus 8 Pro to the Pixel 4 and Galaxy S20 Ultra to help answer that question.

Outdoors

Let's start with easier outdoor shots, all of which were captured with the default photo mode. They're all in the same order from left to right: OnePlus 8 Pro, Pixel 4 XL, Galaxy S20 Ultra.

  

Left to right: OnePlus 8 Pro, Pixel 4 XL, Galaxy S20 Ultra.

In the "nature" shots, you can begin to see some of the processing differences among these phones. Google produces slightly more even tones that don't pop as much, but that's an accurate depiction of the scene. Both Samsung and OnePlus amp up the colors, and OnePlus' contrast is also noticeably higher. The natural color palette doesn't afford anyone the opportunity to push colors too out of whack, so the differences are negligible.

 

 

 

Left to right: OnePlus 8 Pro, Pixel 4 XL, Galaxy S20 Ultra.

The urban outdoor shots are particularly telling. Look at how the Pixel photos are somewhat dim compared to the others. At the same time, it grabs a lot of shadow detail. Again, that's realistic. OnePlus' images have a strong HDR vibe that isn't very realistic, but they look nice—all set for Instagram. Samsung's photos have some pumped up colors, but the overall effect looks a bit flat, and the processing can blur fine details.

Telephoto (4x zoom)

We decided to test all three devices at 4x zoom because that's the S20 Ultra's minimum value. That does give Samsung a natural advantage, but it's not a blowout.

 

 

Left to right: OnePlus 8 Pro, Pixel 4 XL, Galaxy S20 Ultra.

The pumped-up colors and contrast aren't as evident in OnePlus' telephoto shots. In fact, a lot of them look a bit hazy—that's particularly obvious in the middle photo set. Hopefully, this is something that can be addressed in software. Meanwhile, Google nails the exposure and gets a surprising amount of detail for having just 2x optical zoom. Samsung's shots have no digital zoom, so they tend to have more detail overall. Colors are second to Google, though.

Indoors and low-light

 

  

Left to right: OnePlus 8 Pro, Pixel 4 XL, Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Inside, OnePlus remains competitive with Google and Samsung. Both OnePlus and Google produce accurate colors, but OnePlus boost the HDR a bit more. Samsung maintains acceptable levels of detail in good light, but the white balance is a bit off compared to OP and Google.

 

Left to right: OnePlus 8 Pro, Pixel 4 XL, Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Google's impressive image processing keeps its low-light shots looking great with accurate colors and a lot of detail. OnePlus doesn't do a bad job, and the boosted colors and contrast might be to your liking. OnePlus does have some issues with constancy, which are more apparent in low light. Meanwhile, Samsung's image processing obliterates a lot of detail and produces muted colors.