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The OnePlus 8T comes with a slew of great features including 5G, superfast charging and a lovely display. But it’s the cameras on the back that I’m most interested in, so I was excited to get the phone in my hand and take it on a walk through the orange leaves of Edinburgh in the fall.
The 8T has four cameras: a 48-megapixel main camera, a 16-megapixel super wide angle, a 5-megapixel macro camera for close up shots, and an additional monochrome sensor for black and white photos. TL;DR: It can take great shots with the main and wide camera modes, but the black and white sensor is pointless and macro images don’t look good. Read on for more information and to see my test images.
Using the standard camera lens in its default mode, I’m impressed by the phone’s ability to balance bright highlights and shadows (the auto-HDR mode is helpful, apparently). Colors are rich and vibrant and the images are packed with detail.
Switching to the wide-angle lens, I’m again pleased to see a good handle on exposure. While I think the colors look more muted than with the normal lens, the white balance has shifted. It’s a wide view that makes it easy to capture a huge amount of the scene in front of you.
OnePlus 8T monochrome mode
One of the new additions to the 8T’s camera setup is a monochrome sensor. Interestingly, the image is still taken with the main camera sensor, but the mono sensor apparently captures more light and shadow detail, allowing for better-looking black and white images.
The mono images the phone produces are decent. The highlights and shadows are balanced and there’s a pleasing amount of detail overall. The problem I have is that the mode feels redundant: The shots are no better than you’d be able to achieve by editing your photos in a free app like Snapseed or using the software-based black-and-white modes the phone already provides. We’ve seen dedicated monochrome sensors before on phones such as Huawei’s 2016 P9. They don’t tend to stick around long — Huawei ditched it after the P20 Pro. Personally, I don’t think it adds any extra photographic value here.
Disappointing macro mode
The phone’s 5-megapixel macro lens lets you focus much closer on objects than you’d usually be able to do. In theory, it’s a great way of capturing tiny details on things like flowers and insects, but in practice, the 8T’s macro shots don’t impress.
Details are so mushy that I wouldn’t even want to upload these images to a Facebook album, let alone have them printed out to display. If you’re interested in macro photography, this lens won’t cut it. Instead, you should look at using external macro lenses such as those offered by Moment (an 8T-compatible lens case is expected) and OlloClip. You can read our guide on how to take macro shots with your phone to see how these images can look.
The OnePlus 8T can take some great shots with either its main lens or its ultra-wide. For the majority of your snapping, it’ll do great. But I do find the monochrome sensor an odd and redundant addition, and I’m not impressed with the macro mode. Given that those are two key features of the camera setup, I can’t help but feel disappointed with the camera package as a whole.