Typically, a foldable phone’s best feature isn’t its camera. For the first few generations at least, OEMs have tended to concentrate on making Android appear beautiful on a large screen, smoothing out the creases, and shrinking down the hardware. They don’t begin updating the cameras until after that. However, because it was co-developed with OPPO, a business that is well-versed in the foldables rat race, OnePlus’s new Open feels like it was born on third base.
Because of this, OnePlus bypassed a large portion of the first learning curve and launched into a well-tuned setup that ranks among the finest foldable phones. But is its camera good enough to hold the title of best foldable phone photography? After using the phone for a while, I have a lot of opinions about the OnePlus Open camera suite that I need to share. Our comprehensive review is still being worked on.
Pile upon pile upon pile (of sensors)
As previously stated, OnePlus and OPPO worked together to build the OnePlus Open, a foldable smartphone. Co-developed refers to the fact that both gadgets are identical, with minor variations in color and branding. OnePlus has a big advantage with its first-generation foldable, especially when it comes to the cameras. We can debate who was responsible for what aspects of the foldable another time.
The camera hump on the back of the OnePlus Open is really noticeable. At least aesthetically, the large circular bulge appears to have been taken straight from the rear of OPPO’s Find X6 Pro flagship, which is exclusive to China. It also sports three high-resolution lenses. OnePlus made Sony’s recently released LYTIA LYT-T808 the main attraction, fitting 48MP into the 1/1.43-inch sensor. It is supported by a 48MP Sony IMX581 ultrawide camera with a 114-degree field of view and a 64MP OmniVision OV64B telephoto sensor with 3x optical zoom. The substantial bulge is filled with 1/2-inch sensors by both periphery lenses.
By working together with OPPO, OnePlus was able to avoid most of the hardware trial and error associated with foldable cameras.
There are good selfie lenses on the OnePlus Open as well. The punch hole selfie cameras have plenty of power, and you can use the rear trio in the same way as any other foldable phone. Although the 20MP resolution on the internal display isn’t as sharp as the 32MP option on the cover display, OnePlus refers to this as its primary selfie camera. The individual pixels in the cover display selfie camera are the same size, but the sensor is somewhat larger. In any case, the Galaxy Z Fold series’ under-display option ought to be surpassed by the selfie alternatives.
It’s easy to see where OnePlus has an advantage over nearly every other foldable device on the market: sheer megapixels. Naturally, we’ve stated repeatedly that the size of your sensor and processing power are more important when designing an excellent camera phone than megapixels. Let’s now discuss the special primary sensor of the Open.
How do LYTIA and IMX vary from one other?
For a long, leading smartphones have been using Sony’s IMX camera sensors. Because of their size—nearly an inch—and strength, brands continue to trust them. But the principal sensor on the OnePlus Open is made by LYTIA rather than IMX. What then makes a difference?
In other words, Sony’s LYTIA sensors are comparatively new, and they feature an upgraded stacked sensor design that uses a smaller sensor to catch a large amount of light. Although stacked sensors are not brand-new, the LYTIA LYT-T808 employs a unique dual-layer construction to keep the photodiodes and pixel transistors apart. The full-well capacity is increased and the sensor is able to use space more effectively thanks to this layered setup.
The LYTIA LYT-T808 has a full-well capacity (FWC) index of 40,000e, to go even more technical. This indicates that before getting saturated, it can hold 40,000 electrons per pixel. In contrast, the FWC indexes of the most potent 1-inch sensors available today are approximately 48,000e. Yes, there is still a gap, however it is much smaller with the 1/1.43-inch LYT-T808 sensor. Comparing the improved light capture to smaller IMX-branded sensors, such as the IMX890 found in the OnePlus 11, is even more evident. With an FWC index of just 16,500e, the significantly smaller 1/1.5-inch sensor has less capacity than the LYT-T808.
Of course, having excellent hardware is not the only factor in a camera. Obtaining useable photos typically depends just as much on precise post-processing. I won’t say that the Open has all the same camera gimmicks or is quite as adept at post-processing as the Pixel Fold, but OnePlus appears to have learned from Google’s mistakes. The Open saves its final output until after you push the shutter, in a manner similar to how you can take a picture with a Pixel device and then navigate to your camera roll to watch it develop.
Although photos don’t always appear amazing through the Open’s viewfinder, they usually process quite nicely after the fact. That is to say, once your picture has been taken, OnePlus does not apply its ProXDR treatment, which is akin to HDR brightening. I find that I usually leave ProXDR on, but you can easily turn it on and off in the Photos app to see your photo with and without the effect.
But every once in a while, the delayed processing irritates me. I don’t want to open the Photos app to make sure I got the shot if I need to take a fast, trustworthy picture. A preview that resembles the finished piece a little more would be preferable to a result that is far better than my original composition. Not only is Google’s Tensor-powered processing wheel frequently slow, but OnePlus isn’t the only company I have complaints about; the Open is currently the object of my wrath.
Now, for what everyone has been waiting for: the OnePlus Open camera samples are finally here. In our comprehensive review, we will delve further into samples of various shapes and sizes, but these are some of the photos I took during my first use of the product. A variety of day and night photos in both landscape and portrait orientations are included. I won’t go into every single detail, but a few general themes are worth mentioning.
To begin with, the primary camera on the OnePlus Open produces incredibly detailed images. It is simple to distinguish the petals on the mums’ bush on the right, and every tiny scribble on the sticker in the center is evident. Additionally, it appears that OnePlus perfectly captured the twisted pink tree in the bottom row, maintaining distinct limbs without going overboard with the reds or greens.
One of my first pictures with the OnePlus Open was of the buoys on the left, and it set a very high standard for me. Although the ProXDR treatment on the Open itself has more pop than this version, it still has good detail in the wood and a lovely fall-off as you approach the crab traps in the backdrop. A similar story is told by the nighttime scene of the reflecting pool on the right, which gives up its neon blue punch after the OnePlus Open is removed.
Despite the fact that I have more photos of YouTubers and other tech journalists in portrait mode than I would like to admit, the OnePlus Open performed admirably in challenging lighting circumstances. Despite the intense overhead lighting, you can still clearly out Nick Gray’s jacket collar and the left part of his face on Phandroid. Though it seems to have captured the edge perfectly, I was worried that the Open might lose some of his collar when segmenting for portrait mode.
The Open can be a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to opening up to portrait-oriented photos. One of my favorite pictures from the phone is the one on the left, of the Statue of Liberty. When other authors were having difficulty obtaining the same photograph, I managed to catch it at 6x zoom, which is an optical crop from the 3x telephoto camera. Up till now, I’ve found that the Open struggles a little bit at night unless you reduce the exposure, which might be difficult in urgent circumstances. Even at magnifications greater than 10x, it is not very strong. If you are familiar with her, you can identify Lucy Dacus from boygenius as the woman strumming the guitar. However, before posting the picture on social media, you should use CSI’s zoom and enhance option. But I do think the Open did a good job of capturing the lighting on Little Island, New York’s bottom, reflecting the sun off the ocean before of the Made By Google event.
I don’t usually take selfies with the rear cameras on phones since it’s inconvenient to not be able to see the image you’re shooting, and I don’t think the OnePlus Open is any different. The 20MP splendor of the front-facing punch hole was captured in both of the images below. My hair and the bricks still have a lot of detail, and the processing in portrait mode did a decent job capturing the borders of my hoodie. It didn’t do a great job of shaving off a few wisps of hair, but my face’s colors and details are clear and realistic.
OnePlus Open camera: Initial assessment
When I’ve finished my comprehensive review of the OnePlus Open, I’ll jump back in with more camera samples and analysis, but it’s safe to say that the foldable is off to a great start. It is definitely influenced by OPPO, but that is not always a bad thing in my opinion. Wider aspect ratio, shallow crease, and improved finish are some of the nicest features of the Find N series, and OnePlus extended these features to the US market. When you combine the amazing camera configuration of the OnePlus Open with a cheaper initial asking price, it can seriously challenge Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold.
Is the OnePlus Open currently the best phone with a foldable camera?
Possibly the most significant lesson the OnePlus Open has taught us thus far is that Sony’s IMX series of mobile photography products isn’t the best; its LYTIA sensors are also rather good.