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Nokia 8 Vs OnePlus 5T: In-Depth Comparative Camera Review

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Today, mobile technology has matured to a point that even mid-range smartphones offer a solid overall user experience. That said, when it’s about goodies like blazing-fast CPUs and top-of-the-line cameras, flagships are still the only way to go. And even though nearly all top-tier smartphones have sky-high price tags, there are some that don’t cost an arm and a leg, but still deliver an (almost) premium experience.

Two such smartphones are Nokia 8 and OnePlus 5T, priced at Rs 36,999 and Rs 32,999 (for the 6GB RAM/64GB storage variant) respectively. Both have largely identical specs and features, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC and a software experience that’s near-stock. And in keeping with the times, Nokia 8 and OnePlus 5T also have dual-camera setups at the back, in addition to front-facing snappers having all the features that selfie-lovers could possibly want. However, the real question is, which one is a better package when it comes to the overall camera experience?

The answer awaits, on the other side of my comprehensive camera comparison between the Nokia 8 and the OnePlus 5T. But before jumping in, here’s a quick look at the major camera-related specs of the two smartphones.

NOKIA 8 ONEPLUS 5T
Rear Dual 13MP (f/2.0), Phase Detection & Laser AF, Zeiss Optics, OIS, Two-Tone Dual-LED Flash, 4K and 1080p video recording @ 30fps Dual 16MP (f/1,7, with EIS) +20MP (f/1.7), Phase Detection AF, Dual-LED Flash, 4K and 1080p video recording @ 30fps, 720p video recording at 30/120fps
Front 13MP (f/2.0), Phase Detection AF, 4K video recording 16MP (f/2.0), EIS, FullHD video recording

Daylight Images (Auto HDR)

As is the case with nearly all smartphones these days, both Nokia 8 and OnePlus 5T have Auto HDR enabled by default, whenever you fire off the camera app. This ‘point-and-shoot’ mode generally works quite well, and helps in capturing good-looking photos sans any effort. But while Nokia 8’s Auto HDR algorithm is largely balanced, OnePlus 5T’s Auto HDR algorithm works a little more aggressively and makes the contrast levels appear slightly off. What this means is that the photos taken with the Auto HDR mode enabled on the 5T come out to be overall brighter and more vibrant than those captured with Auto HDR mode enabled on the 8. Interestingly, zooming-in on photos at 100% level reveal Nokia 8 to be a hairline better at capturing details than OnePlus 5T, with images having greater sharpness.

Nokia 8 Vs OnePlus 5T Camera Comparison

So if you want to capture bright photos with no tinkering, photos that you can enjoy on AMOLED panels, OnePlus 5T is better. But if you value truer colors and sharp details, even in casually-captured photos, Nokia 8 is the way to go.

Daylight Images (HDR Off)

When the HDR mode is turned off, daylight photos from Nokia 8 come out to be visibly better than those from OnePlus 5T. Images from the former have accurate colors and details, while those from the latter look overexposed all around. It could be because the 5T’s rear cameras have a bigger aperture (f/1.7) as compared to the 8’s (f/2.0) rear shooters, but that still doesn’t excuse the overexposed images.

Nokia 8 Vs OnePlus 5T Camera

Zoom-in on the photos at 100% level reveals somewhat-contrasting results. The photos from OnePlus 5T show better-preserved details, even in darker areas. By comparison, Nokia 8’s photos seem to be granier. This is in case of images captured with slightly-less ambient light.

Nokia 8 Vs OnePlus 5T Pics

But when it comes to daylight photos with sufficient amount of ambient light, Nokia 8 agains turns out to be a tad better. Its photos, when zoomed in, exhibit slightly-sharper details.

Daylight Images (HDR On)

Turning on HDR mode noticeably brings out the details in darker areas of photos captured by Nokia 8. What’s good is that in the process, brighter areas don’t get washed out. In case of OnePlus 5T, enabling HDR mode sort of messes up the photos. Granted, contrast levels in the images from OnePlus 5T are better than those in photos from Nokia 8, but some elements in the photos get washed out.

Nokia 8 Vs OnePlus 5T Day light Camera Comparison

Zooming-in further solidifies Nokia 8’s lead over OnePlus 5T, as the photos from the former are clearly revealed to be much sharper and detailed than those from the latter.

Nokia 8 Vs OnePlus 5T

When it comes to HDR photos captured in well-lit conditions, Nokia 8 is clearly better than OnePlus 5T.

Lowlight Images (HDR Off)

With HDR turned off, the cameras on both OnePlus 5T and Nokia 8 generally perform quite well. However, overall results are somewhat of a mixed bag.

Nokia 8 Vs OnePlus 5T Low light images

In some situations, the 5T brightens up the photos quite a bit as compared to the 8. In others, this behavior is reversed. The good thing is that it doesn’t mess up the overall image quality too much for either of the two devices.

OnePlus 5T vs Nokia 8 Camera Comparison

Zooming-in on the images from both smartphones reveals softening all around, but it’s nothing to lose sleep over. I’d say the two perform almost similarly in this case.

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Lowlight Images (HDR On)

This is where things get bad. On turning the HDR mode on, the low light camera performance on both Nokia 8 and OnePlus 5T takes a significant hit.

OnePlus 5T vs Nokia 8

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In case of the 8, images turn out to be full of noise and are softened up too much. As far as the 5T is concerned, zooming-in reveals a whole lot of compression artefacts and graininess.

OnePlus 5T vs Nokia 8 comparison

In a nutshell, low light HDR photography can be considered to be the weak point of both Nokia 8 and OnePlus 5T. That’s not to say that the photos from both smartphones come out to be bad, they’re just not as good as one would expect from flagship device(s).

Portrait Mode / Depth-Of Field

Thanks to their dual-camera systems, Nokia 8 and OnePlus 5T are well-equipped to shoot photos with a shallow depth-of-field, a feature that has become all but common in smartphone photography these days. To that end, the default camera app of the 8 and the 5T have a ‘Live Bokeh’ and ‘Portrait’ mode respectively.

As far as the ‘process’ of shooting photos with those fancy ‘Bokeh’ effects is concerned, it’s definitely easier on the 5T. All one has to do is go to the ‘Portrait’ mode, and the camera automatically blurs the background on recognizing the subject. By contrast, on the 8, one has to go the ‘Live Bokeh’ mode, tap on the subject, use an on-screen aperture adjustment slider and then shoot the image, so it definitely takes some getting used to.

OnePlus 5T vs Nokia 8 Camera comparison

But when it comes to the actual quality of the depth-of-field effect in photos, the 8 outperforms the 5T. Nokia 8’s recognition of the subject and its separation from the background (to be blurred) is definitely better than that of OnePlus 5T. When zoomed-in, photos from the smartphones are revealed to be equally good, with adequate amount of detail and sharpness.

If you’re a fan of clicking pictures with depth-of-field effects but don’t want to fiddle with the settings too much, get OnePlus 5T. But if you don’t mind a little fine-tuning to get that awesome bokeh image, Nokia 8 is for you.

Selfies

The ever-popular selfie craze is probably never going to go away. To help you up your selfie game, Nokia 8 and OnePlus 5T come with 13MP (f/2.0) and 16MP (f/2.0) front-facing cameras respectively.

Starting with the 5T, its selfie shooter behaves in a similar manner as the smartphone’s rear cameras, brightening up things a little too much. From the subject to the background, the front-camera’s image processing algorithm whitens everything. One could argue that it’s because the selfies need to be vibrant, as they are primarily meant to be shared on social networks, but the fact that exposure and color levels are far from accurate can’t be ignored.

Nokia 8 vs OnePlus 5T Selfie camera Comparison

In comparison, the 8’s selfie camera shoots photos that are properly exposed and have better color accuracy. Sure, they aren’t as funky and brightened up as the self-portraits from the 5T, but definitely more natural. Zooming-in also reveals Nokia 8’s selfies as having more resolved detail than OnePlus 5T’s self-portraits.

Panoramas

Both OnePlus 5T and Nokia 8 can shoot 360-degree panoramic photos. The process to do so is simple as well. All one has to do is hold the phone in portrait mode (with Panorama mode selected, obviously) and move it along the guideline that appears on the display. Once done, the smartphone automatically stitches the captured images into a single panoramic photograph.

oneplus 5t vs Nokia 8

Panoramic photographs captured by OnePlus 5T and Nokia 8 can be described as okay, at best. As is the case with these photos, the quality depends a lot on how steady and properly aligned the device is during capture. But even with everything in place, the panoramic photos are improperly stitched together with overlapped elements.
As for the overall photo quality, Nokia 8 is definitely a little better.

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Video Capture

Nokia 8 and OnePlus 5T can both capture 4K and FullHD video at 30fps. While the former has OIS and 360-degree OZO audio capture, the latter comes with EIS and the ability to record slo-mo videos. So both smartphones are fairly loaded when it comes to video recording capabilities.

4K videos come out to be very good from both smartphones. There is ample sharpness and companion audio sounds good too. In fact, the 5T’s EIS gets a little extreme at times, making videos too smooth. The 8’s OIS also works well to reduce the shakiness in captured videos. Audio quality is good too, with Nokia 8 benefitting from its 360-degree OZO goodness and higher audio recording bitrate.

The difference, however, is visible in case of FullHD videos. Details in videos from OnePlus 5T are often blurred, while being nicely resolved in the videos from Nokia 8. Sharpness levels are more in the case of the latter’s videos too.

If you don’t really use your smartphone for shooting videos a lot, OnePlus 5T is going to serve you just fine. By all means, it’s very capable in this department. But if you’re the kind of person who loves recording events like concerts and parties, Nokia 8 is your jam. Its video capture capabilities are definitely superior than those of OnePlus 5T. Yeah, the lack of 60fps capture is a bummer, but (hopefully) it can be added via a software update.

Conclusion

Nokia 8 and OnePlus 5T are both impressive works of mobile technology. They are packed with the latest in terms of hardware and have great overall performance. Even if we talk about the image/video capture performance, the two smartphones are almost equally loaded, and come with their own set of unique features. In some areas, the 8 comes out at the top. In other, the 5T shines bright. So the question is – which one is better?

The answer really depends on your requirement(s). If what you need is a smartphone that captures vibrant-looking photos and in almost all conditions, photos that you can enjoy viewing and sharing without too much tinkering, OnePlus 5T is what you should go for. However, if you value accuracy of elements like colors and better resolved detail, you should get Nokia 8.

Of the two, my recommendation is the Nokia 8. It’s not just because this smartphone captures great-looking photos and selfies, but also because its video-recording prowess is amazing. Throw in the nice extras like ‘Bothies’ and direct streaming to Facebook and YouTube, and Nokia 8 becomes an even better choice, despite being Rs 4,000 dearer than OnePlus 5T.

If you don’t mind checking out other mid-range flagship smartphones, you can take a look at Honor 8 Pro. It offers numerous features such as a dual-camera setup and 4K video recording at a really exciting price of Rs 29,999.

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