OnePlus 5 vs iPhone 7 Plus Portrait Mode and Optical Zoom Camera Comparison

OnePlus 5 vs iPhone 7 Plus Portrait Mode and Optical Zoom Camera Comparison

The OnePlus 5 is a modest upgrade over the OnePlus 3/3T except for the camera department. The Never Settle company has gone all in on the camera of the phone and included a dual-camera setup that is similar to that of the iPhone 7 Plus.

The OnePlus 5 does use higher resolution sensors (16MP, 20MP) with smaller pixels when compared to the iPhone 7 Plus and lacks OIS, but it does come with a wider f/1.7 aperture. The iPhone 7 Plus, on the other hand, makes use of two 12MP shooters featuring OIS, with the secondary telephoto lens having a focal length of 56mm — bigger than the 40mm focal length of the secondary 20MP sensor of the OnePlus 5.

The dual-camera setup allows the OnePlus 5 to offer two tricks: a Portrait mode that captures photos with a DSLR-like bokeh effect; and offer 2x ‘SmartCapture’ zoom. Both these features are also available on the iPhone 7 Plus, though it comes with 2x optical zoom. OnePlus is hoping to make the 5 stand out with these new camera features. So, how good are the OnePlus 5’s Portrait and SmartCapture zoom when compared to the iPhone 7 Plus? Let’s find out in this comparison.

OnePlus is hoping to make the 5 stand out with these new camera features and take on the flagships in the market. So, how good are the OnePlus 5’s Portrait and SmartCapture zoom when compared to the iPhone 7 Plus? Let’s find out in this comparison.

Portrait Mode

One of the primary reasons why OnePlus went with a dual camera setup on the 5 and not with a single Pixel-like camera was to ensure the handset offers an iPhone-like Portrait mode. The company believes the Portrait mode will be a huge selling point and will do a great job of showcasing the benefits of the dual camera system.

Apple started this trend with the iPhone 7 Plus last year. While other companies have offered a similar mode on their smartphones, their implementation left a lot to be desired. When Apple first debuted Portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus last year, the feature was in beta due to its sheer complexity. Since then, the company has rapidly improved the feature and while it is still not perfect, it can do a pretty good job now. While the OnePlus 5 has only been out for a week, OnePlus has already rolled out two software updates to improve the camera performance.

Enough with the words now. Let’s have a look at some portrait shots taken from both phones.

Notice how the portrait photos shot from the iPhone 7 Plus look a lot better than the ones taken from the OnePlus 5 in all the scenario above? And I am not even talking about the depth effect here. That’s due to the telephoto lens on the iPhone 7 Plus having a 56mm focal length which is better suited for portrait shots. In comparison, the OnePlus 5’s telephoto lens features a wider 40mm focal length which results in its portrait photos not coming out as impressive.

In less than ideal lighting conditions, the OnePlus 5’s Portrait mode completely falls apart and outputs photos that are blurry and grainy. If Portrait mode on the 5 is its key selling point, then it falls flat on its face. The bokeh effect and the reliability of the Portrait mode in detecting the subject are almost as good as the iPhone, though again, the camera starts struggling as the amount of light reduces.

Optical Zoom

Unlike the iPhone 7 Plus, the OnePlus 5 does not come with 2x optical zoom despite featuring a telephoto lens. Instead, in 2x mode, the handset uses 1.35x optical zoom which is then combined with the resulting images from the higher-resolution 20MP sensor using SmartCapture to output 16MP photos.

One thing that you’d notice straight away in photos taken from the secondary lens on the OnePlus 5 is the difference in post processing. In the first sample photo, there is a huge difference in the color of the sky in the sample shot from the primary and secondary lens. The smaller pixels on the 20MP sensor also lead to a lot of noise and artefacts, though this can be rectified by OnePlus with future software updates.


I am not really impressed with the Portrait mode on the OnePlus since its results are not as impressive as the iPhone 7 Plus due to its wider focal length. As for optical zoom, it does a good job, though there is room for improvement with future software updates.

What do you think about the dual camera setup of the OnePlus 5? Drop a comment and let us know!

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  • The Truth

    I think, Apple’s portrait mode is better.
    You should try out them on people actually 😉 That’s where they adjust software mainly.