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OnePlus 8T vs Samsung Galaxy S20 FE camera shootout: Affordable flagship battle

Can the OnePlus 8T take better photos than the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition? Find out in our camera shootout!

Published onOctober 20, 2020

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs OnePlus 8T 3
David Imel / Android Authority

Things are heating up in the sub-flagship space. Two big entries are the OnePlus 8T and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE which start at $749 and $699, respectively. Which comes out on top when it comes to the cameras? Find out in our OnePlus 8T vs Samsung Galaxy S20 FE camera shootout!

Be sure to cast your vote on the winner in the poll at the end. For a more detailed look at the specs and features of each phone, check out our comparison below.

See also: OnePlus 8T vs Samsung Galaxy S20 FE — which is right for you?

OnePlus 8T vs Samsung Galaxy S20 FE: Camera specs

The OnePlus 8T’s camera setup focuses on the high-resolution main and selfie cameras. The ultra-wide is down on resolution vs the main camera. The other two sensors are there to fluff out the spec sheet.

The Galaxy S20 FE’s camera is contrastingly balanced. It has a difference of just 4MP between the three rear cameras. Its front camera stands out with a whopping 32MP resolution which could help it in the selfie comparison.

OnePlus 8TSamsung Galaxy S20 FE
Rear cameras
OnePlus 8T
48MP, f/1.7, 26mm, 1/2-in. sensor, 0.8µm, OIS
16MP ultra-wide, f/2.2, 14mm, 1/3.6-in. sensor, 1µm
5MP macro, f/2.4
2MP monochrome, f/2.4
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
12MP, f/1.8, 26mm, 1/1.76-in. sensor, 1.8µm, OIS
12MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 1/3-in. sensor, 1.12µm
8MP telephoto, f/2.4, 76mm, 1/4.5-in. sensor, 1µm, OIS
Rear video
OnePlus 8T
UHD 4K 60fps
1080p 240fps
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
UHD 4K 60fps
1080p 240fps
Front cameras
OnePlus 8T
16MP, f/2.4, 1µm
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
32MP, f/2.2, 0.8µm
Front video
OnePlus 8T
UHD 4K 60fps
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
UHD 4K 60fps

The samples

This first set of examples is of a restaurant outdoor seating area. Here you can see how differently the two process color. The OnePlus 8T’s image immediately stands out as leaning towards warm tones. The Galaxy S20 FE takes a much cooler image. However, colors aren’t the only difference.

Read more: Photography terms explained

Looking closer at the mural on the back wall, the Galaxy S20 FE captures more detail and color information. The OnePlus 8T’s camera smooths the colors together as a result of its denoising system. Looking at the faces in front, the Samsung’s photo shows far more detail too.

In this shot of some leaves above a street, the OnePlus 8T opts for a punchier look. It boosts saturation and contrast to give a more standout look to its image. The Samsung device takes a more laid-back approach to its processing with more washed-out colors and contrast. Its image isn’t as in-your-face but it doesn’t seem to have as much dynamic range either. The top of the car is blown out in its photo vs the well-exposed OnePlus example.

The OnePlus 8T pulls ahead in this shot of a potted plant as it does a better job at maintaining highlight roll-off. At the base of the plant, the Samsung blows out the highlights whereas the OnePlus maintains them. The OnePlus 8T also exposes slightly brighter to allow for clearer shadows.

In this shot of a city side street, both phones take vastly different approaches to sharpness. The OnePlus’ denoising algorithm smooths the leaves to make them blend together. The Samsung system is doing the opposite and boosting the sharpening filter to create a sharper but less realistic look.

Next up is nighttime photography. The OnePlus 8T’s image stands out for its brighter exposure across the image. It does this while looking softer and not handling highlights as well. Samsung is exposing the lights in the windows better. But in doing this, it brings the exposure down to make the image dimmer.

In the ultra-wide version, both phones show weaknesses. Both images are soft, though Samsung’s sharpening filter makes its photo appear sharper before cropping in. The S20 Fan Edition does seem to capture more dynamic range, as is evident on both the balcony and the rooftops below.

It’s selfie time, and our own David Imel is looking paler in the OnePlus 8T’s photo. Not only is the S20 Fan Edition’s image warmer, but the system is smoothing out the stubble and capturing less dynamic range. In David’s hair, the OnePlus 8T is able to capture more detail in the darkest area. In the OnePlus’ image, the jacket appears closer to blue than the true black in the Samsung image.

The OnePlus 8T captures more dynamic range in this photo of a potted plant on a window sill. The Samsung device is darkening the brickwork to the left and the shadow below the sill. However, this example shows OnePlus’ heavy HDR processing. The plant looks like it’s been cut out from the background with a drop shadow behind the leaves. This results in an unnatural-looking image.

Related: The best budget camera phones you can buy

OnePlus 8T vs Samsung Galaxy S20 FE camera shootout: The verdict

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs OnePlus 8T 1
David Imel / Android Authority

The OnePlus 8T and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE trade blows, but it’s the Samsung that edges ahead. Its better ultra-wide sensor and more natural processing put it ahead of the slightly overdone OnePlus 8T. Pure resolution isn’t everything, and Samsung’s camera-processing tenure has helped it out here.

The OnePlus 8T takes the punchier, more contrast-heavy photos with its setup. The quality difference between the main camera and the ultra-wide is bigger than that of the Galaxy S20 FE. However, if you’re looking for the better selfie shooter of the two, the OnePlus 8T takes more accurate front-facing photos.

This one was very close. Which set of images do you prefer? Are the Galaxy S20 FE’s sharper samples to your taste or do you prefer the softer and often more realistic look from the OnePlus 8T? Cast your vote for the winner of our shootout in the poll below.

Which phone takes better photos: the OnePlus 8T or the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE?

2003 votes

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