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OnePlus Nord vs iPhone SE camera shootout: You pick the winner!

Which budget phone has the best camera? Pick the winner!

Published onMay 10, 2021

OnePlus Nord and iPhone SE camera modules
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The OnePlus Nord launched with some stiff competition. One of the most popular mid-rangers at the moment was (and still is) Apple’s iPhone SE, which comes with an MSRP £40 higher than the OnePlus device in the UK, and €100 higher across Europe. Both are great phones in their own right, but there are some big differences between the two budget handsets — including the cameras.

Which takes better photos: the OnePlus Nord or the iPhone SE? We decided to pit the two phones against each other in a quick OnePlus Nord vs iPhone SE camera shootout to find out. Be sure to cast your vote on the winner in the poll at the end of the article.

Our verdict: OnePlus Nord review | Apple iPhone SE review

OnePlus Nord vs iPhone SE: Camera specs

It’s quality vs quantity with this comparison. The iPhone has just two cameras, while the Nord has six. However, the iPhone comes with a more robust processor and a proven track record for excellent image processing. Can brains beat brawn? Let’s find out.

OnePlus NordiPhone SE
Rear cameras
OnePlus Nord
48MP, f/1.8, (IMX586)
8MP, f/2.3, 119-degree FOV
5MP, f/2.5 depth sensor
2MP, f/2.5, macro

iPhone SE
12MP, f/1.8
Rear video
OnePlus Nord
UHD 4K 30fps
1080p 60fps
1080p 240fps
iPhone SE
UHD 4K 60fps
1080p 240fps
Front cameras
OnePlus Nord
32MP, f/2.5
8MP, f/2.5, 105-degree FOV
iPhone SE
7MP, f/2.2
Front video
OnePlus Nord
UHD 4K 60fps
iPhone SE
1080p 30fps

The samples

I shot a mix of indoor and outdoor images with both smartphones at the same time. The variety of lighting scenarios should help us find quality discrepancies and ultimately come up with a winner. Both devices were on their latest available software versions, and both were set to “photo” and “portrait” modes for the given tests.

In this first set of images, I shot out in my garden in bright light. Shooting upward at the telegraph pole demonstrates the sharpness capturing capabilities of both cameras. Shooting upward at the leaves gives us a good idea of the dynamic range capabilities from each camera. The iPhone SE tends to deliver more color and detail in the shadows.

The images of the back of my racing simulator are a test of low-light performance in “photo” mode. There was light coming in from the window and a ceiling light overhead, but the back of the seat was still in the shadows. The Nord is applying more noise reduction resulting in a softer image. The photographs of the pink flowers were shot to demonstrate the color reproduction capabilities of each camera. The SE is capturing more true-to-life colors compared to the washed-out Nord’s image.

See also: The best budget camera phones you can buy

The first pair of images here are of a viaduct in the distance. These tests will help us evaluate how much detail that each camera captures. The Nord seems to capture more fine detail in the field compared to the SE. The second pair shows a shaded tree in front of a fairly bright sky. This is a true test of dynamic range and color accuracy. The SE is displaying more detail in the darkest shadows while correctly exposing for bright highlights.

These final images are with the selfie cameras and with the rear portrait mode, respectively. The SE seems to do a better job of keeping my skin texture natural. However, the skin tones aren’t as accurate as with the Nord.

OnePlus Nord vs iPhone SE camera shootout: Vote for the winner!

Which camera experience do you prefer: the OnePlus Nord or the iPhone SE? Apple’s phone seems to come out on top in terms of quality, but there’s no denying the OnePlus Nord has a more versatile setup overall. As the iPhone SE only has a single camera, we couldn’t compare ultra-wide 0r macro shots — read more about the OnePlus Nord’s additional cameras in our review.

The winner is down to you! Cast your vote in the poll below and hit the comments to share your thoughts. If you want a deeper look at the OnePlus Nord vs iPhone SE, be sure to check out our full comparison, where we look at other specs, features, pricing, and more.

Which phone takes better photos: the OnePlus Nord or the iPhone SE?

5476 votes

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