oppo n3 review aa (29 of 32)

Last week we took the Oppo N3 out and about in LA, to not only gauge people’s reactions to a device not many are particularly familiar with, but also to test out the updated image processing package that the company is very proud of. As promised, it’s now time to pit the device against the latest crop of flagships that the Oppo N3 hopes to compete with when it comes to the camera experience.

In this camera shootout, the Oppo flagship goes up against the likes of the HTC One M9, the Samsung Galaxy S6, the iPhone 6 Plus, and the LG G3, and we take the same shot, using the same settings and camera modes, with all these phones to see which provides the best result. How does the Oppo device fare? We find out, in this Oppo N3 camera comparison!

Note that all photos were taken at their highest resolution, so aspect ratios may not be the same, but all photos are essentially framed the same way.

HDR

The best situations to use HDR are when you have a subject that is blown out by elements elsewhere. For example, when metering for a particular area, either your photo is so bright that the background is blown out to show the foreground, or the foreground is made dark to better show the background. High Dynamic Range photos take multiple exposures of the same shot and meld them together to get the best of every area.

As you can see in the gallery, HDR shots can be pretty hit and miss – especially in the cases of the LG G3 and the HTC One M9. Rather than the exposures being evened out, photos tend to just be brighter overall, often resulting in even more blown out pictures. While the Oppo N3 does manage to not be the worst of lot, it definitely doesn’t provide the profound effect of HDR we see with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, both of which provide highly vivid portrayals of scenes that would otherwise have under or over exposed segments. Oppo has been quite good with HDR iterations in the past, especially with the Find 7, but in the Oppo N3 it might be considered a bit of a misstep. The Galaxy S6 manages to take a great shot even without HDR, which is also true for the iPhone 6 Plus, but the use of HDR allows for an even more pleasing photo overall.

Non-HDR

HDR

Macro

Macro modes can be pretty scarce in smartphone shooters, but a Super Macro mode is available with the Oppo N3. Meanwhile, the other phones had to make due with zooming in as far as possible.

Macro modes can be pretty scarce in smartphone shooters, but a Super Macro mode is available with the Oppo N3. Meanwhile, the other phones had to make due with zooming in as far as possible. The Oppo N3 shot of the food is by far the closest, and having the most detail in focus, while every other phone had to pull back a certain distance in order to even gain focus. Of the rest of the phones, the LG G3 has the tightest focus, but still needed to be physically pulled back in order to provide an in-focus shot. Getting zoomed in photos tends to be harder without optical image stabilization, which the Oppo N3 and the HTC One M9 both lack. It is the HTC One M9 though that suffers the most from this lack of stabilization, as its photo in this set took a few tries to finally get right.

Panorama

the auto rotating camera of the Oppo N3 removes the need to move any part of one's body when taking a Panorama.

If you don’t already know the rule of thumb for smartphone panorama shots, you should be pivoting the phone rather than moving your entire body to get the shot. This trick minimizes stitching, even if moving subjects will still cause it. It’s clear which phone here gets the advantage, because the auto rotating camera of the Oppo N3 removes the need to move any part of one’s body when taking a Panorama. The Oppo N3 makes for some easy shots, especially in situations that minimize subject movement and subsequent stitching. Granted, that can be chalked up to human error, but incredibly steady hands will be required to do what the Oppo N3 completely takes the guesswork out of.

Low Light/Indoor

It’s in low light shots taken in the museum that you begin to see real discrepancies among the phones. The LG G3 and the HTC One M9 seem to suffer the most in plenty of the indoor photos, either due to slower shutter speed or higher ISO, leading to grainy photos. Processing in these phones then takes on a noise reduction algorithm that tends to make pictures look smudgy. All in all, it’s just easier to see the degrading of quality in these two phones compared to the rest.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 and the iPhone 6 Plus benefit from stabilization, so aspects like slower shutter speed get a helping hand. The Oppo N3 finds itself just above average here. Despite opting for somewhat lower exposure and higher color saturation in broad daylight shots, the opposite is found in these indoor pictures, resulting in a somewhat overexposed picture compared to its constituents. The main takeaway here is that the pictures from the Oppo N3 don’t seem to suffer as much from the grain or even noise reductions which are seen especially the LG G3 and the HTC One M9.

Galleries

As was just mentioned in the indoor section, the Oppo N3 tends to lower exposure just a tad and raise color saturation in brightly lit (read: outdoor) photos. In some situations, the pictures of the Oppo N3 are actually preferable to its competitors. As the light gets dimmer though, the Oppo N3 tries to compensate by upping exposure more. The opposite effect is found with mainly the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, therefore providing the more pleasing results. The primary advantage of having the camera rotate is having the full resolution available for self portraits, but it’s worth noting that the camera app in the Oppo N3 seems to drop saturation, most likely so the user will have to use the selfie filters for a better palette.

The primary advantage of having the camera rotate is having the full resolution available for self portraits, but it’s worth noting that the camera app in the Oppo N3 seems to drop saturation, most likely so the user will have to use the selfie filters for a better palette.

Oppo N3

HTC One M9

LG G3

iPhone 6 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S6

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Oppo N3 is more than capable of keeping up with the competition. Features like auto-rotation and a high-resolution front-facing camera are really nice and do have their benefits, while areas like Super Macro and Panorama manage to one-up similar solutions offered by Oppo’s competitors. In mostly outdoor shots the higher color saturation of the N3 can be preferred over its rivals, and it even manages to keep ahead of the One M9 and the LG G3 in lower light situations.

Of course, the N3 camera experience isn’t without its faults. When factoring in situations where full Auto should be at its best, like just pulling out the phone and taking a shot without much fuss, the Oppo N3 finds itself in a very middle ground. The Oppo N3 also managed to perform similarly to the HTC One M9 and LG G3 in the HDR category, but it was the Samsung Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 Plus that stood at the very top.

With the iPhone 6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S6 basically providing the current standard for smartphone photography, the Oppo N3 might not be at the very top of the list, but it can certainly hold its own against most of its competition.