Senior photographer Udit Kulshrestha on the OnePlus 5 camera
ShotForGizmodo
Why do we say the OnePlus 5 is the flagship killer of this year? It is definitely not because of the maxed out spec sheet. It is not the design either. It is actually what OnePlus did with the camera on the OnePlus 5 that sets it apart from the rest of the phones that are trying to match up to the rivals.

As you might know, the OnePlus 5 uses a dual camera stack on the rear. OnePlus has gone for a widescreen and telephoto lens combination to offer lossless zoom and the bokeh effect. The OnePlus 5 uses a custom Sony IMX 398 sensor for the 16-megapixel, 28mm widescreen camera and a Sony IMX 350 sensor for the 20-megapixel 36mm telephoto lens. But these are just numbers. We gave the phone to an award-winning professional photographer, Udit Kulshreshtha, who used it to do a shoot of the Taj Mahal and the life around the iconic structure. And he couldn't stop gushing about how good the camera is.

"I think the OnePlus 5 has a brilliant camera and even the selfie camera is very good. Even the processing is very, very fast. I could click so many picture, so fast, it was amazing. I also tried out the time lapse and the slow motion and the quality was amazing," he told to Gizmodo India.

Photo Credits: Udit Kulshrestha
Twitter: @uditkulshrestha
Facebook: ukulshrestha
Camera: OnePlus 5


Photos from the OnePlus 5 can easily be passed off as professional grade photographs. The quality is dangerously close to DSLR images. And unlike the bulky DSLRs, the OnePlus 5 is quite discreet and does not weigh much.

"First, there's the weight of the phone. Second it's non-intrusive. That makes it very convenient. And that is one reason why I would personally use the phone over a DSLR. If you want to click and you don't want to intrude into anyone's privacy and get noticed. Nobody expects you to take a great picture with a phone camera and you are not taken seriously as a photographer. That is something that I wanted to pursue. Especially in the premises inside the Taj Mahal, there is massive security checks where you can't carry heavy equipment inside. So you can't carry bags and all the lenses with you inside. It becomes a pain. There have been times when I had to go back to the locker, put in the bags, then come back, wasting time, wasting light. Here I had a phone and nobody bothered about it. Nobody takes you as a serious photographer per se. That is one reason," Udit told.

Having a high quality smartphone camera, also helped him avoid the camera-centric reactions that people tend to give when they notice a DSLR pointing at them.
Photo Credits: Udit Kulshrestha
Twitter: @uditkulshrestha
Facebook: ukulshrestha
Camera: OnePlus 5


"If you look at the shot of the muslim locals who were washing their hands in front of the Taj Mahal , the moment there would have been a camera, the reaction would have changed. They would have put on a camera induced reaction which I wanted to avoid," he said.

But more than the quality, it is the availability of the lossless zoom which sealed the deal for him.

"Physically, I'm a big man and the presence gets noted. So you need a certain distance where after which the person starts noticing you. That comfort distance for me I could afford through the zoom," he quipped.

"If I'm not wrong, it's a 24mm lens that the phone has which is quite wide. A lot of times when I was on 1X and wanted to go closer, 1.4X to 2X was the right distance for me to go without being intrusive. When I was shooting only the dome and not the minarets of the Taj Mahal , there I used the zoom feature of the OnePlus 5," he added.

The OnePlus 5 also comes with a Pro Mode which allows for tweaking the controls manually. Udit points out that once he figured out the Pro Mode, he consistently used to it compose professional photos for the shoot.
Photo Credits: Udit Kulshrestha
Twitter: @uditkulshrestha
Facebook: ukulshrestha
Camera: OnePlus 5


"I tested out the phone initially and I figured out there's a pro mode in the phone which helps you shoot RAW. Also, it allowed me many manual controls like exposure compensation, shutter speed and white balance. I had options of either shooting in landscape or in macro, so these were controls which helped me do more," he said.


The Histogram feature inside the Pro Mode also helped.

"Even the presence of the histogram helped. A lot of times, what happens is the screen gets less optimised on usage, even when you have put on a screen guard and sometimes there is so much bright light, you cannot see what is actually coming on the screen. When you see the histogram, you are able to figure out what is the right exposure. As professionals, we can read which are the dark areas, which are the highlight areas, that's where it helps, whether I want to make a bright picture or a darker picture. It helps you check if you are overexposing the picture," Udit mentioned.

What this reveals is the fact that OnePlus has nailed the imaging experience with the OnePlus 5. The features the phone camera offers is enough to compose professional-grade photos at blazing fast speeds. If that is not reason enough to rush online and book the OnePlus 5, what is?