As far as smartphones are concerned, 2018 has started on a big bang in India. Especially, the mid-range segment has been flooded with new devices. And in that regard, the OPPO F7, Vivo V9, and the Redmi Note 5 Pro are three smartphones that have been grabbing the headlines lately.
Since we have all the three phones with us, we decided to do an extensive camera comparison, including the selfie cameras. And, like one of our YouTube subscriber puts it – this one is going to be a Triple Threat.
Specs and other details
Let’s talk about the specs first. The OPPO F7 comes with a 16MP primary camera on the rear with an f/1.8 lens – the widest aperture of the three smartphones.
The Vivo V9 has a dual camera setup on the rear with a 16MP primary camera with f/2.0 lens, and a secondary 5MP shooter.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro also comes with two cameras on the rear. The primary camera has a 12MP sensor attached to an f/2.2 lens, and the secondary camera comes with a 5MP sensor and an f/2.0 lens.
Only the Vivo V9 can shoot 4K videos out of the box. The Redmi Note 5 Pro’s hardware supports 4K video recording and Xiaomi has promised an update in the future to enable the same.
All the three cameras come with phase detection autofocus. But the Redmi Note 5 Pro is the only phone wth a dual-LED flash on the rear compared to the single LED flash on the OPPO F7 and the Vivo V9.
Talking about the front cameras, you get a 25MP shooter with an f/2.0 lens on the OPPO F7 and in contrast you get a 24MP camera with an f/2.0 lens on the Vivo V9. Both these smartphones also come with AR stickers and AI-enabled selfie features. The Redmi Note 5 Pro has a 20MP front camera with an f/2.2 lens. Only the Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with a front flash module.
In this generic shot of an office building, you can clearly see that the OPPO F7 and the Vivo V9 underexpose the green areas. In fact, the F7’s shot looks like it was shot with HDR on, but that was definitely not the case.
I think it is the software’s AI at work here, and it has decided in over-processing the image.
In short, the Redmi Note 5 Pro’s image – despite looking subdued is the most natural one of the lot. This round we shall go with the Redmi Note 5 Pro.
Daylight Close up
In this photo, unless you look very closely I guarantee you won’t be able to notice any big difference in the images captured by the OPPO F7 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Both the phones offer the same level of details overall. Also, the dynamic range and the contrast of the F7 and the Note 5 Pro’s test samples, are better when compared to the V9’s shot.
Here’s the thing though, if you peer closely you will notice that the Redmi Note 5 Pro has managed to focus even the leaves in the background. But this doesn’t necessarily mean it is a better picture, it is a function of the aperture. The F7 opens up wide to f/1.8 to shoot the image and therefore a few areas leaves are out-of-focus to portray a sense of depth.
Overall, there is not much separating the three images but if I had to pick a winner it has to be the Redmi Note 5 Pro by a tiny margin.
It really looks like the F7’s algorithm is working in reverse. In our HDR test, the non HDR sample had a boosted dynamic range whereas the HDR image seemed to bring better control to the highlights and the shadows.
But there is no doubt that the F7’s image is the better looking shot of the three. It looks crisp, detailed, and offers punchier colours. Exactly, how the HDR mode should perform.
I’ll pick the F7 in as my winner in this round primarily because it tends to bring great control to highlights and shadows. But, individual mileage may vary.
The Portrait mode is Redmi Note 5 Pro’s forte as we’ve learnt from our extensive camera comparison with the iPhone X and the Pixel 2. And, the phone is once again in great form here. In our portrait sample you can see how the edge detection on the Redmi Note 5 Pro is exemplary! Xiaomi’s algorithm is really at overdrive here.
But there is one thing that sets the V9 apart from the rest of its competitors: the fact that you can change the focus post or pre shooting the image. The V9 gives you to change the aperture settings, going as wide as f/0.95. And you can also change the focus to a different subject once you have shot the image. This is similar to what some Huawei phones can do.
In the end, the Redmi Note 5 Pro wins.
The over-processing problem seems to plague the OPPO F7 once again. Our 1080p sample video looks extremely unnatural here. And weirdly, the OPPO captures mono audio and skips stereo recording here. Thanks to the presence of Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS), the Redmi Note 5 Pro’s sample looks really good. Just because the V9 can shoot in 4K means it will offer more details but the footage quality is noting worth talking about. I am tired of saying this but the Redmi Note 5 Pro is our pick once again.
Take a look at the video below to check out the test footage.
This is where the tide changes finally. Phew. Thanks to OPPO’s f/1.8 aperture, it lets in more light. Much, much more light.
You can see that clearly in our sample. The F7 decides the boost the ISO as a result you get a better exposed image overall.
But, as far as details are concerned all the cameras are on par here. And, the winner of this round is the OPPO F7.
Using the Portrait mode in low light is not advisable but we tried it nonetheless and came away surprised with the F7.
Not only does it do edge detection well, it also illuminates the subject well. The other two phones struggle in this regard. In fact, the Redmi Note 5 Pro refused to take a Portrait shot because the light was low.
I didn’t face any such problem on the F7 or the V9, though. The F7 wins this round, obviously.
Lowlight with flash
The Dual-LED flash on the Redmi Note 5 Pro just decimates the competition here. Just look at the details in the image. Enough said.
Do, I have to even mention which phone wins this round?
In our lowlight video sample, the F7 takes the lead with its well-exposed footage and detail resolution. And despite the fact that EIS reduces the shakes induced by human hands, the Redmi Note 5 Pro’s fault lies in focus hunting. The Vivo V9 is once again nowhere in the running.
I will pick the F7 for its well-exposed footage in this round. Take a look at the video below to check out the test footage.
Selfie in daylight
Finally, the V9 emerges victorious in one round. There is very little separating the three selfies. No really, you will need a microscope to find the intricate differences.
The colour reproduction, the colour tone, and the dynamic range are almost equal in all our samples.
However when I looked closely, I noticed that the details on the shirt was well-resolved by the V9’s camera. That’s what differentiates it from the rest.
In the selfie portrait test, the F7 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro do a good job of retaining the colour tone of my face and the spots on my face.
The V9’s selfie looks slightly dull and drab in comparison. The Redmi Note 5 Pro’s edge detection is better than the rest of the cameras.
Because if you look closely, the tiles next to my right sleeves are in focus in the OPPO F7’s selfie. The Redmi Note 5 Pro has truly emerged as the champion of Portrait shots.
In this indoor selfie shot of members from the Mr. Phone team, I think the Redmi Note 5 Pro’s sample comes out on top once again.
This is primarily because when you do a 100% crop of the OPPO F7’s image you will notice a lot of noise, and the V9 tends to smudge the details creating a watercolour effect.
Most of the times, you will shoot selfies in dimly lit situations. I shot a selfie using the three phones in our office cellar. You can clearly see that he OPPO F7 offers the better exposure of the three and the dynamic range is great too.
In fact, even the skin tone and the details on my face are better resolved by the F7’s front-facing camera. The Redmi Note 5 Pro’s selfie made my face look yellow, like I had a bout of jaundice or something. The Vivo V9 beautifies the face even when you are shooting normally.
This round goes to the OPPO F7. No surprises there.
Selfie with flash
The Redmi Note 5 Pro’s dedicated LED flash on the front comes in handy when taking pictures in extremely low light situation.
This flash evenly lights up your face and preserves your skin tone as well. If I had to pick a second best it would be the OPPO F7’s selfie.
Now, both the OPPO F7 and the Vivo V9 come with the option of AR stickers. Ever used Snapchat? Well, these stickers are just like that. If you want to look like one of the Kardashian girls, this mode is perfect for you. Sorry but I am not going to dole out any bonus points for these stickers.
Also, you obviously get Beauty mode on all the three cameras. I think Beauty Mode is a controversial feature. I equate it to using fairness creams for a white skin. That’s all I am going to say on that topic.
It’s there if you want to use it, though.
So finally, what’s the verdict? To be entirely honest, there is very little separating the rear camera performance on all the three phones except for the fact that the OPPO F7 takes better low light shots overall.
But, the Redmi Note 5 Pro definitely captures more details and keeps a check on the dynamic range. Moreover, EIS on the Redmi Note 5 Pro helps shoot stable videos footage and the Portrait mode using the rear camera is lit AF!
As far as the selfie cameras are concerned, there is nothing really separating the three phones. But, once again the OPPO F7 takes better selfies in low light without the flash. On the flipside, the Note 5 Pro’s front flash comes in handy when you want to capture detailed selfies with good, even lighting.
Although, I have three solid closing observations:
- The V9 misses a beat or two when it comes to camera performance. Except for the fact that you change the focus after shooting the image in the Portrait mode.
- The OPPO F7 is the better shooter if you want good low light shots.
- The Redmi Note 5 Pro’s price is still a shocker when we look at its camera performance!