OnePlus likes what Sony is doing with camera sensors and opts to use it in its first smartphone.
While information about the specifications of the OnePlus One has been released a slow, gradual fashion, each one has made us more excited for this phone. Even though we awarded the Nexus 5 our Elite Award earlier this year, it still has a number of shortcomings that the OnePlus One should handily address, namely the battery size and camera quality.
Like the Nexus 5, the One will be unlocked and priced under $400. It will run CyanogenMod, which is basically stock Android with some tweaks, and it has a Nexus 5-matching Snapdragon 800 SoC. However, its battery will be 3,100 mAh, which should provide substantially longer run times than the Nexus 5’s 2,300 mAh. Now OnePlus has announced on its forums the specs for One’s camera - it will be 13 Megapixels, have 6 piece lens with a f/2.0 aperture and a Sony Exmor IMX214 sensor. While specs alone don’t tell the whole story when it comes to image quality, we’re pretty sure the combination of the Sony sensor and a wider aperture is going to produce better image quality than what the Nexus 5’s 8 MP f/2.4 camera can provide.
In the forum post Peter Lau, head of OnePlus, explains that the sensor “performs well in real-life conditions (without an ugly protruding camera)”:
“With Sony in mind, we chose their latest Exmor IMX214. This 13-megapixel CMOS sensor boasts an incredible f/2.0 aperture, so more light can be captured when shooting in the dark.
Low apertures do come with a downside, namely that photos may become distorted on the edges. Regular smartphones have 5 lenses, but to properly correct for low aperture we added a 6th. Our unique 6 lens optics will avoid any low aperture distortion while also enhancing the image quality and colors.
At the same time, we have developed a new technology to boost our hardware performance. Image Stabilization Plus (IS+) will reduce noise and shakiness thanks to a series of inputs received from other components of the phone such as the gyroscope. Over 120 algorithms optimize pictures and videos by making them cleaner and sharper.
The OnePlus One will also let you to shoot 4K videos or, if you love slow-motion video, film at 120 fps with a 720p resolution.”
The only concern we have is that the image stabilization he refers to above does not seem to be true optical image stabilization (OIS), but some form of digital IS, which usually produces poorer results than physical IS built into the lens. Also, when we looked up the Exmor IMX214 we couldn’t find any data on it, other than it seems to be the same sensor that Oppo is using in the Find 7, so we do not have any other details about it beyond what OnePlus has released.