Camera: Video Quality
In addition to its wide selection of still imaging modes and options, the OnePlus One also has a pretty extensive selection of video features. Not only can it record in 4K, as many current Android smartphones can, but it’s also one of the first that can capture video in the even higher resolution 4K DCI 24 fps format. Unfortunately, the lack of optical image stabilization does impact the quality of hand-held videos. Also, a lot of the manual settings found in the still capture mode, such as ISO control, are not found in video mode.
Below are some sample video clips recorded by the One in Auto mode. Please keep in mind that these have been processed by our video service, so are not 100% representative of the original clips. The videos are shown at the correct resolution, but the maximum bitrates are capped to less than half the original value, negatively impacting quality.
The 1080p videos are recorded at a fairly high 20 Mbps bitrate, which results in great image quality, although there is noticeable camera shake since these were shot by hand. Also, the dynamic range of the outdoors video isn’t that great. While the One does allow you to record HDR video, which should address this, we found that HDR video has a lot of issues and is not useable in the 38R software build.
Video quality suffers at night and has quite a lot of noise from being shot with the ISO set very high.
Since there is no online video service that we could use to accurately display a 4K DCI clip, we are just showing you what the UHD mode looks like. The clip was recorded at an impressive 57 Mbps bitrate, and unlike other 4K capable phones, there is no time limit to 4K recordings on the One. Again, the video shown here is compressed, reducing the video quality. The maximum bitrate, at least for the same clip shown on our YouTube channel, is only ~22 Mbps.
One big problem with capturing 4K on the One is storage capacity. With one minute of 4K DCI video taking up almost 500 MB, longer 4K clips will consume a lot of storage. While the black One does have 64 GB of internal storage to mitigate this issue, there is NO option to add additional storage to the One.
This clip demonstrates the One’s time-lapse video feature. While it does work well for capturing short sped-up clips like this, it isn’t that good for creating long all day time-lapses. Even though the option is there to set an interval of 24 hours between shots, the way that the One creates time-lapse isn’t the same as a proper time-lapse app. The Android app Lapse It Pro for example, uses multiple full-resolution still images to create much higher quality time-lapse videos.
Another disappointing video feature is the slow-motion mode. The One can only capture up to 120 fps slow-motion at 720p. The 240 fps option on the iPhone 6 produces much more dramatic clips. Also, the One must create the slow-motion effect via software because the video quality of this mode is quite poor and doesn’t even look like 720p. It also has trouble focusing when in this mode.
The One’s front-facing camera is capable of shooting 720p video. While the quality doesn’t compare to the rear camera, and there aren’t many settings that can be adjusted, the end result is still good enough for video chat.