While we already have a full review of the OnePlus Nord CE 5G, we wanted to do a camera comparison separately. The OnePlus Nord CE 5G has a 64MP primary camera which uses an Omnivision sensor. Then you have an 8MP ultrawide, 2MP mono, and a 16MP selfie shooter.
Before I even start talking about the comparison with Mi 10i and iQOO Z3 5G, I must say the camera app needs some work. The viewfinder was very unstable. Processing post capturing the picture took a lot of time and the gallery almost always converts it into a soft, bloomy version of the scene. And, I had some trouble with autofocussing as well. Anyway, let’s move on to the comparison shots.
First things first, the Nord CE 5G captures extremely soft details compared to the 64MP ISOCELL GW3 inside the iQOO Z3 5G and the Samsung ISOCELL HM3 in the Mi 10i. Just take a look at the 100% crop of the road leading to the Centre One building. Or, even the buildings on the other side of the main road. The Nord CE’s picture is just super soft.
As for the colours, while the Nord CE doesn’t manipulate the original colours in the scene as much as the iQOO Z3 or the Mi 10i, the overall hazy look of the picture is an eyesore. Coupled with the soft details, I’d much rather pick the Mi 10i or the iQOO Z3’s oversaturated look over the Nord’s hazy mess.
When it comes to the dynamic range performance, the iQOO Z3 5G does a fantastic job of controlling the highlights and a fairly decent job of retrieving the details from the shadows as well. The Mi 10i crushes the shadows a lot. The OnePlus Nord CE creates a very flat, non contrasty look by literally adding no dynamics at all in the shadow region. It just looks very…bland.
All the three phones have a namesake ultrawide camera and the colour science consistency is maintained best by the iQOO Z3 and the better distortion correction as well. Regardless, the other two are equally average looking. And, for the most part, these 8MP ultrawide cameras are surely showing their incompetence now.
When it comes to portraits, undoubtedly the Mi 10i is the champion here. Both, the iQOO Z3 5G and the OnePlus Nord CE, capture a very soft face. However, OnePlus’ algorithm does a good job of the semantic segmentation.
In selfies, the iQOO Z3 does a fabulous job of the facial tones and the details too. But, the highlight control in HDR mode is not great. Still, I’d easily pick the iQOO Z3 over the OnePlus Nord and the Mi 10i, both. Although, the Mi 10i does a fairly good job too with the facial tones and the HDR performance. So, that would be my second pick.
In selfie portraits, all the three phones do a fairly decent job. So, no real favourites here except the edge detection is the best on the OnePlus Nord CE.
Moving to low light shots, the Mi 10i has the best light sensitivity thanks to its large 108MP camera. With Night mode on, all the three cameras pick up the picture processing to add more light in the same scene. Although, the Mi 10i does look sharper. The second image of this scene indoors just adds to our theory that the Mi 10i is the best camera for low light shots among these three. With or without night mode. The second best is the iQOO Z3 followed by the Nord’s really subpar Omnivision setup. The Night Mode does a fabulous job with the ultrawide shot as well on the Mi 10i. Just take a look at the natural looking details at 100% crop of the Fiddle Fig plant right next to the TV. Yes, there’s noise but I am okay with that if the algorithm doesn’t create soft images like what you see on the iQOO Z3 and the OnePlus Nord.
Low Light Selfie
The low light selfie situation is a little weird. Both the Mi 10i and the iQOO Z3 offer the Night mode option but just look at the horrendous selfies captured by the two phones. Washed out, over exposed mess. But, without Night Mode on, these two phones capture better selfies than OP Nord CE. The iQOO Z3 5G would be my pick though.
Video – Rear Camera
The iQOO Z3 has the option to shoot 4K 60fps but the other two top out at 4K 30fps. But, the OnePlus – despite the terrible autofocus hunting issues – has the upper hand with the Electronic Image Stabilisation, natural colours, and fantastic sound quality. The Mi 10i would be my second pick. The sound recording and the overtly saturated colours on the iQOO Z3 are a huge issue.
Video – Front camera
The front camera on the OnePlus can shoot up to 60fps video at 1080p resolution but it is really, really soft. Plus the sound is extremely doctored. I wouldn’t touch this phone with a tent pole for shooting selfie videos. The Mi 10i is pretty decent in my opinion, with great sound, good colours, and decent stabilisation. The iQOO Z3 comes in second.
Basically, I am disappointed with the cameras on the OnePlus Nord CE 5G. It is definitely the biggest compromise that OnePlus has made on this phone. The Mi 10i and the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, along with Samsung’s phones like the M42, F62 etc are the better camera phone options in this price range. As for the iQOO Z3 5G, there are a couple of places where it does a good job but it needs some work too in the camera algorithm department.
What did you think? Let me know in the comments section below.
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