The OnePlus 6 camera comes with some nifty features and performs well Image: T2 Online
OnePlus seems to have pushed all the right buttons with the OnePlus 6, with the device winning over users throughout the world. The Chinese company's 2018 flagship presents a terrific value for money and trades blows with flagships such as Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ and Apple iPhone X. And one of the major reasons the OnePlus 6 is able to stand up to its much higher-priced competition is because of a solid camera implementation.
The smartphone giant seems to have learnt its lesson from last year's OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T, which left users somewhat dissatisfied with the camera department. The OnePlus 6, however, made some rapid strides in the right direction. In a smartphone market obsessed with camera quality, the OnePlus 6 reportedly selling over one million units within just 22 days of launch is perhaps a testimony to a job well done on OnePlus's part.
To be objective, the OnePlus 6 camera doesn't quite hit the highs some of the premium flagships do, but it comes mighty close for a much attractive price — exactly what a flagship killer is meant to do. Now that we have established that the OnePlus 6 has all the tools of the trade, the question arises — 'Do we know how to use them to their full potential?' With a host of features packed into it, owners, especially first-time OnePlus users, may find it overwhelming to navigate through the options and make the best of the very-potent photography tools the OnePlus 6 has to offer.
So, T2 Online went through all the nooks and corners and pulled down every drop-down menu we could find in the OnePlus 6 camera app to bring you some tips, tricks and hacks to best use the very-able photography tools the smartphone has to offer. We will be dealing with only still photography in this section.
1. Focus and exposure
You can tap on the screen to manually change focus
Now, the autofocus and automatic exposure calibration on the OnePlus 6 works pretty well on its own. But if you want to fine tune the scene some more, tap on the exact position you want to focus on on the screen to lock the camera's focus. Once it's done, you will be given the option to change the exposure of the image with a slider just beside the focus point. Slide it up to make the scene brighter and down to make it dimmer. You can play around and come up with some very interesting applications.
2. Fix focus and exposure (AE/AF Lock)
Long pressing to focus triggers the AE/AF lock
Long pressing a point on the screen triggers AE/AF lock or in simpler terms, locks the focus and exposure. Using the lock is highly recommended if you are taking a video or taking a photograph with a lot of movement in the background or around the subject. This ensures the camera doesn't auto adjust its settings for changing light conditions consistently or loses focus when something new moves into the frame.
2. Portrait and Photo Mode
The camera app presents users with three modes
Once you open the camera app, you are presented with three options — Photo, Video and Portrait. Now the Video mode is pretty much self-explanatory. The Portrait Mode and Photo Mode are both meant for taking still photos and the applications of both may be a bit confusing. Let us explain. The Photo Mode is pretty much what you are used to as a normal camera, while the Portrait Mode is specialised to focus on a subject and blur out everything around to make the subject pop as much as possible. So, don't expect Portrait Mode to look very natural but it does add a lot of drama.
Also, as the name suggests, the mode is best used in portrait mode i.e while holding the phone vertically. It works decently while taking horizontal photographs too but if given a choice, use it for portrait photographs of a single subject. Make sure the background is as colourful and vibrant as possible for best results.
3. Bokeh effects in Portrait Mode
While in the Portrait Mode, check the top right corner for presets to determine the shape of the bokeh lights
Now, blurring out the background in subjects in Portrait Mode opens up the option of bokeh lights. The effect is pretty cool and works really well with a background featuring light sources which are not too bright. Reflective or shiny materials also work pretty well.
The OnePlus 6 Portrait Mode has an interesting option of letting users choose what shapes the bokeh lights take. When in the Portrait Mode, take a look at the top right of the screen and you will find an option to choose between three presets. If you are feeling adventurous, try it out for some over-the-top yet swanky effects to your photos. Here's an example.
The bokeh effects only appear after the photo has been taken
Do note, you won't be able to see the effects on the screen before taking the photograph. It will only appear once the photograph has been taken.
4. Save normal photos in Portrait Mode
The option is under the Camera Settings menu
The Portrait Mode is a bit of a hit or miss. So, in case you don't like the blurring effects, OnePlus has a nice option to save the normal version of the photograph (without any effects) as well. To do this, open Camera Settings and enable the Save Normal Photo option.
5. Find the Camera Settings
The OnePlus 6 Camera Settings may be a little tricky to find for new users
For OnePlus newbies, locating the settings option in the Camera app may be a bit of a problem. So here's how to find it. While in the Camera app, swipe up and you will see the Settings cog wheel on the top right. Click it to access the Settings menu.
6. Turn on the Grid
The grids help in composing your shot
The OnePlus 6 gives the option to turn on multiple grid systems to help users compose their shots. It can be found inside the Settings Menu. We highly recommend the Golden Grid option.
7. Pro Mode for full manual control
The Pro Mode gives access to full manual controls
If you fancy yourself as a photographer and think you know what you are doing, you might want to shoot in Pro Mode. Swipe up on the camera app and press on Pro Mode to access the UI. It gives you much better manual control over all the picture settings, including ISO, Exposure, White Balance, Focus, etc.
8. Shoot in RAW
RAW mode gives you much better control while editing the photo later on
If you are good with Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, or any other advanced post-processing software, you may want to shoot in RAW. You can turn on the option in Pro Mode (second option on the top settings panel in Pro Mode). RAW files take up much more space than normal jpeg files but offer much better quality and a lot more freedom while editing.
9. Use Customised presets
You can save up to two customised presets
If you shoot in known lightning conditions often and think you have figured out the perfect manual settings for it, you can save the settings as a preset to use at a later time. You can save up to two customised presets. The option can be triggered by using the C icon on the top settings panel of the Pro Mode.
10. Use different focus and exposure points
You can move around the outer circle of the focus circle to change the reference exposure point
When you focus manually on a point by tapping on the screen, the software tries to determine the exposure of the entire photo based on it. In short, the camera tries to keep that single point perfectly exposed and adjusts the rest of the scenes accordingly. The OnePlus 6 Pro Mode gives you the option to separate the focal point and exposure when you take your shots. To do this, press on the screen to focus. Once you are locked in, drag the outer circle to another position of the scene to make it the point of reference to determine the exposure of the shot. It's an advanced technique but can give wonderful results when used well.