Julian Chokkattu/Digital TrendsThe worth of flagship smartphones continues to rise, nevertheless it’s extra evident than ever earlier than that you do not want to spend a lot to get a great smartphone. The midrange market is booming with wonderful telephones which can be simply as succesful, not simply in efficiency, however with digicam prowess too. For this digicam shootout, there’s a choice of midrange telephones starting from as little as $350 all the way in which to $669.
I’m pitting the Samsung Galaxy A50, Google Pixel 3a, Asus ZenFone 6, and OnePlus 7 Pro all towards one another to seek out out which digicam is one of the best.
Camera specs
Let’s begin with a quick rundown of what the digicam specs are for all these telephones. Starting with essentially the most inexpensive, the Samsung Galaxy A50 ($350) has a triple-lens system, however solely two can actively be used. The 25-megapixel lens with an f/1.7 aperture and 8-megapixel wide-angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture are paired with a 5-megapixel depth digicam with an f/2.2 aperture. The latter lens is used to seize depth info for Samsung’s portrait mode, known as Live Focus. Over on the entrance, there’s a 25-megapixel f/2.0 lens.
Next up is the $400 Google Pixel 3a. It has a easy setup of a single 12.2-megapixel lens with an f/1.8 aperture. The entrance digicam has 8 megapixels, with an f/2.0 aperture. What makes this cellphone particular is it has the identical digicam imaging software program because the flagship Google Pixel 3, minus the Pixel Visual Core chip, which improves processing.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital TrendsThen comes the $500 Asus ZenFone 6 with a surprisingly highly effective digicam that flips from the again to the entrance whenever you need to take a selfie. It’s a 48-megapixel lens with an f/1.79 aperture, and it’s paired with a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens.
Finally, now we have the $669 OnePlus 7 Pro. It has a triple-camera system on the rear, beginning with a 48-megapixel with an f/1.6 aperture. It’s joined by an 8-megapixel telephoto lens for 3x optical zoom with an f/2.4 aperture, in addition to a 16-megapixel wide-angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture. It’s the one considered one of these telephones on this take a look at with an optical zoom possibility.
Disclaimer
Now, for our commonplace disclaimer: this isn’t a scientific take a look at. I spent a full day snapping photos with these telephones in New York City and tried to make sure the pictures are as related as potential with the identical circumstances for all telephones, and I used a high-quality color-calibrated monitor to evaluate the outcomes.
Photography can be subjective, which signifies that my favourite photographs (and subsequently the winners) will not be the identical as yours, and that’s fantastic. All of those cameras are fairly good, if not nice, contemplating the value.
Daylight
Prospect Park

Pixel 3a Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

OnePlus 7 Pro Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

ZenFone 6 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Galaxy A50 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

We begin at a little bit lake in the midst of Prospect Park in Brooklyn. It’s an exquisite day with clouds overhead and a deep blue sky. The Galaxy A50’s picture has the least quantity of element — zoom in and take a look at the bushes — and it’s additionally fairly heat. The bushes are additionally far too inexperienced.
The ZenFone 6 comes third. There’s good element, however the picture once more is simply too heat, and the bushes are a lime inexperienced reasonably than the darkish inexperienced in actual life. It’s between the Pixel 3a and the OnePlus 7 Pro, and my desire falls with the previous due to its larger distinction. Look on the clouds, particularly those on the left, and also you’ll see extra definition and character. I just like the extra correct coloration of the bushes right here, which helps make the water seem like water and never like algae. These are all wonderful photographs, however the Pixel 3a comes out on high.
Winner: Google Pixel 3a
Portrait of a girl

ZenFone 6 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Galaxy A50 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

OnePlus 7 Pro Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Pixel 3a Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Here’s one of many tougher scenes for many telephones lately, and it’s shot utilizing portrait mode, so it’s even harder. There’s a really brilliant background, with a topic dealing with away from the sunshine. This is the place HDR comes into play to make sure the complete photograph is nicely uncovered. None of the cameras right here do an ideal job.
The Galaxy A50, whereas capturing the topic nicely with a good blur define, exposes the complete background — it’s inconceivable to repair even when modifying. The Pixel 3a does a good job attempting to maintain the background in test; it does a great job including blur across the define, however look carefully on the topic’s face and also you’ll see it’s grainy. The OnePlus 7 Pro does rather well with the background — it’s not too over-exposed — however the complete picture is heat.
The Asus ZenFone 6 does one of the best job with the background (it additionally doesn’t crop it as very like the Pixel or the OnePlus), the blur impact is sweet, and the one draw back is the topic’s face, which is shrouded in darkness. The colours are wonderful, although. I used to be in a position to edit the picture to deliver out the topic’s face from the darkish, and it appears to be like wonderful. But I used to be additionally in a position to edit the OnePlus 7 Pro’s photograph to deliver down the nice and cozy tones, for extra correct white stability, and it additionally regarded nice. I like each pictures, particularly after the edit, and I’ll have to go away this as a tie between the 2.
Winner: Tie, Asus ZenFone 6 and OnePlus 7 Pro
A spot of lunch

OnePlus 7 Pro Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Galaxy A50 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Pixel 3a Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

ZenFone 6 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Time for a spot of lunch at Ha Noi Vietnamese Kitchen in Park Slope. Immediately let’s low cost the Galaxy A50. The photograph has poor white stability with an unnaturally inexperienced tone. It comes down the opposite three, all of that are good. The OnePlus 7 Pro edges out due to stronger element — look carefully on the peanut crumbs over the noodles and also you’ll discover they’re sharper. The Pixel 3a’s photograph could also be extra life like, however I’d desire to share the OnePlus’ picture as a result of the meals pops out a little bit extra. The ZenFone’s weak level is that it goes too cool with the white stability.
The Pixel 3a and ZenFone 6’s photographs might be adjusted when modifying, however the OnePlus 7 Pro’s photograph is the one I’d share straight out of the digicam.
Winner: OnePlus 7 Pro
Zooming in

Pixel 3a Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

OnePlus 7 Pro Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Galaxy A50 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

ZenFone 6 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Only one cellphone on this grouping has an optical zoom, and that’s the OnePlus 7 Pro. It provides versatility, permitting you to take higher-quality photographs of faraway objects. But some telephones just like the Pixel 3a use synthetic intelligence to enhance the standard of digitally-zoomed photographs. Here, I zoomed into the NYPD floodlight. There are solely two photographs I’d share, and they’re the OnePlus and Pixel outcomes.
The ZenFone’s picture is flat and under-exposed, although element is surprisingly respectable. The Galaxy A50 overexposes the background, and it’s straightforward to see the pixels within the photographs. You can see the Pixel 3a’s photograph is a bit over-sharpened, particularly with the bushes within the background, however the element is sweet and it does a wonderful job with distinction, and retaining the sky in test. It’s a well-exposed photograph.
But the OnePlus 7 Pro exhibits off why a telephoto lens will at all times win. You can zoom in near the NYPD brand and also you’ll see it clearly. I do assume the photograph might use some distinction, however that may be added in submit. OnePlus takes the cake.
Winner: OnePlus 7 Pro
Widening gaze

1.
Galaxy A50
2.
ZenFone 6
3.
OnePlus 7 Pro
Now right here’s a take a look at the place the Pixel 3a must be faraway from the equation, because it’s the one cellphone and not using a wide-angle digicam on this take a look at. The Galaxy A50, OnePlus 7 Pro, and ZenFone 6 all have one, and now that we’ve examined the zoom capabilities, it’s time to take a look at the wide-angle lens. We’re again at Prospect Park.
Zoom in on the outcomes and the A50 as soon as once more has the weakest element, in addition to essentially the most distortion. But the OnePlus 7 Pro wins but once more, for related causes as to why the A50 and the ZenFone 6 took the final place in our first take a look at. The OnePlus 7 Pro has a extra outlined sky, isn’t as heat, and the colour of the bushes appears to be like extra pure. It is also the sharpest.
Winner: OnePlus 7 Pro
A selfie brilliant and early

1.
Galaxy A50
2.
OnePlus 7 Pro
3.
ZenFone 6
4.
Pixel 3a
Selfie time! These are all sturdy photographs, however the Pixel 3a simply has one of the best colours together with a well-exposed background.  The colours are a bit muted on the A50, and the blue sky within the background is washed out. The ZenFone 6 unnecessarily and inaccurately provides heat, for some cause, although it’s the second-best picture right here. It has wonderful pure blur. The OnePlus 7 Pro doesn’t have one of the best white stability on this photograph, additionally being a bit heat.
Winner: Google Pixel 3a
A portrait-mode selfie

OnePlus 7 Pro Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Galaxy A50 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

ZenFone 6 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Pixel 3a Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Fret not, Asus followers, as a result of the ZenFone 6 takes the win with the identical photograph however in portrait mode. The Pixel 3a photograph is sweet, although the background is a bit under-exposed. It messes up a little bit with the blur define of the topic, and it may be seen clearly on the highest proper of the woman’s hair. The Galaxy A50 picture is a bit over-exposed however in any other case surprisingly good. The OnePlus 7 Pro doesn’t have one of the best pores and skin tone, and the background sky is totally white as a substitute of blue.
The ZenFone 6’s portrait mode photograph comes out on high. It’s well-exposed throughout, has a wonderful blur define, a powerful bokeh impact, and good colours.
Winner: Asus ZenFone 6
Night
Most smartphone cameras battle in low gentle, and that’s very true with midrange and funds telephones. Most of our low-light pictures come from Macau Trading Company, a Portuguese and Chinese restaurant in Lower Manhattan.
Girl at evening

Galaxy A50 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

OnePlus 7 Pro Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Pixel 3a Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

ZenFone 6 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Let’s begin with the again of the pack. The Galaxy A50 fails to impress with muted and washed-out colours, although element is respectable. The ZenFone 6’s picture is a bit too darkish, although the background coloration is essentially the most correct. The Pixel 3a’s photograph has sturdy element however on the entire it’s too crimson. The OnePlus 7 Pro fixes this with a way more correct pores and skin tone coloration. There’s additionally good element. It’s the winner.
Winner: OnePlus 7 Pro
Portrait in a restaurant

OnePlus 7 Pro Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

ZenFone 6 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Pixel 3a Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Galaxy A50 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

How about utilizing portrait mode at evening? The OnePlus 7 Pro comes surprisingly final right here as a result of it failed so as to add a depth impact in any respect; there wasn’t sufficient gentle. As you may see, my face is blurred out as nicely, with the main target resting on the background. Then it’s the A50, with its unusually heat colours and poor element. The blur define is respectable, although. The ZenFone 6 does a fantastic job with the blur, and the define is sort of impeccable. It’s only a bit dim.
The Pixel 3a wins narrowly, with a powerful blur define, bokeh impact, and good colours. The focus is a little bit tender, however you may even see the colour of my glasses for those who look carefully.
Winner: Google Pixel 3a
Lobster noodles

Pixel 3a Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

OnePlus 7 Pro Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Galaxy A50 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

ZenFone 6 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

We all wish to take photographs of our meals, and this may be difficult at evening or inside a restaurant when there isn’t sufficient gentle. All of those telephones did nicely right here, however the OnePlus 7 Pro is the one I’d share of the lot. It has one of the best mix of white stability, inviting coloration, and robust element. The Galaxy A50’s picture is simply too crimson, the Pixel 3a’s not colourful sufficient, and the Asus’ is heat on the entire.
Winner: OnePlus 7 Pro
Inside the restaurant

Pixel 3a Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

OnePlus 7 Pro Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Galaxy A50 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

ZenFone 6 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

I usually search for ambiance in low-light photographs, and it’s the Pixel 3a’s picture that comes the closest to replicating the appear and feel of Macau Trading Company. It’s darkish, however not too darkish. It’s a little bit on the nice and cozy aspect, however I really like how the fading daylight creeps in from the home windows and displays on the ceiling. The element right here is spectacular — you may make out the face of the person in glasses within the center-right, all the way in which within the again.
The Galaxy A50’s photograph makes an attempt to white stability the picture, which is ok, nevertheless it loses all character and element is poor. The ZenFone 6’s photograph struggles with element right here, as does the OnePlus 7 Pro, although to not the identical extent. The OnePlus’ photograph is just not as atmospheric because the Pixel 3a’s end result.
Winner: Google Pixel 3a
Night Mode

1.
Pixel 3a
2.
OnePlus 7 Pro
3.
ZenFone 6
Most smartphones have a “Night Mode,” which takes a number of pictures in lengthy publicity and stitches them collectively to create a well-exposed photograph. We’re leaving out the Galaxy A50 right here, because it doesn’t have a devoted Night Mode (within the class above, the A50 used the Night Mode mechanically from Scene Optimizer).
I do know I talked of ambiance earlier, however there’s one thing in regards to the Pixel 3a’s Night Sight photograph that has me enamored. I count on it’s largely to do with the blue gentle that’s creeping in from the home windows once more, nevertheless it additionally impresses with the sheer quantity of element. It goes a bit aggressive with white stability and loses the unique ambiance and temper, however that is equally a shocking photograph. If I have been to share this picture, I’d maybe add some heat to it.
The OnePlus 7 Pro’s photograph is simply too heat and doesn’t have a cool impact with the blue gentle from the home windows, its element is simply as sturdy because the Pixel 3a although. I attempted to tone down the heat afterward, however I couldn’t obtain the end result I needed as simply as I might with the Pixel 3a. Meanwhile, the ZenFone 6 is a substantial enchancment over the unique photograph with out Night Mode, however the element is the weakest. It’s nonetheless a great photograph.
Winner: Google Pixel 3a
Low-light zoom

Galaxy A50 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Pixel 3a Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

OnePlus 7 Pro Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

ZenFone 6 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Similar to our zoom take a look at within the daylight, let’s see the way it fares at evening. Remember, solely the OnePlus 7 Pro has an optical zoom lens.
As such, it takes the win, however not with out fierce competitors from the Pixel 3a. The OnePlus edges out with cleaner particulars and an total larger high quality photograph. The HDR is healthier too. The Pixel 3a performs admirably and lights up the constructing on the appropriate a little bit higher. The ZenFone 6’s picture is simply too grainy, as is the A50’s photograph, although it’s a lot worse.
Winner: OnePlus 7 Pro
Wide-angle in Chinatown

ZenFone 6 (Night Mode) Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Galaxy A50 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

One Plus 7 Pro Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Pixel 3a (Night Sight) Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Let’s take a look at the wide-angle digicam at evening once more as nicely. I’ve determined to make use of the devoted Night Mode on all these telephones if out there, and I’ve even thrown within the Pixel 3a regardless of it not having a wide-angle lens. I received’t be counting it as an actual contender on this class, although.
I tapped on the middle crimson circles hanging on high of the road, and instantly you may see the OnePlus 7 Pro messes up and doesn’t get the appropriate focus; oh and the photograph’s far too darkish. The A50 over-exposes the lights and washes out all the colours from the road. The ZenFone 6 takes a straightforward win. There’s sturdy element and colours are vibrant.
If the Pixel 3a had a wide-angle lens, it will in all probability take the win, because it has essentially the most beautiful photograph of all. It captures precisely the kind of ambiance I’d need in a photograph of this road.
Winner: Asus ZenFone 6
Selfies in the dead of night

OnePlus 7 Pro Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Pixel 3a Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Galaxy A50 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

ZenFone 6 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Some telephones have a Night Mode that works on the front-facing digicam as nicely. In the case of the 4 telephones right here, that’s the Pixel 3a and the Asus ZenFone 6, so we’re evaluating their outcomes towards the usual mode on the OnePlus 7 Pro and the Galaxy A50.
Most of those selfies are surprisingly sturdy, contemplating they have been captured in a dimly-lit room. The A50’s photograph is washed-out as normal, and whereas the ZenFone 6’s Night Mode selfie has extra element, it is also a bit too over-exposed, grainy, and missing in coloration. The OnePlus 7 Pro and Pixel 3a photographs are one of the best and are fairly comparable, although the OnePlus loses out as a result of barely hotter tones and reddish pores and skin coloration. The denim jacket is the proper of blue within the Pixel 3a’s picture.
Winner: Google Pixel 3a
Portrait-mode selfies at evening

Galaxy A50 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

OnePlus 7 Pro Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Pixel 3a Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

ZenFone 6 Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Our ultimate take a look at ends with the identical photograph, however utilizing portrait mode. It’s a straightforward win for the OnePlus 7 Pro, because it manages to maintain me well-exposed. The Pixel 3a shot makes my pores and skin crimson and it’s dim; the ZenFone 6’s photograph is simply too darkish, and the A50 washes issues out but once more.
Winner: OnePlus 7 Pro
Overall winner: OnePlus 7 Pro
It’s a detailed shave between the OnePlus 7 Pro and the Google Pixel 3a, however OnePlus takes the crown with eight whole wins. That leaves the Pixel 3a with six wins, the ZenFone 6 with 3, and none for the Samsung Galaxy A50. I’d add that sheer versatility helped the OnePlus cellphone win, because the Pixel 3a couldn’t compete in a couple of sections and not using a wide-angle or telephoto lens; however I’d say that’s Google’s personal fault for not including a couple of lens to its cellphone — in any case, Samsung might do it (although with disappointing outcomes).
Do take into account the pricing of those telephones. Considering the Pixel 3a got here near dethroning the OnePlus 7 Pro — it prices $269 much less — I’d say it’s wonderful worth if the digicam is high of thoughts. The ZenFone 6 is simply $100 greater than the Pixel cellphone, and its digicam carried out admirably right here. You additionally get a far superior processor and battery capability inside, that are good causes to purchase it over the Pixel 3a. It’s the Galaxy A50 that lags behind. The digicam might be respectable, nevertheless it doesn’t match the caliber of the remainder of the telephones. Otherwise, it’s matched in all else however software program to the Pixel 3a.
Whatever your funds is, you’ll be joyful for essentially the most half with any of those telephones. But if you need one of the best and most versatile cameras with out having to drop flagship costs, your greatest choices are clearly the OnePlus 7 Pro and the Google Pixel 3a.

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