OnePlus 6T, or as I’d like to call it the budget flagship, is one of the most powerful smartphones of 2018. And even in 2019, we can see OnePlus 6T trending in the news because of its huge popularity and big fanbase.
One of the reasons that makes the OnePlus 6T standout from other Android phones is the night mode built into its camera – which the company likes to call “NightScape.”
Now, it goes without saying that comparisons will be made with the Night Sight mode on Google Pixel 3. That’s because Google kind of started this whole trend of removing the darkness from our lives. Hopefully.
However, when comparing 6T with Pixel 3, somewhere in my mind I think that it’s kind of expected that Pixel 3 would win the game most of the time. After all, it’s priced almost double that of 6T, and also, it would be a shame for Google if that doesn’t happen.
But a more fair comparison could be done with the Pixel 2 XL, which has also got Night Sight through a software update. Yes, it’s the software that does all the job. Also, one considerable reason that makes me think so is that both the phones now have almost the same price tag.
Now, before I compare the two phones, I want you to look at some images of 6T’s Auto mode and the night mode so that you get a basic idea of how it works.
Note: The images used for comparison have been compressed to keep a cap on their size, but this might result in the loss of image quality and detail.
Here’s the Google Drive link of all the images used in this article in full quality.
If you want to get a better idea of this camera comparison, then you can also watch this video:
OnePlus 6T NightScape Vs Auto Mode
Now, as usual, the first thing anyone would want to do is try the Nightscape mode in a near dark place. I don’t think I need to explain what’s going on in the Images A, B, C, D down below.
But one thing you should note is that in the auto mode, the scene is looking darker than the real life, and that is why you’re seeing this drastic difference between the photos.
Let’s take another picture (Image E). Now, it is not exactly a dark place and here the Nightscape mode is trying to balance the light across the entire scene.
And yes, it’s making the image look somewhat dull and flat but at the same time, it’s adding more detail to it. Like you can see in the Image F below that the text on the whiteboard at the back is more clear in the Nightscape image.
However, one area where I found 6T struggling is when you have an object in the frame and it’s not stable. For instance, you can see that Cap in Image G is looking blurry, all because my hand was not that extra stable while clicking the photo.
Obviously, when he’s standing somewhere (Image H), the Nightscape mode is able to make him look much sharper.
OnePlus 6T NightScape Vs Pixel 2 XL Night Sight
Now, let me show you some more images so that we can compare the night modes on OnePlus 6T and Pixel 2 XL. So, in the Image I, you can see the colors of Pixel 2’s image are more on the natural side and also it has more detail. Like, if you look at the manhole cover (1), you can see that the pattern is more visible in Pixel 2 XL’s photo.
Also, check the fencing (2) at the back. Also, you can see the pattern on the right side of the photos (3), it’s also sharper in Pixel 2 XL’s photo.
However, there is one area where 6T takes the lead. It’s trying to reduce the glare on the lit part of the photo. So, you can see that the text is more visible (4), although its edges are not as sharp. You’ll notice this thing in almost every image that you compare.
For instance, the same is happening in Image J. You can see that the 6T has reduced the light intensity and the leaves that are closer to the light are more visible (1).
Now, this is a very tough situation for cameras when there is a light source in the frame. But still, the trunk of the tree is looking much better in Pixel 2’s image. Also, you can check the board on the left (2), and also the ground (3), it’s more detailed.
Here, if I remove the light source from the photos (Image K), the Pixel 2 XL’s image is still giving better results. It is more dynamic, you have deeper blacks, and the color shades are more vibrant. Also, Pixel 2 XL has created a darker shadow of the tree, and you can still see the leaves lying on the ground more clearly.
Now, it’s not the case that 6T’s Nightscape mode is losing every time. For example, take a look at Image L.
Here, 6T has done a better job in terms of sharpness than Pixel 2, although the entire photo has a yellowish tint. But if you take a closer look at the flowers, you can see that Pixel 2 XL’s image is all whitewashed while 6T has retained the shadows on the leaves.
Now, if we compare images of humans, you can see that my friend is blurred out in the image taken by 6T (Image M).
Also, if you look at Image N, it’s kind of a similar story going on. You can immediately see the difference in the overall brightness of the photos.
But, it’s somewhat expected because the mode is not made for humans and that’s why the name is ‘Nightscape’. It means the mode is made for landscape photography at night.
Anyway, here in the Image O you can see that Captain America is sharper in the photo captured by OnePlus 6T.
I can’t pick a winner here because this is the point where different night modes seem to struggle. So what we can do is we can be as stable as possible and hope that the picture would be fine.
Moving on, you might have realized that the Nightscape mode on 6T isn’t that good. I mean it seems to be a game of hit and trial, the images look cartoonish and seriously it needs a lot of improvement.
OnePlus 6T NightScape vs GCam
Now, let’s check out some photos that I took using the GCam Mod on the OnePlus 6T. For those who don’t know, GCam is the unofficial port of the Google Camera app that you find of Pixel phones.
It brings all the camera features, including the Night Sight and Portrait mode on to other Android devices. You can download Gcam for OnePlus 6T using this link.
So in this same photo outside the mall (Image P), you’ll be surprised to see how just changing the software alone can make a lot of difference. I used the same OnePlus 6T camera setup, but the two images seem as if they’re taken on different phones.
For example, if you look at the fence (2), the Gcam app surely beats the stock camera app on 6T. Also, here (3) you can see the drastic changes in the sharpness levels.
One thing that hasn’t changed is that it is still very hard for Gcam to show the objects that are illuminated that are bright. And here (4) also the OP6T’s Nightscape is showing the text more clearly.
Similarly, in Image Q, you can get deeper blacks with extra detail that sadly, OnePlus 6T can’t give you with its stock camera app.
If we talk about humans and low light scenes, the Gcam mod is giving a tough fight. Like, you can see in Image R, my GCam has made my friend look much better.
But OnePlus’ Nightscape is also trying hard, like the Image S. Its photo is not that bright but you can see the text on the notebook.
Also, here in the Image T, Captain America is looking better in 6T’s photo. But the Gcam photo is looking brighter and you can also see the chair in the background.
So, it’s clear that we shouldn’t blame the camera hardware on OP6T, and I think it’s quite capable. In fact, it’s the Nightscape technology that needs a lot of improvement.
On the other hand, Night Sight has to improve on making brighter objects sharper. So I think Google needs to work on that part.
One downside of OnePlus 6T’s Nightscape mode is it doesn’t work on the front side. Yes, it doesn’t work on the front camera. So, what you can do is you can either use the Gcam mod or you can live with it if you don’t use the front camera that often.
Anyway, if I need to make one choice between 6T and Pixel 2 XL, certainly my inclination would be towards the Pixel 2 XL, even though you can put the Google Camera on 6T.
Pixel’s reproduction of natural colors is the reason why I like Pixel’s camera in general. But again, that’s my opinion and at the end of the day, the choice is yours.
So, which one do you want to pick? Share your views in the comments section and keep reading Fossbytes.