I did a Pixel 8 and OnePlus 11 camera test. Picking a winner…

A man holding a OnePlus 11 and Google Pixel 8.
OnePlus 11 (left) and Google Pixel 8 Andy Boxall/

Earlier in the year, OnePlus launched the OnePlus 11 with its Hasselblad-tuned camera. It impressed us at the time, but how does it compare to the brand new Google Pixel 8, released nearly nine months later? Both cost $700, so chances are if you’re looking at one, the other has also come into your search.

Our comparison answers the question which camera is better – and also shows whether Google’s computational photography is always better. The results may surprise you in one major category.

OnePlus 11 vs Pixel 8: Camera specifications

Camera modules of OnePlus 11 and Google Pixel 8.
OnePlus 11 (left) and Google Pixel 8 Andy Boxall/

The OnePlus 11 has three cameras on the back, starting with a 50-megapixel main camera equipped with optical and electronic stabilization, and then joined by a 48MP wide-angle camera and a 32MP portrait telephoto camera. Telephoto works when taking portrait shots, but there’s still a 2x option in the camera app. On the front, there is a 16MP selfie camera with electronic image stabilization.

The Google Pixel 8 has only two cameras on the back, a 50MP main camera and a 12MP wide-angle camera. The Pixel 8 has optical and electronic stabilization on the main camera, and both phones use a spectral sensor to improve color accuracy. Behind the hardware is Google’s software and photo-enhancing algorithms, while OnePlus has worked with Hasselblad to tune aspects of the camera. Pixel 8 has a 10.5MP selfie camera.

All photos were taken in automatic mode on several different days and in different weather conditions and then checked on a color-calibrated monitor. The final images have been resized here for ease of online viewing.

OnePlus 11 vs Pixel 8: Main camera

The first photo that we are going to see shows the characteristics that will continue to define the images in this section. The OnePlus 11 boosts colors and contrast and sets a brighter exposure level, while the Pixel 8 tones down the photo with more natural colors and better overall balance. The Pixel 8 also has great depth of field, which can be very appealing but can also affect the sharpness of the entire image.

Next, you can see how HDR differentiates the two, with the OnePlus 11 going for a far brighter, more colorful image, but at the expense of clouds and sky. This has been blown out in places, with the Pixel 8 again using a more natural balance to make the scene look as it was. Due to the heavy-handed approach, the OnePlus 11’s photo struggles with detail, especially at the top of the tree at the top left of the photo.

In the muffin photo, both cameras have great focus and depth of field, but the Pixel 8 has more accurate skin tone. i’m pasty but not extremely The OnePlus 11 feels as sticky as it gets. The muffin color in the Pixel 8 photo is also more realistic, and when you crop the image, it’s even slightly sharper.

I used tap-to-focus to force the camera to look at the Cayman Script, and the level of detail captured in both looks excellent. The picture again highlights the differences in colour, tone, saturation and exposure. The Pixel 8 photo is more realistic and represents the color of the car, plus the glass isn’t as exposed as the OnePlus 11 photo.

This doesn’t always work in the Pixel 8’s favor, as this photo of a leaf shows. The lovely autumn colors are beautifully realized by the OnePlus 11, and I don’t care that the path below is completely the wrong color; This looks far more attractive and representative than the Pixel 8’s more clinically accurate color.

The realism and balance of the Pixel 8 shines through in every photo, while the OnePlus 11’s excitement and eagerness to take really bright and colorful photos has an appeal all its own. Google’s camera takes clearer photos, but it may only be possible to recognize if you have the two side by side or are often cropped. However, while I prefer the OnePlus 11’s atmospheric shots, the Pixel 8’s amazing natural tones win out – but it’s really close.

Winner: Google Pixel 8

OnePlus 11 vs Pixel 8: Wide-angle camera

No wide-angle camera is great, but the Pixel 8 manages to extract a lot of detail through its sharper, more natural-looking photos. In the first photo, the same features that make the OnePlus 11’s main camera so attractive are in place, with bright, saturated colors giving the image a vibrant look. However, while the Pixel 8 slows things down a bit, there is more detail in the photo, especially when you zoom out.

However, it’s hard not to like the OnePlus 11’s colorful wide-angle photos, and they’re generally more vibrant than the Pixel 8’s wide-angle images. The blue sky in the Pixel 8 photo is noisier, and there’s more noticeable smoothing in some places. There are positives and negatives to both, and neither one really takes great wide-angle images, but it has to have an appeal. If the OnePlus 11 weren’t for detail being often lost in its wide-angle images compared to the Pixel 8, it would have won.

Winner: Draw

OnePlus 11 vs Pixel 8: 2x zoom

OnePlus calls 2x optical zoom, while the Pixel 8’s 2x zoom is technically optical quality, as it crops the image off the main sensor. But pixel count tells the whole story, as the 2x OnePlus 11 shot is 3136 x 2352, while the Pixel 8’s 2x photos are 4080 x 3072 pixels.

The first photo of a church clock shows the effect of high pixel count and Google’s software on this type of photo. The OnePlus 11 has clear edge enhancement and blurring on the edge of the building, but it’s completely missing from the sharper Pixel 8’s photo. This sharpness continues on bricks, clock faces and even trees.

However, as the second image shows, the Pixel 8 doesn’t always deliver great 2x photos. The washed-out image doesn’t have the pop of the OnePlus 11’s photo, but the level of detail in each is similar. The sun was low in the sky, which was having a negative impact on the Pixel 8’s photo.

However, the Pixel 8’s higher pixel count wins out most of the time, as you can see in this complex image. There’s a lot of blur in the OnePlus 11 image due to the leaves sticking together, but they’re much clearer in the Pixel 8 image. Sharpness means that cool, sunny daytime environments are more accurately portrayed by the Pixel 8. Like the wide-angle camera, neither phone takes great images, but the Pixel 8 definitely improves on the OnePlus 11.

Winner: Google Pixel 8

OnePlus 11 vs Pixel 8: Night Mode

The Pixel series has always been famous for amazing low-light photos, and while the Pixel 8’s white balance is immediately better than the OnePlus 11’s, it doesn’t go as far as you might expect. When you crop the first photo, the markings on the doors and windows are a little sharper in the Pixel 8’s photo, but the OnePlus image is crisp and clear, while the details in the Pixel 8 are blurred.

The second photo is surprising, as it was completely black, except for a light illuminating the church in the distance. Everything in the periphery was invisible to the naked eye, and while neither photo is great, the OnePlus 11 certainly coped with the environment better than the Pixel 8. The OnePlus 11 took more stable, less blurry, less noisy, less blurry photos – and it proves again that just because there’s a Night Mode photo brightDoesn’t make it better.

It’s hard to judge this round, but look at the background of our final image. The OnePlus 11 exposes the roof and telegraph pole better, and the brighter sections are just as clear as the Pixel 8’s photo. The OnePlus 11 is definitely more comfortable taking photos in very dark environments without artificially increasing exposure to unrealistic levels.

Winner: OnePlus 11

OnePlus 11 vs Pixel 8: Selfie camera

I didn’t like the performance of either selfie camera. The Pixel 8’s edge detection in portrait mode is unreliable, and images lack detail, but it can capture some beautiful colors. OnePlus 11 selfies can be horribly overexposed, and contrast levels distort skin tones. It doesn’t do edge recognition much better than the Pixel 8. It’s disappointing that the OnePlus 11 and Pixel 8 don’t put more emphasis on front camera performance.

Winner: Draw

The Google Pixel 8 wins, but only just

The back of the OnePlus 11 and Google Pixel 8.
OnePlus 11 (left) and Google Pixel 8 Andy Boxall/

The Google Pixel 8 won the comparison battle with two wins compared to the OnePlus 11’s single win, but two categories also ended in a draw, so overall it was surprisingly close. The OnePlus 11’s win in the Night Mode section came as a shock, showing that the Pixel 8’s reputation isn’t always deserved and doesn’t always make it the default best choice for low-light photography. Google’s software makes the editing process much more interesting, but that’s where the progress made over the last year can be found, rather than in photos from the main camera.

If you’re interested in purchasing either of these phones, it’s worth noting that both prioritize the main camera and are disappointed by the weak performance of the wide-angle, zoom, and selfie cameras. If you want more colors and more HDR boost, the OnePlus 11 will probably be the better choice. Pixel 8 magic happens when you take photos, and you can experiment with the Magic Editor and Magic Eraser.

Before you decide, be sure to read our in-depth reviews of the OnePlus 11 and Pixel 8 and see how I felt about them when I returned to OnePlus phones recently. It’s also fun to see how the Google Pixel 7 compares to the OnePlus 11 in camera testing and see how software and hardware performance has changed since February 2023.

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