Monday, June 14, 2021
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Oppo Find X3 Pro

Instead of following the crowd when it comes to cameras, the Find X3 Pro does things a little differently. Extreme zoom is out, and unbeatable close-ups are in, with one of its four lenses dedicated to microphotography – subjects so small they can’t be seen with the human eye.

Pixel count isn’t critical here, but light is, seeing as you need to press the phone right up against whatever you’re snapping to get things in focus. A built-in LED ring flash gets the job done nicely. You still need a steady hand, and it doesn’t half make you paranoid about scratching the glass when shooting rougher surfaces, but the results are almost otherworldly at times. It’s great fun, if a bit gimmicky.

Good thing the other cameras are up to snuff, then. Both the main and ultrawide sensors use the same 50MP, f/1.8 Sony sensor, which means quality is identical. Colour, clarity and dynamic range are an exact match when swapping between the two, and the high pixel count means shots are more detailed than just about any other phone with an ultrawide lens.

The main sensor can of course take glorious photos in well-lit, outdoor scenes – what modern flagship worth its salt can’t? It will happily trade blows with the iPhone 12 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and Google Pixel 5, with slightly different approaches to dynamic range and colour temperature. The Oppo leans a little towards vibrant colour, though not to the extent of Samsung. It excels at bokeh blur, and there’s no denying the detail on offer from the pixel-binned 12.5MP images.

The physically smaller image sensor found here arguably gives Samsung and Apple rivals the advantage in low light, but a dedicated night mode does a lot to restore the balance. Realism is prioritised, so pictures are often dimmer than the competition, but detail is impressive and ensures highlights like street lamps aren’t entirely blown out by the multi-exposure algorithm.

A 32MP selfie camera up front is decent enough, though heavy backlighting can throw up some exposure inconsistencies. Detail is very good in all lighting conditions, and it avoids dramatic skin smoothing right out of the box. (The option is there if you want it, of course. But who does?).

The one area that might come as a disappointment is the 13MP telephoto lens. Last year’s Find X2 Pro had a clever periscope setup that allowed for 5x optical and 60x digital zoom, but because Oppo reckons few phone owners ever go past 5x, this year’s handset gets 2x optical, 5x hybrid and 20x digital. 2X shots comfortably hold their own against rivals, but noise quickly starts to creep in at 5x, and the colour profile seems to shift more wildly. 10X pics are usable, but are definitely at a disadvantage to phones like the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Ultimately which you prefer will dictate which phone you buy: the S21 will let you get closer to your subjects, but the Find X3 Pro fits more into every shot thanks to that superior ultrawide. 

Oppo Find X3 Pro image samples 

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