Good camera smartphones don’t have to be expensive, we all know that. But still, the Oppo Find X3 Pro impressed me so much earlier this year that I even dedicated a love letter to it. That was partly because Oppo was one of the first manufacturers to include an ultra-wide-angle camera of equal quality at the back. There was also the added benefit of being able to work in 10-bit color depth from the photo itself when editing.
Oppo has now once again sent us the Find X3 Lite, which I had the pleasure of holding a few months ago. As part of a co-operation with them, the manufacturer asked us to test the camera and I did not hesitate to grab the chance to do so. This is because as a point-and-shoot camera, I think the Find X3 Lite to be extremely suited to that task. But enough talking, let us take a closer look!
Oppo Find X3 Lite: What the camera can do
Before we turn to its photos, let’s take a quick look at the quad-camera of the Find X3 lite. This is technically different from its siblings, the Neo and Pro:
|Feature||Oppo Find X3 Lite|
|Main camera||64 megapixel | f/1.7 | 80-degree field of view|
|Ultra-wide angle||8 megapixel | f/f2.2|
|Macro camera||2 megapixel | f/2.4|
|Monochrome camera||2 megapixel | f/2.4|
|Front camera||32 megapixel | f/2.4|
Like most manufacturers, Oppo focuses on the main and ultra-wide cameras. The sensors for the macro and monochrome lenses offer a mere 2 megapixels resolution and are basically responsible for additional information used in computational photography. We’ll take a look at the macro images later, though. First of all, let’s begin with the photos under optimal lighting conditions.
Picture quality in daylight
To take good pictures, every camera needs light. So to get a first impression of a camera’s image quality, I prefer to go shoot in the sunshine. Here, we get nice colors and a high level of detail out of the Find X3 Lite. As usual when it comes to Oppo smartphones, you should stick to the default settings.
Oppo improved the image quality of the Find X3 Lite by default by reducing the 64 megapixels of the main sensor via pixel binning. You can also turn this off if you wish and take particularly large sized pictures. This only makes sense if, for example, you plan to hang a particularly large print of a photo in your living room.
The Find X3 Lite also uses the many megapixels internally to digitally enlarge pictures. This will of course, refer to the zoom, which remains exclusively digital in the Find X3 Lite. Even though this is usually the worse alternative, the smartphone surprises with solid zoom quality during the day. Below, you can see all zoom levels from ultra wide-angle to 20x digital zoom!
Of course, there is also a challenge that camera smartphones face during the day: Difficult lighting conditions caused by backlight. Here, I personally know that Oppo likes to use the HDR slider too much once in a while. When taking HDR shots, an attempt is made to equalize overexposed and underexposed areas. The result is images with a high dynamic range. But if you overdo it, the shots look artificial, almost as though they’ve been drawn by hand.
The HDR image of the Find X3 Lite still retains bright and dark areas rather well, especially when you compare it to the image on the right, it’s noticeable that the HDR mode isn’t particularly effective. Personally, I like this quite a bit. However, I also know many people who are disappointed by this feature on the smartphone. What is your preference?
Time for some selfies & portrait shots
Even though we usually don’t pay enough attention to it in our reviews: Selfies are one of the most popular use cases on smartphones for young people. This is kind of understandable: Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and other social media apps are, after all, full of shots that people take of themselves. Oppo’s portrait mode is now one of my favorites, beating out even Google, Samsung, and Apple in some cases.
Here you can see an image with portrait mode enabled. Of course, the lamp is not a human face. However Oppo’s software still manages to separate the background and foreground well. The algorithm that Oppo uses to blur the images also does its job quite well. Let’s take a look at the whole thing with selfies!
Unfortunately, there were no smiles, because that would only cloud our trained view! Above left, you can see a shot of the portrait mode using the main camera. It’s the sharpest of the lot if you were to look closely. The other three photos were taken with the selfie camera and on the bottom right, I couldn’t resist showing you Oppo’s “beautification mode”. Creepy, right?
Two special modes that I’m sure some of you will find interesting: Above, you can see a stitched photo taken using panorama mode. And below is a photo taken by the macro camera. I recommend you take a closer look at the photo above, because the macro shot is not very good. So it confirms my suspicion, which was already depicted above at the camera’s specifications. Oppo could have easily left out the macro camera.
Image quality at night
Let’s begin with the first night image! I took a picture of the Babylon Berlin on my way home by bike. Oppo’s night mode captures light for a few seconds in night mode. Dark areas can be brightened up by the smartphone this way, but motion blur is a given such as the person in the right of the photo. However, I think the lighting mood around the illuminated sign is really well done.
What bothers me about most night modes, however, is the very artificial look that you end up with. The words “Premiere Das Zelig” almost look as though they were rendered by a computer and the bicycles also look a bit unnatural.
We get a similar impression when we look at the next scene. When shooting the railway entrance, I thought the look of the building in the background was rather overpowering. The Find X3 Lite was able to balance the brightness levels very well, but again it created an overly digital look. The light source mainly came from the yellowish lamps, however, the smartphone was again able to capture the situation well.
Without night mode, the world looks much darker, but the shot looks a little bit more natural. However, it becomes quite obvious here why you should rather leave the night mode activated. As it was already quite cold in the evening, my hands were shivering that resulted in blurry shots. Here, the smartphone simply attempts to use a longer exposure time and not to add several pictures together. I would probably rather delete the result than keep it in memory.
Another interesting comparison to the daytime shots: there is a zoom in night mode. While the shot looks quite good at ultra wide-angle, the TV tower loses a lot of detail at a longer digital focal length. I don’t find the bottom two shots to be useful in any case.
Conclusion of the Find X3 lite camera
The Find X3 Lite is now available for $575 on Amazon! And for this price range, the camera is impressive, especially during the day. The smartphone scores points in many aspects, in which the big brother – the Find X3 Pro – also convinced me. That is, in the lighting mood as well as in the coloring, which looks really great in many subjects.
However, these findings carry a lot more weight during the day than they do at night. At night, the shots look too artificial in my eyes while the smartphone blends both dark and light areas too much. However, I know that many smartphone photographers prefer the effective and thus rather artificial night modes.
What I do not quite understand, despite the positive overall conclusion, are the additional sensors that Oppo has included at the back. With the macro camera, I could not achieve really good shots. When viewed on the PC, the photos were always disappointing. In the future, I would like to see either better sensors or a dedicated telephoto camera lens instead. So let’s wait for the Oppo Find X4 Lite, which is expected to be released early next year!
Disclaimer: This photo review is part of a co-operation with Oppo. The manufacturer had no influence on the results in this article.
* This article first appeared here