I’ve personally covered Oppo’s last major announcements for devices like the Oppo R5 and Oppo N3, which I also reviewed eventually, and now the Oppo R7. In the case of the first two, you’ll notice that my thoughts on their cameras (R5, N3) were what I’d call ok, but not on par with some of the smartphone cameras that flagships used in 2014. 2015 is a different animal, with devices like the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4 leave very little room for mediocrity. Oppo spent a great deal of time boasting the improvements in camera quality with its new Oppo R7 and R7 Plus, and it’s time to talk about the smaller of the two.
When it comes to the spec sheet, the primary camera of the Oppo R7 is a 13-megapixel Samsung 3M2 sensor with ISOCELL technology and f/2.2 aperture. The selfie camera on the other hand is an 8 megapixel OmniVision OV8858 sensor with f/2.4 aperture. Oppo also bundles its usual bevy of shooting modes like: Normal, Ultra HD, Colorful night, Colorful filters, Beautify, Expert mode, HDR, Panorama Audio photo, GIF, Double exposure, Slow shutter, Super Macro, Raw, Time-lapse, Slow-mo, and both cameras are capable of 1080p video.
The company has decided to change its viewfinder experience dramatically though, and if you find any resemblance with what iOS provides in the view finder, we don’t blame you.
It’s really hard for a smartphone in the category of the Oppo R7 to do daylight photography wrong, and that’s the case here. It reminds me a lot of the iPhone 6, which is actually a good thing, since photos are what I’d like to call “reliable.” I do notice some major improvements in HDR, where in previous Oppo devices the results were either over exposed, or lost contrast. Photos now show decent saturation and contrast in most scenarios.
Sadly this is 2015, so there is still some room for improvement with this primary camera in comparison to the devices it’s trying to compete with. Once you pull the photos out and zoom into them, you will notice flat colors in some cases, and in others flat sharpening on the edges, compression artifacts, and noise. To be fair though, this trend to go flat is common on devices like the iPhone, so if you’re ok with iPhone photos, you’ll be happy here.
Low light photos:
Following the trend of the Oppo R5, I’m also going to consider this Oppo R7 camera as decent in low light. The f/2.2 aperture is definitely not on par with the recent trend of f/1.9 or less, but we do have to remember that those particular devices are at a much higher price point. You will notice blur and noise in night photography with the R7, and you’ll also notice loss in color in some cases. For this I would highly recommend you use the “Colorful night” filter as an alternative.
Other filters like slow shutter and expert mode are definitely a cool addition for night photography, so long as you can keep the camera steady.
My biggest surprise with the Oppo R7 is its selfie camera. Mixing this 8-megapixel sensor with a wide-angle lens has proven to be a great combination. I would highly recommend you stay away from the beautifying modes though, as they do tend to be over bearing.
One of my biggest complaints with the camera of the Oppo N3 as a selfie shooter was that the background of your selfie would over expose all the time, but this is not a problem here.
Video and extras
Video is another of this camera’s high points. The camera handles color decently as you expose it to different lighting conditions, and you won’t see any significant jitter as you switch focus from one spot to another. This also applies to the selfie camera as well.
Oppo also bundles a time-lapse mode in addition to slow motion video options, which are cool for the most part.
In my opinion this is a very good camera for the $399 price range of the Oppo R7. Surely the market has a few leaders out there, but all exceed and sometimes double the R7 in price range. Even if we were to compare the R7 to the likes of an LG G4, where the G4 would win a 10, this camera would take a solid 7 on my book.
Adam Lein contributed to this article.