The OnePlus Nord 3 features a familiar triple setup on the back with a high-res 50MP OIS primary, an 8MP ultrawide, and a 2MP macro cameras. These look the same as the cameras on the Nord 2 on paper, but the main sensor has been swapped with a flagship-grade Sony IMX890.
The primary camera on the Nord 3 now uses a 50MP Sony IMX890 1/1.56" with 1.0µm pixels and all-pixel omnidirectional autofocus (or Octa-PD AF). It is coupled with a stabilized (OIS) 24mm f/1.8 lens.
The ultrawide camera is based on an 8MP Sony IMX 355 sensor behind a 16mm f/2.2 lens. There is no autofocus.
The macro camera uses a 2MP GalaxyCore GC02M1 sensor.
Finally, the selfie camera is somewhat disappointing - it is identical to the one we saw on a couple of previous Realme phones - it uses a 16MP Sony IMX 471 1/3" Quad-Bayer sensor with 1.0µm pixels and a 24mm f/2.4 lens. The focus is fixed.
The camera app is the familiar OnePlus/Oppo/Realme one. There are fewer menus - most of the modes are now on the main rolodex, which is good.
The viewfinder in the default Photo mode offers AI Scene - it's like an advanced HDR mode, which may stack several images to offer even further improvements in the dynamic range. Still, the most prominent "improvement" is the higher color saturation. Auto HDR is available, too.
There are also three zoom shortcuts - 0.6x, 1x and 2x.
There is a Pro mode for the main camera - you get to tweak exposure (ISO in the 100-6400 range and shutter speed in the 1/8000s-30s range), white balance (by light temperature, but no presets), manual focus (in arbitrary 0 to 1 units with 0 being close focus and 1 being infinity) and exposure compensation (-2EV to +2EV in 1/6EV increments). RAW is available, too.
Quite expectedly, the main camera saves 12.5MP photos and they are pretty good, though not ideal. There is plenty of resolved detail across all photos, there is no visible noise, and the colors are nicely saturated and lively, a bit over the top even.
The contrast is always high and the dynamic range is good, but not too wide, making for a pleasant realistic look.
The photos exhibit somewhat excessive over-sharpening, which makes them look overprocessed at 100% magnification. This is something that we would like to see OnePlus tweak with a future firmware update.
There is 2x high quality zoom available on the OnePlus Nord 3 and it's quite good. The photos are of average detail, but they are not a simple 'crop and upscale' affair for sure. Just like the regular photos, these are noise-free, with saturated colors, high contrast and good dynamic range. They are not on par with any 2x optical zoom camera, but they are not simple digital zoom either - more like something in the middle.
All things considered, those are great for sharing even at the default 12MP resolution, but they are excellent when downsized to 8MP or so. And we can safely consider the 2x zoom as high quality for sure.
There is a high res 50MP option available, but it saves upscaled versions of the default 12.5MP photos and we see no real use for it.
There is no depth sensor on the Nord 3, but Portrait mode is still available, of course. The portraits we shot on the Nord 3 are superb - the subject separation is proficient, the blur - convincing, and the photos are detailed, sharp, contrasty, colorful and noise-free. The Auto HDR helps where necessary and we have never experienced a narrow dynamic range.
The 8MP photos from the ultrawide camera are very good - the resolved detail is enough, the noise is low, the contrast is high, and the dynamic range is adequate.
The colors are somewhat dull, a tiny bit desaturated we guess. And the overprocess look is still present - it's like the photos were over-sharpened and then smoothened to hide that.
The third and final camera on the back is the 2MP macro one. It saves rather poor photos with mediocre detail, visible noise, and unreliable colors - either desaturated and washed out, or realistic and true to life. While we did not have high expectations for this camera, it turned out to be quite poor, unfortunately.
The OnePlus Nord 3 uses a 16MP selfie camera with a Quad-Bayer color filter, which means it should save 4MP photos by default. Of course, that is not the case. Just like on many Realme, Oppo, OnePlus, and Xiaomi phones, this camera outputs 16MP upscaled images instead.
So, the 16MP selfies are quite good even if their level of detail is unimpressive. The subject is well-exposed, the colors are great, the contrast is good, and the dynamic range is enough. The noise is kept reasonably low in photos taken in good light, but it will spike if the light conditions are not ideal.
If the Auto HDR decides to get involved, it will improve the dynamic range, but the detail will be halved (last photo).
The OnePlus Nord 3 supports Auto Night Mode and it cannot be turned off like on Realme phones. It works almost every time in low-light conditions on the main and ultrawide cameras, but it doesn't fire for the 2x zoom. If you fancy Night Mode for your zoomed photos, you will have to use the dedicated Night Mode from the rolodex.
The default photos take about 1s or less to capture and turned out to be outstanding. The resolved detail is plenty, the sharpness - just right, and the noise is quite low, if any. The color presentation across the photos is superb, the exposure is great, and the dynamic range is pretty wide.
The 2x zoomed photos are good, they are once again of high-quality zoom and not simply cropped and upscaled. The Auto Night Mode never fires when shooting those and if there is sufficient light, the photos would turn up good, with enough detail, acceptable noise, and good colors.
The Night Mode in 2x zoom crops and upscales from the regular Night Mode photo and saves digitally zoomed photos (read - with halved detail).
The ultrawide photos usually required about 1.5s-2s to capture and they also turned out great. They are bright, there is enough detail on them, the noise has been cleaned well, the dynamic range is impressively wide, and the color saturation is excellent.
And here's how the main camera stacks up against the competition in our extensive Photo compare database.
The Nord 3 captures videos with all but the macro cameras. The main camera records video up to 4K at 60fps, and there's 1080p at both 30fps and 60fps. The ultrawide and the selfie shooters are limited to 1080p@30fps video capturing.
You can choose between the h.264 and h.265 codecs.
Electronic stabilization is always-on for the rear cameras and optional for the selfie one, but it doesn't work in 4K resolution and that's a massive bummer!
The camera app is super generous with the bit rates - the 4K footage gets 50Mbps while 1080p/30fps is allocated a similarly above-average 25Mbps when using the h.264 codec. The audio bitrate is 256Kbps, the sound is stereo.
The 4K footage from the main camera is impressive with exceptionally high detail, sharpness, realistic colors, high contrast and good dynamic range.
The 2x zoom is a digital one, and the clip shot at 2x magnification is over-exposed, of low detail, and heavily over-sharpened.
The 4K low-light videos from the main camera are solid - the resolved detail is high, there is no visible noise, the colors are realistic. The exposure could use a boost here, though, as the video is a bit darker than it should have been.
The 2x digitally zoomed footage is usable, alright, just don't watch it too closely.
The OnePlus Nord 3 also offers AI Highlight video mode. It is shot in 1080p and offers a minor improvement in the exposure and color saturation. And it does what the name suggests - highlights some of the light sources by giving them a slightly better look.
And here is a stabilized video at 1080p resolution. The EIS does a solid job and we are happy with the result. We only wished for the electronic stabilization to have worked at 4K resolution as well.
The 1080p daylight video from the ultrawide camera is pretty great, though because of the always-on electronic stabilization, it's not that wider than the 4K clip from the main camera. Anyway, it's of very good quality with a lot of resolved detail, no noise, high contrast, accurate colors, and a good dynamic range. It looks a bit over-processed, though.
The low-light ultrawide clip is very much usable with enough detail, gentle noise reduction yet unobtrusive noise, and good colors. It is a bit underexposed, though.
Finally, we shot two selfie videos - stabilized and not stabilized and we've decided to show you the stable one as the other was rather unusable. At the expense of a minor drop of the resolved detail and global sharpness, we got a very pleasant selfie video, still detailed enough, with realistic colors, and good dynamic range.
Here's how the OnePlus Nord 3 compares to other devices in our vast video compare database.