"Selfie Expert" has been the official slogan of Oppo's "F" family devices for a third iteration now and that claim is clearly supported by the numbers. The highlight of the F1s is the impressive camera setup that makes for the lofty title of 'Selfie expert'. This is one aspect in which the new model matches its more expensive sibling and outshines the original F1, at least on paper that is.
What we'd normally call the primary camera on the back uses a 13MP sensor as opposed to the 16MP of the front-facing cam. The rear camera also gets a slower lens - f/2.2 versus f/2.0 on the front.
A Type 1/3.1" sensor is pretty large as selfie cameras go but the primary camera on the back is still larger. The rear cam also gets a LED flash (single diode) while the front resorts to lighting up the screen to show your smile.
The 13MP shooter on the back also has phase detection autofocus, while fixed focus is all you get on the front. Other powerful selfie handsets like the Sony Xperia XA and XA Ultra have auto focus for the front camera as well, but this feature, in particular, is not paramount for taking good selfies at an arm's length.
The camera app is similar to the one on previous Oppo devices, only simplified. Side swiping on the viewfinder lets you switch between stills and video recording, as well as Time-lapse, Panorama and Beauty modes. The flash and HDR buttons aren't toggles - instead, they pop open a menu to select the relevant option.
The button which resembles aperture blades gives you the option to select what acts as shutter release - Normal means only the virtual shutter button does the job, Touch takes a shot when you tap anywhere on the viewfinder, while Voice will capture an image when you say "Cheese." Alternatively, you can wave your hand at the camera to capture a selfie photo.
Going into the shooting modes, you get Ultra HD, which produces 51MP images through some clever image stacking. Regardless of the cheesy name, the resulting photo is nice even if it's similar to what you would get by upscaling the image on your computer.
Filters is the shooting mode for sharing on social media, while Double exposure can create interesting effects with moving subjects. There's also a dedicated GIF mode.
However, it's the Expert mode that got our interest as it gives you proper manual control over shooting parameters. You get to choose between 7 white balance presets, exposure compensation can be set in the -3EV/+3EV in half-stop increments, and ISO can be manually set anywhere between 100 and 1600. Manual shutter speed can only be set from 1s to 16s, or Auto, so you don't get to pick fast shutter speeds. There's also the option to record RAW images.
Overall image quality is good. The Oppo F1s produces shots with an acceptable level of detail, but sadly it is far from the level of precision we saw from the F1 Plus. The hardware looks to be the same on paper, but something went wrong with the whole camera experience. Unlike its more expensive sibling, the F1s struggles to maintain sharpness around the corners. Also, instead of oversaturating colors, this time around they are quite toned down, perhaps even a bit dull.
But probably the biggest issues the F1s has is its unreliable auto exposure. This is an area in which we praised the F1 Plus, but this phone often struggles with exposure and can't seem to make up its mind for subsequent shots. You can still get the perfect shot in Expert mode, but in Auto you occasionally end up with a series of different looking shots of the same thing because of the way the Auto setting vary from shot to shot.
As for the positives, HDR mode seems to work quite well. The shift in exposition can be seen in the shots below taken seconds apart under the same conditions in Auto mode.
The Oppo F1s still has the same issues with Panorama as its predecessors did. The overall exposure is good and so are colors and the stitching is near perfect, which all makes the shots look really nice on the phone's screen itself. However, Oppo has decided to provide a rather ambitiously high resolution, and once you zoom in on a bigger screen, the lack of fine details is readily apparent.
You can take a look at how the Oppo F1s stacks up against the competition in our Photo Compare Tool.
Back when the F1 Plus originally brought about the upgraded 16MP front-facing camera, we had high hopes. However, the shooter in question got a rather disappointing implementation back then. This time around there seem to be some improvements, but there is still a lot to be desired.
Still, there isn't all that much of competition when we compare the selfie samples with that of the aforementioned Sony Xperia XA and even more so the XA Ultra - both of which are notably superior in this respect.
Oppo advertises a new Beautify algorithm in the F1s and it does subjectively look sort of better than previous iterations, but the level of weirdness in the end results is still a bit too high for us. All samples were taken with a medium amount of the "rosiness" effect applied in case you were wondering.
The Oppo F1s shares the video recording interface of its sibling as well. It is as simple as they come. You get a dedicated viewfinder which unlike the F1 Plus is accurate - great for proper framing and you get a total of three toggles - one flips to the front camera and back, the other toggles the LED and finally there is a selection between 720p and 1080p mode.
Video recording is nothing special on the Oppo F1s - it tops out at 1080p/30fps, there's no 4K recording. The videos have a bitrate of 17Mbps, which is on the low side of average. Audio is recorded in stereo with a 128Kbps bit rate.
Video quality is nothing special. The output is soft and could use some extra detail. However, samples tend to subjectively look a bit better than those from the F1 Plus. The autofocus works well and isn't prone to hunting. Interestingly enough, the F1s seems to do a much better job in choosing proper exposure in video mode than when capturing stills.
You can download an untouched video sample here - 10 seconds, 20.1MB.
Finally, you can check out our Video Compare Tool to see how the Oppo F1s fares against the competition when it comes to video capturing.