I compared the OnePlus Open vs Pixel Fold vs Galaxy Z Fold 5 in a zoom camera shootout — here’s the winner

OnePlus Open vs Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Pixel 5 in zoom camera shootout
(Image credit: Future)

The OnePlus Open taking the top spot in our best foldable phones list makes perfect sense. From its outstanding thin and light design, to its class leading battery life and recharge performance, there were many things I loved about it in my OnePlus Open review.

Its camera performance, however, could be interpreted as a mixed bag. I’ve raved about the excellent performance of the cameras for outdoor landscape shots and portraits, but in my low light camera shootout against its direct rivals, the Google Pixel Fold and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, the Open didn’t quite knock it out of the park.

Despite that, there are a number of other ways it could earn a spot in our best camera phones list. Take, for instance, the performance of its pixel crunching 64MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, which OnePlus claims to offer 6x lossless zoom. Telephoto cameras are by and large still rare among foldables due to the additional space they take up, but you may be surprised with the results in my OnePlus Open vs. Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold zoom camera shootout.

I took the three foldable phones out capturing the same scenes to see the performance of their telephoto cameras. For this comparison, I captured photos at 5x zoom with each device because the Pixel Fold has the longest optical camera at 5x — versus the 3x zoom cameras of the OnePlus Open and Galaxy Z Fold 5.

You might be thinking this would automatically put OnePlus and Samsung at a disadvantage, but it’s needed for a fair comparison. Considering how I was impressed by how Apple leveraged pixel binning to make the 2x zoom option in the iPhone 15 usable, I gather that OnePlus is doing something similar to boost its quality up to 6x zoom.

All the zoom ranges

Before I get into the comparison photos, I want to first show you the utility of the OnePlus Open’s triple camera system. First, there’s the 48MP ultrawide camera with a 114-degree field of view that’s perfect for sweeping landscapes or group photos. Secondly, the main 48MP main camera is what I like to consider as the workhorse — delivering the best results. And lastly, the 64MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom can achieve a maximum 120x zoom, which actually bests the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 100x zoom.

In the gallery above, you’ll see how the OnePlus Open can cover quite a lot of range, along with its excellent performance. I find that I’m able to capture photos all handheld with the three different cameras, but shake becomes problematic with anything beyond 10x zoom. Capturing photos when there’s good lighting with the telephoto camera isn’t terrible, but it’s a lot tougher with video. That’s why I suggest using a tripod or phone camera mount to keep it as still as possible.

Beachside wooden sign

Right away, I’m drawn to the OnePlus Open’s capture with this wooden sign by the beach. I think it’s the best image of the three, despite the slightly saturated colors in the image — which helps to draw my attention.

What’s impressive with this first shot is how well the zoom cameras of the OnePlus Open and Galaxy Z Fold 5 hold up against the Pixel Fold’s better spec’d 5x optical zoom. If you look at the yellow badge on the right side, you’ll see how the Open captures just as much detail as the Pixel Fold, which is also the same with the pink flowers in the foreground.

Winner: OnePlus Open

Colorful construction vehicles on the sand

Here’s another zoom shot I like from the OnePlus Open. Again the punchier colors capture my attention the most upon a cursory glance. As I zoom into the shot, however, I’m surprised by how I can make details a bit better on the OnePlus over Samsung’s pic. The Fold 5’s shot is still pretty, but the clouds are oddly all blue.

Against the Pixel Fold, it’s almost impossible for me to make out which has the better detail capture because they’re nearly identical. If I were to pick, I’d give this one to OnePlus.

Winner: OnePlus Open

Backyard tree during the day

My backyard tree is notorious for exposing the phones that fail in low light photography, but in this zoom camera shootout, the OnePlus Open gets my vote for the best image. Even at 5x zoom, which applies lossless zoom (aka digital zoom), it captures more detail than the Pixel Fold’s 5x optical zoom camera.

I’m at a loss for words because I didn’t think variations of digital zoom could ever match the detail capture superiority of a camera with an optical lens. These shots prove me wrong because the OnePlus Open easily beats them all. I can make out a lot more of the details in the tree’s bark.

Winner: OnePlus Open

Condos on the horizon

What better way to test out the zoom cameras in these foldable phones than capturing something in the far distance? If you look at the row of condominiums across the bay in these shots, you’ll see how the OnePlus Open’s shot looks sharper. For example, I can make out more separation with the windows — while the Pixel Fold has a softer look.

Winner: OnePlus Open

Telephoto zoom in video

For this test, I shot the same videos with all three phones recording at 4K 30fps. Their main cameras are all excellent when there’s plenty of light around, but the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the softest with its max telephoto zoom. You can watch the part in the videos when I zoom into the construction vehicle at the top of the mound of sand in the background.

Not surprisingly, the Pixel Fold’s telephoto camera captures a lot of detail, but the OnePlus Open does nicely to almost match it.

Winner: Google Pixel Fold

New York’s iconic skyline

With New York’s skyline in the distance, it almost appears there would be a standout amongst the three, but I also have to point out the stuff in the foreground before making a determination. I like how the Galaxy Z Fold 5 brightens up the shot a bit, which is most evident with the sand, but the OnePlus Open has more definition when I look at the skyline, nearby boats in the water, and the sand. The Pixel Fold has the same details captured as the Fold 5, but neither one can match the OnePlus.

Winner: OnePlus Open

OnePlus Open vs. Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 5: telephoto zoom camera verdict

Google Pixel vs OnePlus Open vs Galaxy Z Fold 5 on table showing cameras

(Image credit: Future)

What a turnaround for OnePlus! After trailing both its rivals in the low light photography department, I’m beyond impressed by the OnePlus Open’s telephoto camera, especially when it’s technically not as good on paper against the Pixel Fold’s 5x optical zoom. All of the image processing and enhancement going on in the background with the OnePlus Open yields impressive results, delivering sharper details and clarity than its rivals in this area.

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John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.