Xiaomi Mi A1 vs Oppo F5: In-Depth Camera Comparison

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Even though the Indian smartphone market of today is already bursting at the seams, new players constantly keep on joining the fray, trying to woo the attention of customers. The competition is especially stiff in the mid-range segment, which is dominated by a handful of Chinese companies. And two of them are Xiaomi and Oppo.

While Xiaomi has built a reputation for itself by offering value-for-money smartphones, Oppo’s popularity is primarily based on its claims of being the world-renowned expert in the art of capturing selfies. Few months back, the former launched its Mi A1 smartphone, and the latter expanded its line-up of ‘Selfie Experts’ with the introduction of F5. As of this article, Xiaomi Mi A1 and Oppo F5 (4GB RAM variant) are priced at Rs 13,999 and Rs 19,990 respectively.

Even though there’s a signifcant price differential between them, the two smartphones are essentially mid-rangers. While Xiaomi Mi A1 comes with a fancy dual-camera setup at the back, Oppo F5 seems to have everything one might need for those awesome self-portrait images. But behind the gimmicks and marketing speak, which of the two offers a better overall imaging experience?

We find out, in our comprehensive camera comparison between Oppo F5 and Xiaomi Mi A1.

Camera Specifications

   Xiaomi Mi A1  Oppo F5
 Rear  12MP (f/2.2) + 12MP (f/2.6), PDAF, 2x Optical Zoom, Two-tone dual-LED flash  16MP (f/1.8), PDAF, Single-LED flash
 Front  5MP  20MP (f/2.0)

Daylight Images (Regular)

xioami mi a1 vs oppo f5 camera comparison - daylight (regular)

Generally, both Oppo F5 and Xiaomi Mi A1 capture fairly-good looking images in well-lit conditions. However, shots from the former come out to be a slightly overexposed, which results in some details in darker areas of the photos getting lost.


mi a1 vs oppo f5 camera comparison - daylight (regular)

The F5’s images are also a bit more saturated as compared to the Mi A1’s photos. Zooming in reveals Xiaomi Mi A1’s photos to have slightly-better sharpness levels than Oppo F5’s images.


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Daylight Images (HDR)

xioami mi a1 vs oppo f5 camera comparison - daylight (hdr)

Flipping on HDR helps Oppo F5, bringing down exposure to a more acceptable level. It also reduces color saturation. In case of Xiaomi Mi A1, turning on HDR slightly improves the results, with photos visibly looking better than those from Oppo F5.

Read Also: Motorola Moto X4 vs Oppo F5: In-Depth Camera Comparison

mi a1 vs oppo f5 camera comparison - daylight (hdr)

Interestingly, HDR mode also enhances sharpness in Mi A1’s images, something that’s clearly visible when zooming in on the details in photos. This doesn’t happen in case of Oppo F5.


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Lowlight Images (Regular)

oppo f5 vs xiaomi mi a1 - lowlight (regular)

At night, the cameras on both smartphones capture almost identical-looking photos, with minor difference in exposure levels.

oppo f5 vs mi a1 - lowlight (regular)

In fact, zooming in reveals photos from Oppo F5 to be surprisingly a tad sharper than those from Xiaomi Mi A1. Color saturation is also better in case of Oppo F5’s images.

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Lowlight Images (HDR)

oppo f5 vs xiaomi mi a1 - lowlight (hdr)

Turning on HDR mode at night helps the Mi A1 quite a bit, with photos having much better contrast and darker spots becoming more visible. That said, there isn’t much difference in sharpness levels when the images are zoomed in.

oppo f5 vs mi a1 - lowlight (hdr)

On the contrary, flipping on HDR mode in lowlight conditions proves to be disasterous for the F5. Photos look completely overexposed, as if covered with whiteout. Not just that, zooming in on the images reveals sharpness levels to be non-existent, with watercolor painting-like compression artefacts.

Overall, Xiaomi Mi A1 is definitely better when it comes to lowlight photography.


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2x Zoom Images

At times, one feels like taking a close-up shot of something that’s a little far away. To that end, both Xiaomi Mi A1 and Oppo F5 include a basic ‘2x Zoom’ feature in the camera apps. While the former uses its dual-camera system to achieve some sort of ‘optical’ zoom, the latter employs the standard ‘digital’ zoom trick.

xiaomi mi a1 vs oppo f5 camera comparison - 2x optical zoom

There isn’t much difference in the quality of 2x zoomed photos captured by the Mi A1 and the F5, except that those from the Mi A1 are a little brighter. But when viewed at their full resolution, photos from Xiaomi Mi A1 are revealed to have much better sharpness levels and preserved details.

Read Also: Xiaomi Mi A1 vs Moto G5S Plus Comprehensive Camera Comparison


Given the lengths Oppo goes to claim that its smartphones are the absolute best out there when it comes to taking selfies, we were curious to see if that’s indeed the case or not.

Selfies (Regular)

xiaomi mi a1 vs oppo f5 camera comparison - selfies (regular)

The selfies taken from Oppo F5 come out to be a lot brighter than those captured from Xiaomi Mi A1. It seems that the smartphone uses software trickery to mimic the effect of a front-firing flash. When zoomed in, the F5’s shots seem to be a bit sharper than those from the Mi A1. It’s worth mentioning here that Oppo F5 has a 20MP selfie camera, as opposed to Xiaomi Mi A1’s 5MP front-facing shooter.

Selfies (Beauty Mode)

It’s near-impossible to talk about selfies without mentioning the customary ‘beauty mode(s)’ that nearly all camera apps come with these days. Unsurprisingly, Oppo F5 and Xiaomi Mi A1 have ‘beauty mode’ as well.

With ‘beauty mode’ enabled, Xiaomi Mi A1 softens up skin tone and other facial elements quite a bit. However, this ‘smoothening’ effect is so extreme in case of Oppo F5 that it takes away from the natural look of the image.

mi a1 vs oppo f5 camera comparison - selfies (beauty mode)

So what’s the bottom line? Well, no matter how much fancy marketing terms it throws around, the F5 (and by extension, Oppo) is no expert when it comes to selfies. All the F5 has is an average front-camera (made to look like the best thing out there, just because it has more ‘megapixels’), which uses software tricks to ‘whiten’ and ‘smoothen’ facial features.


Having tested the camera offerings on both smartphones, I’ve concluded that the Xiaomi Mi A1 is an overall better performer than the Oppo F5, if only by a small margin. Even in the selfie department, the F5 is just about average.
So if all you care about is overwhitened and oversmoothened selfies, and don’t mind paying extra for a decidedly-average smartphone, by all means go for Oppo F5. If not, the Mi A1, with its lower price, is better.


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