How many camera sensors can you cram into a phone? Well Vivo has decided that the magical number is six. The V17 Pro is the company’s latest camera-centric smartphone packed it with a total of six cameras– four at the back and two on the front.
The primary 48MP camera on Vivo takes 12MP shots by merging data from four-pixel-into-one. The camera’s Night mode uses multi-frame synthesis for noise reduction, where it takes a number of shots in quick succession at different exposure rates and merges these for the brightest result. But these techniques are now common and we’ve already seen a number of smartphones with these camera features.
However, Vivo V17 Pro’s USP (unique selling point) is its camera modes. While the quad-rear camera setup on the V17 Pro doesn’t have a dedicated Macro camera unlike Realme 5 Pro, Realme XT Pro, Redmi Note 8, and Redmi Note 8 Pro, it is capable of taking Super Macro shots. This is in conjunction with the 2x optical zoom. The phone can even shoot a video in Super Macro mode with 2x optical zoom. But how well does all of this translate in real-world performance? Here is our camera review of the Vivo V17 Pro.
Rear camera setup: Primary 48MP (f/1.8) Sony IMX582 lens + 8MP (f/2.2) AI super wide-angle lens with 120-degrees field of view + 2MP (f/2.4) bokeh lens + 13MP (f/2.5) telephoto lens with 2X optical zoom and 10x digital zoom
Front camera setup: Primary 32MP (f/2.0) lens + 8MP (f/2.2) ultrawide lens
Normal landscape shots with the primary 48MP lens
Vivo V17 Pro is capable of taking some brilliant pictures in daylight conditions with vibrant colours and proper exposure levels. The dynamic range in pictures is good and the camera captures a lot of details in the images. However, when you zoom in extensively on an image, you can spot noise in the shadow regions.
The picture quality in low light condition is not on par with the daylight shots as the noise increases in the image. But this is without the Night mode on. However, it still manages to get the colours right with ample details.
During the night, the Vivo V17 Pro’s camera performance does take a hit. The noise increases, and details are less. But all of this is without the dedicated Night Mode, which is present on the camera. However, the Pro mode comes handy during the night as it gives the option to decrease the exposure level and the camera doesn’t try to lighten up dark areas and captures some good shots without much noise.
If you are not shooting a moving object, you can get better night time pictures with Vivo V17 Pro’s Night mode in certain conditions. The mode increases the overall visibility of the picture and tries to decrease the noise. Images, where the subject is not too far away from the camera, turn out good as the camera captures proper colours, decreases the noise without smudging the details.
However, the landscape shots with the Night mode are average. The pictures have too much noise, details are smudged, and the colours are not consistent. That being said, the night sky always has a lot of noise, but that’s a given on most smartphones.
2X optical zoom and 10x digital zoom
I really liked the 2x optical zoom on the Vivo V17 Pro and it could be one of the defining features of the device. It takes you close to your subject without compromising on any of the elements of a picture. But what makes the feature even more exciting is the fact that it works in conjunction with other modes of the camera including the portrait, macro, ultra-wide, and even the video recording, which comes really handy. The only mode it doesn’t work with is the Night mode and Bokeh mode.
Then there is 10x digital zoom, which gives you the freedom to focus on a far way object. But the end result is not good as you can also get the same result if you click a normal picture and crop it.
Super Macro mode
As already mentioned, the Vivo V17 Pro can take pictures of tiny objects with Super Macro mode even though it does not have a dedicated macro lens. However, the real worth of the Super Macro mode is achieved when used along with the 2x optical zoom.
You can click some really cool shots of insects or flower buds without getting too close to the subject. It digs up great details and the results are almost similar in low light as well. What I really liked about the Vivo V17 Pro is that it can also shoot videos in Super Macro and that too while using the 2x optical zoom. Get yourself a miniature model of a city or some toy cars and you can shoot some really good cinematic shots.
The ultrawide angle lens on the Vivo V17 Pro creates visually appealing pictures with proper colour reproduction and good dynamic range. However, as is the case with almost all the wide-angle lens on mid-range smartphones, the 120-degree shots do not carry much details. Vivo has also kept the 2x optical zoom option on the ultra-wide mode, and I could not find a use for it. You can also record video in ultra-wide angle mode, but the video quality is not on par with the video made with the primary lens.
The Vivo V17 Pro comes with a dedicated bokeh mode lens as well as Portrait mode. There is nothing fancy about the Bokeh mode and you can only change the blur levels before clicking a picture. Once, a picture is clicked, the focus point cannot be changed. This comes as surprising because Vivo’s other phones like the Vivo Z1X and Vivo S1 could change the focus point after an image has been clicked.
The front camera on the Vivo V17 Pro is a combination of 32MP primary lens clubbed with an 8MP super wide-angle lens. The primary selfie camera takes vibrant pictures in daylight conditions with ample details. However, the exposure levels aren’t good. If you focus on the face, the background always gets over-exposed and if you try to shift the focus to the background, the subject stays under-exposed.
In low light conditions, selfies carry too much noise. At night, the noise is even greater and even though the subject is visible, the pictures don’t look pleasing at all. The moonlight flash at the front is better than the conventional LED flash but it doesn’t act as a cheat code to get nice pictures.
The only thing that improves the quality of night-time selfies is the Night mode, which also works for the front camera. Since there an ultra-wide sensor at the front, Vivo V17 Pro doesn’t need a selfie stick to take a group-selfie. However, the front ultra-wide shots do not carry much details.
Vivo V17 Pro camera review: Verdict
Vivo has put in good efforts to get the camera performance of Vivo V17 Pro right. Not only has it introduced different modes to click pictures, but the camera UI is also better and convenient. The shutter speed of the phone’s camera is pretty fast and the image processing is also quick.
With its quad-rear camera setup, Vivo V17 Pro is capable of clicking some beautiful pictures in daylight with nice details, vibrant colours, good dynamic range and decent exposure levels. If you were to use the basics of photography to get the right angle and frame, you can end up with some nice looking pictures to show off on your Instagram feed.
The Vivo V17 Pro can also take some nice pictures at night too, but the results aren’t anywhere as good as daylight performance. I’d say there is a lot left to explore in this area if Vivo is serious about presenting a smartphone for professional photography.
As of now, Google’s Pixel phones are treated as the benchmark for what is known as computational photography and Apple has gone even further with the camera performance of its latest iPhone 11 series. So, while Vivo might not be anywhere near these premium devices, it is certainly among the top players in its price bracket.
(Disclaimer: The author was in Jaipur on the invite of Vivo. The picture samples have been resized for web)