The multiple cameras trend continues this 2020, revolutionizing the smartphone industry. But does having quad or even Penta cameras really improve smartphone photography? Or is it just a gimmick? Well, it matters on what sensor is used, the picture resolution taken, the aperture, and most importantly, algorithms and software optimizations. After an extensive vivo X50 camera review, we concluded that this smartphone camera is worth giving a shot especially if you are looking for the best upper mid-end camera phone under the $600 price tag. But before that, we need to understand the struggles in finding the perfect camera phone.
For the flagship-level entries, the camera performance of almost every smartphone is incredible. However, real struggles come in the upper mid-end section with competitors such as OnePlus Nord, OPPO Reno 4, Xiaomi Mi Note 10, and other phone competition around the $600 mark. Moreover, with the race of adding more and more cameras to phones, further complicates the choice.
What manufacturers do is:
In this war of adding more cameras, we have also noticed how the manufacturer confidently says this phone has this many cameras and this many features. For example, realme X3 Superzoom has been advertised as a 60x zoom camera thanks to the secondary periscope camera lens. But practically if you take a 60X zoomed shot on it, it will be a complete disaster. Honestly, the 108MP shot taken from Mi Note 10 has better zoom-in details than the Realme X3 60X shot. Plus, a 2MP camera for a macro shot? Worthless.
So, this is how the phone makers play with the audience. Now let’s move to our vivo X50 camera review:
Coming back to our story, if you are in search of finding the best photography smartphone under $600. Our recommendation is surely the vivo X50. Why? Two words only:
Diving in the details, we have a quad-camera configuration at the rear of vivo X50. However, unlike another manufacturer, vivo doesn’t play with the words and clearly mentions what needs to be known. vivo X50 camera details are as follow:
Aperture: ƒ/ 1.6
Pixel size: 0.80 µm
Pixel Binning: 1-4 (2×2)
Sensor size: 1/2
Type: Standard Camera
OIS and EIS (OIS is usable in 1080p resolution, not in 4K)
Aperture: ƒ/ 2.2
Pixel size: 1.12 µm
Sensor size: 1/4
Type: Wide-Angle Camera (120-degrees)
Aperture: ƒ/ 2.0
Sensor size: 1/3.1
Type: Portrait Camera + periscope
Aperture: ƒ/ 2.48
Camera Mode Rating
1) Standard Picture Mode
The standard picture mode is the default one when you open the vivo X50 camera app. It has the photography which can be set to a resolution of up to 48MP. The standard picture mode is best for shooting daylight images which have a natural color tone, a sharp detail, and vividness in it.
The standard picture mode also has a 2x optical zoom. Clicking on that will allow you to zoom in twice the current picture without losing any picture quality. Finally, there’s the 20x digital zoom as well which is just average since there’s no dedicated periscope lens integrated instead the 13MP portrait lens is used for it. That’s why it does lose quality (more background noise and image blurring) when you start to zoom in. The characters are still recognizable at 5x but not above that.
However, we do notice that the zoom-in quality is much better than most phones with 20x, 30x, and 60x zoom including realme X3 superzoom. Thanks probably because we have more image resolution to it (13MP) vs other phones which mostly have 5MP or 8MP resolution for the periscope or hybrid sensors.
Rating: 9 out of 10
The low light and nightlight results are more impressive than daylight results. You certainly can find a good smartphone with good daytime results but the low light or nightlight photography will suffer and it’s much common in the upper-mid category. However, that’s not the case with the vivo X50 camera, thanks to the large f/1.6 aperture, probably the largest in this price tag, AI Noise Cancellation algorithm at the RAW level, and last but not least the customized Sony IMX598 sensor.
Rating: 9.5 to 10
Apart from the standard camera mode, we have the wide-angle mode allowing you to capture more in one shot with an 8MP resolution. Usually, the problem with this type of lens is that distortion can be seen around the corners and edges of the picture. Honestly, in vivo X50, there is somewhat distortion in the corners, while as you move towards the center it gets much clearer and detailed. However, that distortion is minimal and barely noticeable. Not the best under $600, but still worth praising.
Rating: 8 out of 10
vivo X50 camera’s Pro Sports mode is too rare to see in flagship phones, and this is a mid-end level phone. This mode is what we love the most and expect vivo to continue this in their upper mid-end phones and flagships. What this mode does is that it combines the OIS (optical image stabilization) and the primary customized IMX598 sensor to take remarkable motion shots thanks to correctly adjusted exposure times. As a result, even if you are running or walking, there’s no distortion or blurriness in the picture (thanks to the Motion Deblur algorithm). The quality is completely identical to the still image taken in the standard picture mode.
As for the video, thanks to the OIS with Motion AF, the recording is incredibly still, probably the best stabilization in this category.
vivo X50 Has The Best Image and Video Stabilization Under $600. You Can Literally See The Primary Lens Getting Calibrated
Surely, you can do that in other phones with OIS but it takes time to master it. vivo just made it easier for you with Pro Sports Mode. Didn’t it?
Rating: 10 out of 10
To be specific, this phone has the best portrait shot in all smartphones. A 13MP 50mm F2.0 portrait lens + AI beautification + Portrait Algorithms = The best Portraits with professional background blurring and sharp object focus. The most common problem with portrait mode in most phones is the background blurring seems to mix with important focused object areas. But that’s not the case here. What’s more, is that even in low-light the portrait mode works exceptionally well.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
6) Macro Mode
With the macro mode turned on, you can take super close shots from a 5MP lens. Most phones have a certain capturing distance below which the camera defocuses the object. For vivo X50 it is 1.5 cm which is the closest in any smartphone. However, the sad thing is that the picture resolution decreases to 2MP as well if you capture a close up from 1.5 cm. Above that, the resolution will remain 5MP which is fine. Honestly, a 2MP macro isn’t what we close-up picture lovers need.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Ending this vivo X50 camera review, if you are in search of the best photography smartphone under $600. vivo X50 is the way to go. It simply provides the best image and video stabilization and low-light shots beating every upper mid-end competitor. Even if the macro shots are average and the OIS works in 1080p resolution, still other features and an incredible optimized camera app cover the downsides. In short, vivo X50 is all about photography.