Vivo V15 Camera Review with Test Photos/Videos

Vivo launched its latest V series smartphones in Pakistan earlier this month, namely Vivo V15 and V15 Pro. We got our hands on with both of the devices however an unboxing and a quick overview of Vivo V15 was also published followed by a complete review.

Visually both of the siblings are identical with minor difference of the size and weight as well as a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor on V15 and an in-display fingerprint sensor on V15 Pro. Inside of these phones is what makes them really different, where the Pro costs Rs. 65,000 and the simple V15 costs Rs. 50,000.

In this post, you will see the camera test with Vivo V15. For other key features and complete review you can check the following link – Vivo V15 Review [Video].

What these four cameras actually are?

Okay, let’s talk about the triple-camera system on the back of Vivo V15.

Vivo V15 Triple Camera

The main 12MP camera among the trio is bundled with a large f/1.8 lens aperture to gain most possible light through. Like most, or in fact all smartphones, this main lens also has a 26mm equivalent focal length. In all of our tests, this camera has performed extra ordinarily considering it’s a mid-range smartphone.

Vivo has not revealed anything about the sensor behind but our guess is one of the two Samsung 12MP sensors which perfectly match the specs as listed by Vivo. The main camera has a 1/2.8-inch type sensor with 1.28µm pixel size. The “24 million photosensitive units” refers to a dual pixel PDAF sensor Samsung which turns out to be a 12MP sensor indeed. With these key points, we got two Samsung made image sensors – S5K2L8 and S5K2LQ.

Related: Vivo V15 Unboxing [Video]

The second 8MP camera, you see in line, carries the “Ultra” wide-angle lens on front. Though it’s a good option to have in your phone camera, it has some downsides in photo quality. But that’s almost the similar property in all other phones that come with such a lens today, even high-end ones.

The third one is the most common now, a depth sensor – 5MP camera that works only to calculate depth of field at different distances inside frame and helps the system to simulate a bokeh effect in portrait shots. It’s what you see in photos with a sharp focused object on the front and a totally blurred out background.

Vivo V15 Pop-up Selfie Camera

There is 32MP shooter on the front with Vivo V15. Unlike any other smartphone, this camera doesn’t occupy any part of the display. It’s instead a pop-up module that comes out of the body only when needed. To learn more about that, you should check out our complete review. Here we’ll test its quality at the end because first we’ll talk about the three cameras on the back.

Previously we have only done a dedicated camera reviews for high-end phones which focused on photography. But considering the fact how the mobile cameras have evolved and have made their way through mid range devices, we have come to understand that these cameras now worth doing a fully dedicated review. But you also should consider that the Vivo’s V-series, which initially started with the price tag within $200 to $250, is today costing around $400. So with respect to price tag, it still deserves a deep test for its cameras.

Camera User Interface

So let’s first talk about how Vivo has implemented the user interface of its camera app. The phone comes with company’s latest Funtouch OS 9 that has its own camera stuff with it. After looking into both the V15 and V15 Pro, I have come to a conclusion that Vivo has a good room for customization of its interfaces for different devices. Even these two phones come with different options including ones within the camera app.

There are some options in V15 Pro that I really believe would be possible to bring to V15. With respect to the camera app, it’s the Night Mode, which is only present in Pro model. I wish, Vivo bring it to V15 real soon.

Update 31-03-2019: Night mode is now available on Vivo V15 with a software update as expected. Some night/evening shots have been added in the video above.

Vivo V15 Camera UI

Vivo has an extensive set of options in its camera app. It’s not simple, but it’s not hard to find anything. Most of the options are available both ways – rear and front cameras. However the front camera has to have some limited options.

Extensive AI Beauty Mode

The phone offers AI based Beauty mode which, unlike many other phones, is not just a slider with beatification level or a more recent option to let AI choose a best level for you. It’s a full set of beauty treatment options. Every option comes with its own slider level – buffing, skin tone, whitening, thin face, face reshaping, jaw, eye enlarging, eye spanning, forehead reshaping, nose reshaping, mouth shaping. That’s really a lot which is also available for both front and back cameras.

The AI Beauty mode also offers full body reshaping, only with rear camera for obvious reasons. You can do head adjustments, shoulders, waist, length, legs, hips, in fact whole body.

Well, we don’t have any model here to let us try these things on her so do not expect any test with these options. We are not going to test these options, let it be clear. We’ll only be doing doing the camera test as how most people will use this.

Vivo V15 Camera UI

Camera Pro Mode

The phone offers Pro camera mode that allows you to shoot as you want. You can go up to ISO 3200 and a shutter speed down to 32 seconds. White balance is available with some preset options and not with Kelvin temperature values. I am just informing that there are many more options to play with this camera but I won’t be using these modes or options for this review.

What we are covering in this review?

Our main concern is to test the photo’s and video’s quality. Oh yes, there indeed is one option that I’d like to tell you about – Portrait mode, or another Aperture/bokeh mode. The latter is more obvious to deliver bokeh effect in your photos.

You can even adjust aperture level to simulate from f/0.95 to f/16 in Aperture mode which is only available with rear cameras. The other “Portrait mode” is available with both rear and front camera. This, however does not let you adjust aperture level and keeps one standard bokeh level but offers a wide range of studio effects – studio light, stereo light, loop light, rainbow light, monochrome background.

Outdoor/Bright light – 12MP Main Camera

V15 really did well in our outdoor test shots with its main 12 megapixel camera. It’s really good in capturing image detail and handling noise very well. The color reproduction is good but the system also intends to add some vividness in the bright light.

Unlike a lot of smartphones in this category, this V15 actually managed to provide better dynamic range in most situations. However there were still some situations when it couldn’t handle overly exposed backgrounds. Thanks to the HDR mode, it came handy in those situations.

However the camera didn’t maintain the image detail at distant foliage on the frame edges. Check out some sample outdoor shots from Vivo V15.

Indoor/Low-light – 12MP Main Camera

One word should make it clear. Impressive! indeed with the large f/1.8 lens aperture, this phone is capable of attaining nice image detail. That too with controlled noise in heavily gradient shades.

Colors were also nice in low-light, but the images tend to loose detail when very poor light was present.

Portrait/Bokeh Mode – 12MP Main Camera

That’s what disappointed me when I tried during the unboxing session as it really didn’t seem to work correctly. But right after a quick software update that was already available after unboxing the phone, this was totally fixed. And it turned out to be something among high-end segment.

The edge detection is really good in most cases unless you try to shoot some complex objects, such as group of flowers and plants. It seems that the camera captures more depth information than many other phones. You can see that while modifying the “bokeh” shot for refocusing.

Image detail mostly remains good but sometimes it gets softer on subject. It also doesn’t work as great in low light as in good light.

Normal (HDR OFF) vs HDR ON

As I told above, there are situations when you need to turn on HDR mode. V15 sometimes is good to handle it with nice and vivid colors. Making the dark parts more visible and bright parts less exposed. But at some situations it also make the image more artificial than a real one.

This shot is a good example to show how the system managed to keep the image vibrant. It also exposed the dark tree base. But it also seems to have vanished the texture on the ground and the detail on the grass.

This shot is also pretty much similar as above but it also managed to keep the ground and grass equally good to the original shot.

This is where I said the artificiality comes as a part of HDR feature. It’s the most common problem in most smartphones because you can’t handle the processing. Unlike you do with raw images in Adobe Lightroom on your computer, the Auto HDR feature is always prone to these kind of issues.

You can easily spot the blue tint on the left side of the frame as well as an unnatural white glow around the tree leaves that melts into the blue sky.

8MP Ultra Wide-Angle Camera

The half-hero of the four cameras. Why half? I’ll tell you below. But this is really a useful camera that you would want in many situations when you won’t be able to take a full view in a 26mm equivalent field of view.

Technically in photography terms, this ultra wide-angle camera gives you a 13mm equivalent focal length. According to Vivo’s document, it’s expands the view to 120 degrees in full and if you account for distortion it would still be able to provide 108-degree field of view.

Main Standard vs Ultra Wide-angle

Just for the sake of comparison, how an ultra wide-angle shot will look like when compared to standard 26mm shot.

Vivo V15 32MP Front Camera

Unlike myself, many of you will be so interested to see how does this phone’s camera perform with selfies. Right? Well, the simple answer is that it’s really good. The 32MP selfie shots come very sharp out of this camera. The image detail is not unquestionable considering it’s a front facing camera. In fact it’s impressive for the fact that it’s a front facing camera.

This phone offers you a whole set of tools and options in AI Beauty mode as told above. However you need to know when you are in this AI Beauty mode, it will start applying the intelligence on your facial elements. No matter you have turned off all the options in it, it will still do its job. To capture your natural self, you need to be in the “Photo” mode instead of the “AI Beauty” mode.

The HDR feature really impressive to be with front camera. It handled the overly exposed background really well and brought the subject fully lit and focused.

Video Recording

The Vivo V15 only supports up to 1080p video recording that too with 30fps only. It is worth mentioning that V15 Pro has a 4K video recording support with 30fps but no kind of image stabilization is presence. However the 1080p video comes with the V15 almost the same way as in Pro. It does support EIS (electronic image stabilization) that you can not turn it off on demand.

With very slow motion of panning, I tried to see how does it handles those 30 frames while panning. Well, that’s not so bad.

720p videos also come with 30fps and EIS but the image quality is not that great.

Well there is also Slow-mo mode with V15 that brings a 720p footage, not that detailed, but 120fps is just fine for quick slow-mo show off.

You can checkout full review of Vivo V15 here.

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