After a few generations of sticking to basically the same camera setup, the Red Magic line was well overdue for a camera upgrade. We are glad to see that the fairly-budget 64MP main snapper is gone and has been replaced by a Samsung GN5 50MP main camera. The full sensor model number is the ISOCELL S5KGN5. It is a 1/1.57" sensor with 1.0µm pixels with a Dual Tetrapixel RGB Bayer color filter and Dual Pixel Pro phase detection autofocus. It sits behind an f/1.88 lens.
The main camera is complemented by an 8MP, 120-degree (13mm) ultrawide cam. We couldn't find exact info on its sensor model, but nubia denotes that it uses a 1/4.0" sensor with 1.12µm pixels behind an f/2.2 lens. The ultrawide lacks autofocus. Last and least of all, there is a 2MP fixed-focus GalaxyCore GC02M1 macro camera on the back of the Red Magic 8 Pro.
The Red Magic 8 Pro has an under-display selfie camera. Nubia says it is a second-generation unit developed in collaboration with BOE (the display manufacturer) to bring about improvements in the camera's peak brightness and color accuracy. Also, to make it as well hidden as possible. In terms of hardware, the selfie camera is the same 16MP OV16E1Q as found on the Red Magic 7 Pro and some other devices like the ZTE Axon 30 and Axon 40 Ultra. It is a 1/2.8" sensor with 1.12µm pixels and fixed focus.
Judging by the UI in general, there's little to no change in the default camera app for a couple of generations now. So it wasn't hard to find our way around it.
The camera menu is business as usual. Camera modes switch with a simple swipe left and right in a carousel formation. The additional settings menu is placed in the upper-right corner of the viewfinder, and the dedicated Pro mode offers quite a few settings to tinker with.
When shooting macro, you get a small magnifier, which you can move around the viewfinder, but more importantly - it has focus peaking. It allows you to hit the right focusing distance instead of guessing. We found this feature to be particularly useful since there's no autofocus support. We only wish that the macro camera gets a toggle of its own.
Interestingly, the Pro mode works not only with the main camera but also with the ultrawide, but not the macro cam or the selfie.
The main camera on the Red Magic 8 Pro captures 12.5MP stills by default. These are very competent in daylight with plenty of fine detail and nice, true-to-life colors.
Still, these shots do have their shortcomings - the dynamic range, while respectable, could be better.
The main camera can be forced to capture full-sized 50MP stills as well. These tend to have a bit more detail than their regular counterparts, with mostly the same overall quality in other aspects.
While the Red Magic 8 Pro notably lacks a telephoto camera, its main snapper has plenty of resolution to pull off some very nice 2x zoom shots. These mostly compare in quality to 1x photos from the same cam.
The main camera does an equally competent job of portrait shots. Subject detection and separation are nearly perfect, and the quality of the background blur is very convincing.
Portrait mode works equally well with non-human subjects too. Naturally, it does get tripped up by particularly hairy subjects, though.
And here's how the main camera stacks up against the competition in our extensive comparison database.
The 8MP ultrawide camera captures passable but largely unimpressive photos. There is an okay amount of detail for this camera, but they tend to look very soft and even blurry at times. The dynamic range is decent, and there isn't any pronounced extra corner softness to note.
Colors look quite dull and muted, though and nothing like those on the main camera. Depending on your preference, however, these could pass as more life-like in certain scenarios, so we won't criticize them too harshly apart from the lack of consistency across cameras.
Shots from the 2MP macro camera are surprisingly good and definitely usable. Even though this cam has fixed focus, its focal plane is fairly wide and forgiving. Plus, we really appreciate the addition of focus lines in the macro camera UI.
Detail is good, and so are the colors. We honestly couldn't ask more from a tiny macro camera.
Nubia claims that it is now on the second generation of its under-display selfie camera tech and that the latest implementation should bring about improvements in peak brightness and color accuracy. Color reproduction does, indeed, appear to be slightly better on this camera, but not by a lot. The selfie still produces soft and blurry faces. All the while, contrast is cranked way up for some reason, resulting in a weird artificial look. NOt to mention the colors are off.
While these photos are far from unusable, it is clear that the selfie cam is still suffering from certain technical limitations because it is positioned under the display. One particular example are the odd color effects that appear on any light source in frame.
Still, on a gaming-first phone such as the Red Magic 8 Pro, we understand that an uninterrupted edge-to-edge display experience naturally takes precedence over a great selfie camera.
The Red Magic 8 Pro can capture video at up to 8K@30fps on its main camera. Videos get saved using the h.264 codec by default, but there is an option to flip over to h.265 (HEVC) for its better compression and more storage savings.
4K video gets recorded in a standard AVC video stream at a bit over 50 Mbps with stereo 48kHz AAC audio inside an MP4 container. Nothing out of the ordinary. Quality is excellent, with plenty of detail and true-to-life colors.
Contrast is a bit boosted, and dynamic range could be better, but neither is a major complaint. The videos are definitely flagship-grade.
8K videos also get saved in an AVC stream, this time at a little over 100 Mbps and with stereo 48kHz AAC audio in an MP4 format. The differences in quality between 8K and 4K are not major. Detail is comparable, but 8K is a bit less processed with less contrast and sharpening applied. We kind of prefer the color rendition of the 8K video better as well.
Still, at nearly twice the size of 4K, 8K still seems a bit impractical. Plus, it presents decoding challenges on many devices when playing back. We would probably stick to 4K.
Here is how the Red Magic 8 Pro stacks up against the competition at both 4K and 8K in our video comparison test database. Pixel-peep away.
The Red Magic 8 Pro has excellent EIS on its main camera that works at 4K resolution. It does a great job smoothing out bumps and shakes and only leaves behind occasional slight focus hunting, which is easy to live with.
Interestingly, we found no way to capture video with the ultrawide camera on the Red Magic 8 Pro at all. The selfie camera can capture video in 1080p, but the results are a bit disappointing.
Detail isn't great, particularly facial features. The contrast and saturation are cranked way up, and the camera doesn't handle light sources particularly well, just like with stills.
There is no EIS available for the selfie camera.
The Red Magic 8 Pro captures decent low-light photos from its main camera. Detail, colors and exposure are good overall. The dynamic range again leaves more to be desired, and highlights frequently get clipped.
The Red Magic 8 Pro has night mode on its main camera. It can even trigger automatically, though that rarely happened in our experience.
Night mode noticeably improved both light sources and dark areas and doesn't take too long to capture and process - just a couple of seconds.
However, night mode also boosts contrast quite high and applies additional sharpening to the frame, which results in a gritty, overprocessed look. The photos still look good, but we've seen better.
The night mode is only available for the main camera. You can't use it on the ultrawide or selfie cam at all, which is a real shame.
Speaking of the ultrawide camera, it struggles quite badly in low-light conditions. Photos come out soft and blurry with very little detail and blown-out light sources.
Low-light selfies are barely usable. They are a blurry mess, very soft and noisy. Second generation as it might be, the under-display camera tech still needs a lot of work.
Low-light video from the main camera looks very nice, with great detail, colors, and low noise. It is a bit on the darker side, but that's not a dealbreaker.