The X70 Pro's camera setup is flagship-grade, and it shoots like one too. The main camera outputs great 12.5MP pictures with just minor issues that need to be ironed out. The first thing we noticed is that sharpness isn't on par with the best in the price class; photos are just a tad less sharp than we would have expected.
Also, exposure metering can be a bit off sometimes, so we suggest shooting more than one or two times per scene. It tends to go for a brighter exposure and can sometimes clip the highlights. Our main suspect is the automatic AI scene detection, which is usually on by default, and we left it on when taking these samples. Additionally, this issue is absent in the full-resolution 50MP mode, where there are no AI enhancements.
Even though sharpness isn't excellent, vivo didn't go for overly aggressive sharpening, leaving room for a more natural look. The foliage and trees look authentic and not like they were rendered from the ground up. Speaking of authenticity, we can't describe the colors that way, but they aren't over the top either. Let's say they are punchy, vibrant and are ideal for social media posting without having to edit afterward.
Anyway, we found the dynamic range to be wide enough, flagship-worthy even, the amount of resolved detail is impressive, and noise is virtually non-existent. It's hard to spot even in the dark parts of the pictures. However, it does start to creep in in the shadows in generally darker scenes like indoor scenes or shots taken at dusk.
As it's usually the case with un-binned 50MP photos, these ones resolve considerably more detail, but we can't say they are sharper by any means. You also get more noticeable noise and no HDR enhancements (hence a narrower dynamic range). And since the AI scene detection doesn't work in this mode, we didn't notice the exposure inconsistencies we discussed earlier.
2x zoom camera
The 2x telephoto camera produces excellent photos with little room for complaints. The samples we took are detailed, sharp (sometimes sharper than the main camera even), have a wide dynamic range, punchy colors (similar to the main camera's) and without much noise. The latter can be seen only on uniform backgrounds, and you have to look closely.
Thanks to the wider aperture, the 2x zoom camera can be used in sub-optimal conditions as well. Surely, sharpness drops, and the noise becomes more apparent, but this is to be expected from pretty much every telephoto unit.
5x zoom camera
To our surprise, if the right lighting conditions are met, the periscope camera matches the 2x zoom camera in terms of detail and sharpness. Dynamic range is also pretty good, and we can only see slightly darker shadows, although it's not apparent at first glance. Noise management is once again excellent.
The problem with the 5x zoom camera is that it's less sensitive to light. Even the slightest drop in the ambient light results in considerably softer photos and visible noise. Still pretty good for daylight, indoor shooting, though.
The ultrawide camera is kind of a combo breaker here as processing looks a bit different than the other three cameras'. Colors are less vibrant, perhaps more close to natural, dynamic range is sensibly narrower, and the samples are visibly softer, and noise can be spotted on homogeneous backgrounds.
Still, it's not far from the competition's ultrawides in most aspects. It resolves plenty of detail, features autofocus for dramatic close-up shots, color fringing towards the edges is minimal, and the lens correction algorithm does an excellent job. We would have appreciated a slightly wider field of view, though.
We are happy to see the AF on the ultrawide camera put into work instead of using inferior dedicated macro cameras. The Super Macro mode kicks in automatically when you get close enough to a subject and produces great shots. They are detailed, sharp and can be usable even if the lighting conditions aren't perfect. Contrast could be a tad better, but the overall quality is miles ahead of the dedicated macro cameras' on other phones.
The low-light samples using the default photo mode are really good. It seems like sharpness isn't the main camera's strongest suit but it sure does offer impressive dynamic range, contrast, well-developed shadows with plenty of detail as well as fine detail around the buildings. Color temperature is on point, too, while noise is well-contained. The same goes for the light sources.
Speaking of, we aren't sure if the lights and neon signs are looking that good because of the HDR algorithm or the Zeiss' T* lens coating is doing its job. Either way, the HDR's involvement is apparent, and the automatic AI scene detection always prompted us to switch to the dedicated Night mode. However, it always indicated that the software is using some sort of nighttime optimizations, and it always took about a second to capture a photo.
To our surprise, the Night mode-made shots don't look all that different from the default ones. The Night mode isn't overly aggressive with the post-processing, although it takes a couple of seconds to capture a photo. Still, it's one of the fastest Night modes we've used.
Anyway, the changes are rather subtle - sharpness is improved only in some darker parts of the image. Shadows are ever so slightly brightened without ruining the natural look of the scenes and don't look over-processed. We like it! There's also a barely noticeable improvement in the street lights, and even the small traces of noise are all cleared up without smearing away fine detail.
At the end of the day, we suggest shooting with the Night mode as it doesn't take too much time to capture all the needed images and still makes slightly better shots.
2x zoom camera
Again, thanks to the rather large f/2.0 aperture, the 2x telephoto produces decent and sharp enough photos. Do keep in mind that due to the lack of OIS, shaky shots happen every now and then. Still, the overall processing is in line with the main camera with accurate color temperature, nice contrast, plenty of fine detail and well-developed shadows.
Since the Night mode works with all the cameras, we took 2x zoom Night mode samples as well, but we struggled to find any significant difference. In fact, some of the samples suggest that the default Photo mode outputs sharper images. Perhaps it's best to rely on the standard Photo mode for the 2x zoom shooting at night. This minimizes the possibility of moving unintentionally while the system takes the needed images for stacking.
5x zoom camera
As with all periscope camera systems, the one here struggles after sunset. Images are muddy, noisy and soft. The Night mode can only do so much - it improves contrast and sharpness by a little but not enough to save the scene.
We weren't expecting much from the ultrawide camera during the night, but it held up pretty well in our usual nighttime scenes. Dynamic range is understandably narrower; colors are less saturated but still punchy enough. The level of detail is okay, whereas sharpness is surprisingly good. There's a touch of artificial sharpening Introduced by the software without ruining the natural look of the scene.
The Night mode's behavior is similar to that of the 2x zoom camera, meaning the dedicated nighttime mode makes images softer. It's more apparent here with the ultrawide camera, though. And there's no added benefit from the Night mode here either, so keep it off when shooting with the ultrawide unit.
Here's how the primary camera on the vivo X70 Pro stacks against the rest of the competition in the controlled environment of our Photo Compare Tool.
The software allows you to shoot portraits using all of the cameras (except for the ultrawide, of course), although the 5x zoom camera doesn't produce a faux bokeh effect. In any case, the main and the 2x telephoto cameras are perfectly capable of capturing nice portraits. The main camera resolves a tad more detail and captures the natural hue of the subject's skin tone. The 2x zoom camera tends to render the skin a bit pale at times.
Naturally, the 2x zoom camera is more sensitive to sub-optimal lighting conditions, so when the light drops, sharpness suffers, meaning indoor shots may sometimes look considerably softer compared to their counterparts taken with the main camera. The latter stays rather consistent across all lighting conditions. Either way, in both modes, the faux bokeh effect is convincing, it's adjustable, and the edge detection is quite precise.
The selfie quality is a bit disappointing, especially for 32MP images. Not to mention the Portrait mode only works sometimes. No matter the mode, however, the samples look soft and a bit noisy at times. Bonus points for the wide dynamic range, accurate color reproduction and the level of detail the selfies offer.
The vivo X70 Pro caps its video recording at 2160p@60fps since the Dimensity 1200 doesn't support 8K capturing. But given the scarcity of 8K-capable playback devices and the rather unsatisfactory 4320p recording offered by most phones, it's not a big miss. So let's start with the standard 2160p@30fps video recording.
Sadly, we've seen better videos from considerably cheaper alternatives. Strange how the stills turned out pretty good while the 4K video just isn't on par with the competition. The first thing to notice is the soft nature of the recording, although the fine detail is there. There's also a prominent lean towards a brighter exposure leaving the buildings and the sky in the distance pale and even clipped. The whole video comes out with poor contrast.
On the other hand, dynamic range, color reproduction and noise control are all on point.
Leaving the 4K toggle would force the main camera to shoot in 2x zoom mode, and it's needless to say that the results are sub-optimal, as you can see for yourself. If you want to shoot using the dedicated 2x telephoto camera, you should switch to 1080p.
The same goes for the 5x zoom. In fact, there's no 5x zoom toggle in 4K mode, which is understandable given that the sensor's resolution isn't enough to produce 2160p videos. In Full HD mode, however, you can use the 5x telephoto lens. The end result isn't impressive, but it's definitely usable. It's sufficiently sharp for a 1080p video, and color reproduction is rather accurate. Dynamic range is narrow, and there's visible noise on uniform backgrounds.
The ultrawide camera's video looks surprisingly similar to the main camera's processing but with a narrower dynamic range. Notice the clipped buildings in the distance and the darker shadows. Understandably, sharpness and detail suffer, which is often the case with ultrawide lenses. Colors do seem accurate, though.
Of course, one of the key selling points of the vivo X70 Pro, and the whole series for that matter, is the gimbal stabilization on the main cameras. This means steady videos and excellent panning capabilities. The company confirmed that the gimbal OIS works in videos and photos. However, the Ultra Steady mode is capped at 1080p, probably because it uses standard EIS or a combination of both, gimbal OIS + electronic stabilization. The latter is highly unlikely, but we can only speculate.
And here's the gimbal-stabilized 4K video for reference. To be frank, we didn't see a significant difference between the Ultra Steady and the standard 4K stabilization, but the latter gives you a much sharper image, so we recommend it over the 1080p-capped Ultra Steady mode.
There's also a dedicated low-light video recording that we tried out. Unfortunately, this mode is also capped at 1080p, but the good news is that it's worth it. Comparing the two videos side by side - the standard 2160p and the 1080p Super Night - we found the latter to produce considerably better results. In fact, it works better than the Night mode for stills.
Although in Full HD resolution, the second video provides a much sharper image quality, more detail in the shadows, noticeably less noise (notice the difference in the sky) and more importantly, the neon signs and lights are crispier. So don't be fooled by the lower resolution, do use the Super Night mode for low-light video recording.
Once you are done with the real-life scenarios, take a look at our video compare tool to see how the vivo X70 Pro stacks against the other phones we've reviewed.