Huawei with Leica, OnePlus with Hasselblad. Like many brands that have come before, vivo recently partnered with lens manufacturer Zeiss in an effort to level up its reputation as a bonafide smartphone camera champ.
We’ve always been cynical of these co-branding partnerships as being nothing more than a license to plaster a camera company’s logo on smartphones. Although, our experience made us a believer.
Before we do a deep dive on its cameras, let’s discuss the partnership first.
Vivo x Zeiss: What is it all about?
Zeiss claims one of the areas they partnered in has to do with Zeiss T* coating. This time around, all of the X70 Pro+’s cameras have this coating and Zeiss says it has to customize a recipe for each one, so it’s optimized for each lens.
The coating helps reduce the glare, ghosting, and imaging artifacts. Take a look at this example shot at the Barclays Center.
See how the X70 Pro+’s camera managed all that glare.
Now, let’s talk cameras and take a look at some samples.
First, the X70 Pro+ has four cameras: a 50-megapixel wide camera, a 48-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a 114-degree field of view (and with gimbal stabilization), a 12-megapixel telephoto camera with optical zoom, and an additional periscope camera with 5x optical zoom.
Regular 1x shots
Using the periscope
Taking selfies on its 32-megapixel selfie shooter
Performing against the Galaxy S21 Ultra
This is probably what you’ve been waiting for: a comparison of the vivo X70 Pro+ against the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Without further ado, let’s jump ahead. For easier comparison, all photos on the left were taken using the vivo X70 Pro+ while the photos on the right were shots from the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
These photos were shot during the day with the sun out, and the phones do well as expected.
Even in tricky situations such as against the light shots, where the HDR kicks in.
It’s the same on a gloomier day.
Low light is where we’ll see the most dramatic of differences, but first, let’s go indoors.
Admittedly, this wasn’t the most photogenic cocktail but the X70 Pro+ produced the most post-worthy shot.
And we like its photo best in this shot of the bar’s interior.
Next, dusk — right before the lovely blue hour.
This shot taken at Transmitter Park in Brooklyn could go either way. The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s photo is the brightest while the X70 Pro+ tones it down a little — keeping it bright but also keeping it as close to reality as possible.
Now, let’s add a human subject. The problem here is the X70 Pro+’s photo is too bright, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s is not very sharp.
That evening, we also stumbled on a very, very dimly lit bar. Think: heavily dark room with little to no lights.
Truly, the X70 Pro+ is a low-light master. Chay looked stunning and the room looked bright — something you couldn’t even see even with your naked eye. (Because the room is dark, remember?)
The Galaxy S21 Ultra managed to capture all the colors too, but at cost of noise. And when a face is involved — it’s not very flattering.
Although, personally, we wouldn’t post the shot taken using the X70 Pro+. It’s so good, it kind of takes away from the point of the photo.
That said, this is such a great example of how good of a low-light shooter this phone is.
Last shot at this bar without a human subject. The drink was a Piña Colada smoothie and it was white. Notice how the X70 Pro+ captured the condensation on the glass.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s shot was color accurate, but if you’ll zoom in to the upper right corner, you can see how noisy the S21 Ultra’s shot actually is.
You good? Crazy ‘no?
While comparing, here’s one last thing we want to show you. Thanks to its T star coating, notice these two shots taken in two different subway stations. Notice how the fluorescent lights aren’t as blown out on the X70 Pro+’s photos.
X70 Pro+ vs Galaxy S21 Ultra
Cameras aside, the X70 Pro+ directly goes after the Galaxy S21 Ultra. On paper, it’s got a resume that can go head-to-head with Samsung’s best.
6.8 / AMOLED / 120Hz
6.8 / AMOLED / 120Hz
If you look at this chart, you’ll see they’re pretty similar. The X70 Pro+ is at a slight advantage with its newer 888 Plus processor, which was launched last June way after the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s release. While the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a bigger battery.
They both offer a complement of cameras that, as you saw in the comparison, are competitive with one another. But the Periscope Camera on the Galaxy S21 Ultra can zoom further to 10x.
They both have things like IP68 water and dust resistance, and an under-display fingerprint scanner — both of which are fast and snappy.
Both have quick wired and wireless charging. The biggest leg up the Galaxy S21 Ultra has is support for the S-Pen, in case you want a phone that lets you use a stylus.
Is the vivo X70 Pro+ worth considering as your GadgetMatch?
Overall, vivo has built a solid challenger, delivering on the needs of hardcore users: a screen that’s great for content consumption be it watching movies or games; cameras that shoot well, especially in low light; and batteries that last longer and charge fast.
And in a world without Huawei — still suffering from the Google ban — and LG, which closed down its mobile phone business this year, vivo is the only other manufacturer that’s made a phone that can legitimately rival the best from Samsung.
Undoubtedly, the X70 Pro+ is one of the best Android phones you can buy today. Period. And for that, the phone deserves the GadgetMatch seal of approval.
For the full vivo X70 Pro+ review, watch our video on YouTube:
Huawei Mate 50 Pro vs HONOR Magic4 Pro: Camera Shootout
Camera battle between two companies that used to be together
In case you didn’t know, HONOR used to be Huawei’s sub-brand — until they decided to part ways. While still using Huawei’s EMUI software (but calling it Magic UI), HONOR is now operating as a separate entity.
Well, aside from the obvious Magic vs Mate branding, Huawei has its own “Ultra Aperture” camera. Coined from the term itself, it features a dual-variable aperture versus the Magic4 Pro’s fixed f/1.8 lens opening.
|Huawei Mate 50 Pro||HONOR Magic4 Pro|
PDAF + Laser AF + OIS
Multi-Directional PDAF + Laser AF
|Ultra-Wide||13MP f/2.2 120º||50MP f/2.2 122º|
3.5x optical zoom
100x digital zoom
3.5x optical zoom
100x digital zoom
|Selfie||13MP f/2.4 + ToF 3D Depth||12MP f/2.4 + ToF 3D Depth|
It also looks like the megapixel count is smaller on the ultra-wide unit of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro. Aside from that, the periscope telephoto lens and selfie cameras of the two phones are very much alike.
Now that you get a clear picture between the similarities and differences of each phone’s camera system, let’s get on to our camera shootout!
As previously mentioned, the Mate 50 Pro features a dual-variable aperture while the Magic4 Pro is consistent with its aperture offering. But can you really tell which is which considering they both feature a 50MP sensor?
For shots that require a wider Field of View (FoV), which do you think wins this round considering that the Magic4 Pro features a 50MP ultra-wide shooter while the Mate 50 Pro has a measly 12MP UWA shooter? (Despite the same f/2.2 aperture)
Periscope Telephoto: Optical Zoom
Both the Mate and the Magic have a similar 64MP f/3.5 lens that has an optical zoom range of 3.5x. But of course, there would still be a difference in post-processing AI algorithm.
Periscope Telephoto: Lossless to Digital Zoom
With a similar periscope lens, both phones can both achieve a 10x lossless zoom and up to 100x digital zoom. But in this specific section, I chose to just zoom up digitally to just 60x.
This is what makes or breaks a smartphone camera. With the obvious differences in Night Mode processing magic, one phone definitely stands out. That’s either a matter of personal preference or just fans’ favorites.
#26 (3.5x zoom)
BONUS: Super Macro
Just like other flagship smartphones nowadays, Super Macro is a feature that uses the ultra-wide lenses instead of the regular wide one in order to take close-up macro shots of objects. Doing so requires you to go closer to the subject you are shooting.
You may already have a hint considering the results are consistent throughout the board:
Photo A — HONOR Magic4 Pro
Photo B — Huawei Mate 50 Pro
What should set both phones apart are the way they process each shot — but Huawei and HONOR’s similar AI camera processing techniques are what actually makes it hard to differentiate one phone from another.
For the most part, you can barely tell which is which. Shots taken during the broad daylight looked barely different regardless if its the regular wide, ultra-wide, or even the periscope telephoto lens.
But in some instances, the HONOR Magic4 Pro boosts saturation while the Huawei Mate 50 Pro samples focuses on brightening up the shots. However, its dual-variable aperture camera did not really make drastic differences in daylight shots for it to be considered a “groundbreaking” camera feature in today’s flagship smartphones.
Now when it comes to Night Mode “Magic”, the Huawei Mate 50 Pro is the clearer winner — especially with its very wide f/1.4 aperture. As I told in my past camera shootouts, the “better” Night Mode shot isn’t just about being the brightest nor the most vibrant of the bunch.
In the case of the Mate, it displayed the right amount of shadows, highlights, contrast and even the dynamic range. Most of all, its saturation what you can actually see irl.
Honestly speaking, I thought the HONOR Magic4 Pro is one among the best flagship smartphones for night photography. But after seeing how there’s a clear distinction between it and the Huawei Mate 50 Pro, I have reconsidered my opinion.
The less-saturated look of the night shots taken with the HONOR Magic4 Pro is preferential though. Some may still like it because it gives you that flat, RAW-like image. Thus, giving you more creative freedom in post-processing the shot afterwards.
Honestly, you can never go wrong between choosing these smartphones. But the dealbreaker is: can you compromise 5G and proper GMS support over a set of cameras that perform better at night?
iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone XS Max: Camera Shootout
Do you really need to upgrade now?
Obviously, the newer iPhone has better cameras across the board — especially with its evident trio set of eye-boggling cameras.
|iPhone 14 Pro Max||iPhone XS Max|
Sensor-Shift OIS + Dual-Pixel PDAF
OIS + Dual-Pixel PDAF
|Ultra-Wide||12MP f/2.2 120º||N/A|
3x optical zoom
2x optical zoom
|Others||Dual-LED Dual-Tone Flash
Up to 4K/60fps
Cinematic Mode 4K
|Quad-LED Dual-Tone Flash
Up to 4K/60fps
But is it really time for iPhone XS Max users to upgrade? Or should you wait a little longer for the next best camera(s) in an iPhone?
For fairness’ sake
I only compared the two iPhones using their respective wide (main) sensor — together with some 2x shots:
- The gigantic 48MP main sensor on the 14 Pro Max wasn’t maximized; shots were taken via Auto Mode instead of ProRAW
- 2x digital zoom was used on the 14 Pro Max instead of its dedicated telephoto zoom lens that optically zooms in to 3x
- Ultra-wide was not used because the XS Max doesn’t have one
- Night Mode was also turned off as the iPhone XS Max lacks Night Mode capabilities
And unlike our other camera shootouts, the order of these photos are not time-dependent.
BONUS: Macro Control
Macro mode was introduced in last year’s iPhone 13 Pro series. Instead of using the regular wide lens for taking macro closeups, it utilizes the ultra-wide lens. While most may not notice the split-second camera behavior, your iPhone detects and automatically switches the camera to the ultra-wide lens.
The same case happens in the iPhone 14 Pro Max. If you don’t toggle the ‘Macro Control’ feature via Settings, you would barely notice that you’re already taking a photo using the ultra-wide lens instead of the regular wide (main) sensor.
It may not matter to most but the photo sample above just shows how there’s a major difference in focus and depth-of-field. Can you tell which is which?
As obvious as the photos look, here are the results:
A – iPhone 14 Pro Max
B – iPhone XS Max
Even if you’re not leaning towards photography, the iPhone 14 Pro Max displayed better photos. And if I were to be specific, its post-processing techniques have improved over the last four years — be that its contrast, dynamic range, AWB (Auto White Balance), and most of all, sharpness.
But in some instances like in Photos #2 #4 #11 #16 #18 and #26, the iPhone XS Max doesn’t really lag too far behind. If it weren’t for the obvious (over)sharpening, you wouldn’t totally guess that the iPhone XS Max is the contender.
For the most part, the iPhone XS Max can still keep up — especially in daylight photos. The iPhone 14 Pro Max barely showed real improvements especially in the last three daylight photos in the set. And as I already mentioned the Macro Control feature earlier, it’s also worth pointing out that unlike past iPhones, the iPhone 14 Pro Max cannot go closer to a subject (for reference, see Photo #9) or else it will force you to switch to Macro Mode / ultra-wide lens usage.
But for all the obvious reasons, upgrading from the iPhone XS Max to the all-new iPhone 14 Pro Max won’t be a disappointment.
You’ll get an ultra-wide lens and on top of its 2x crop zoom, there’s an extra 3x optical zoom lens if you like taking zoomed shots more. Lastly, even if Night Mode was turned off (and both phones have an identical f/1.8 aperture), low-light samples on the iPhone 14 Pro Max are just ahead of the game compared to its predecessor. Its brighter, has shallower bokeh, and most of all, has plenty of detail thanks to the new chipset, larger image sensor, and better lens optics.
vivo V25 vs V23 5G: Camera Shootout
Are there even significant improvements?
It hasn’t even been a year but vivo has already revealed the successor to the V23 5G that was launched earlier this 2022. But is it actually worth upgrading to the new vivo V25? Or should you save yourself some money and buy the older V23 5G instead?
Don’t let that new camera bump with bigger circular cutouts on the vivo V25 fool you. On paper, the cameras are close to one another but the V25 has the advantage of having a slightly wider aperture and OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) that the V23 5G doesn’t have.
|vivo V25||vivo V23 5G|
PDAF, OIS + EIS
|Ultra-WIde||8MP 120º f/2.2|
|Selfie||50MP f/2.0 wide
|50MP f/2.0 wide
8MP f/2.28 ultra-wide
+ Dual-tone Spotlight
The sad news though is that, vivo has decided to remove the extra ultra-wide selfie camera and dual flash system on the new V25.
But how do these phones perform side-by-side knowing the new V25 also has a slightly less-powerful MediaTek Dimensity 900 chipset over V23 5G’s Dimensity 920? Are there enough convincing differences or is the older model actually better? Feed yourself some photo sample comparisons below.
In any given circumstance, a valuable Android midranger should take at least a decent photo with natural light around — thus me taking lesser photos to compare.
Still, your judgment matters.
Taking food shots (mostly with indoor lighting) is a better way to test which phone camera is capable of producing the better image output with the right amount of highlights, shadows, contrast, sharpness, temperature, as well as Dynamic Range.
*Left photo was taken multiple times with the focus tapped on the baked roll. Lens coating was also cleaned several times but still resulted to the same output.
Low-light photos can either make or break the capabilities of a smartphone’s camera.
While it’s a mixed bag of outputs, it still depends on the user if Night Mode photos are important in a midranger or not.
BONUS: Low-Light Selfie
For users who love taking selfies even in the dark, both phones can take fill-in flash (using the display) to brighten up your faces.
However, the ultra-wide selfie and Dual-tone Spotlight feature were removed completely from the vivo V25. You just have to guess and pick which is which.
With Flash (Aura Fill, Dual-Tone Dual Spotlight Flash)
No more confusions, the results are consistent all throughout the board:
Photo A — vivo V23 5G
Photo B — vivo V25
While it’s barely a big camera quality improvement, the vivo V25 has rendered some of the scenes quite well such as in Photos 1A, 11, and 12 which the V23 5G failed to display at least an acceptable output. Other times, the vivo V23 5G delivered better results like in Photos 1B, 2, 3A, 4, and 13A. Those images delivered overall better photos with a sufficient amount of HDR (High Dynamic Range) and AWB (Auto White Balance).
Overall, the V25 produced better images with decent amount of highlights, shadows, contrast, sharpness. The newer model also has some slight edge on focusing and making shots brighter and more stable at night.
While only two selfies were provided, the V23 5G obviously has the edge — especially with its extra selfie lens and dual-flash feature.
If you’re coming from the V23 5G, you don’t need to upgrade to the vivo V25. Period. But, if you’re looking for a phone to replace your old vivo smartphone (or pretty much any old budget phone or midranger for that matter), buying the V25 won’t hurt.
Unless you’re looking for a used unit, a brand new vivo V23 5G is being sold at PhP 27,999. Whereas, a brand new V25 retails at a cheaper PhP 23,999 price tag.
Imho, choosing the V23 5G over the V25 is advantageous for some reasons: a more premium-looking design with metallic sides, slightly faster chipset, and the extra selfie camera.
But realizing how more capable the cameras of the V25 are, you can also choose it for its bigger battery and brighter display. Also, the OIS feature is very handy if you love taking photos in action or at night or just record stable-free videos without worrying about warping and jitters. At the end of the day, you should know what you value the most in buying a new smartphone.
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