The Lenovo Vibe K5 features a 13MP camera with a maximum resolution of 4160 x 3120 pixels in its native 4:3 mode. The lens has an f/2.2 aperture. A single-LED flash is present but there are no niceties in the line of OIS and phase detection/laser autofocus - not that you'd expect them at the price point.
The user interface of the camera app is logically laid out. On the top left you get four shortcuts (front/rear camera switch, flash mode selector, HDR toggle and shutter release mode). The settings menu is accessed via a dedicated shortcut in the bottom left corner, which brings up a tabbed interface with tabs for stills, video and general settings.
Lenovo has provided the basic shooting modes - there's Normal, Panorama and Effects. While other makers give you a Pro/Manual mode, here you can just go about and tinker with some of the variables from the settings menu. You get white balance presets and manual ISO selection, but also access to image properties - sharpness, saturation, the lot.
The camera output of the Lenovo Vibe K5 exhibits qualities you'd expect to find in this segment. In bright daylight it captures average to good detail, yet its images are a little too soft. Intricate high frequency details like distant foliage are not its forte. Noise is also guaranteed to be found in the shadows.
We didn't find the colors as punchy as on K5 Plus, but we figure that's due to the 4 months between the reviews making a difference in weather and lighting. Saturation is one of the picture controls that can be adjusted in settings anyway, so you can influence that with the touch of a slider.
The smartphone consistently exposes well, there are no pronounced tendencies to err on either side. Dynamic range isn't among the K5's greatest strengths - shadows often end up pitch black when shooting scenes with bright light.
The HDR mode on the Vibe K5 does what it's meant to - brightens up the shadows and tones down the highlights. On occasion it produces over-the-top results (the outdoor image pair below a prime example), in other scenes the effect is more natural. HDR shots are a touch softer than regular photos, but overall detail is preserved. Oddly, the FOV gets a tiny bit narrower in the process.
The Panorama mode on the Vibe K5 appears to be based on video capture, and produces very low-res results.
You can take a look at how the Lenovo K5 stacks up against the competition in our Photo Compare Tool.
The Lenovo Vibe K5 is equipped with a 5MP front-facing camera, mated to a rather dim by today's standards f/2.8 lens. It creates detailed images, and its limited dynamic range is par for the course, so overall it's a decent selfie shooter.
FullHD at 30fps is the best the Vibe K5 can offer in video recording, but that's hardly grounds for complaint in this price range.
Videos are recorded with a bit rate of 20Mbps with a stereo audio stream at 96Kbps. The captured detail is about average, it's certainly not impressive, but we've seen worse. Perhaps the most annoying bit about the K5's video recording is the persistent focus hunting, which you can observe no less than 4 times in the 30-second video below.
You can also download the 1080p video sample (12s, 30MB) taken straight from the Lenovo vibe K5.
You can check out our Video Compare Tool to see how the Lenovo Vibe K5 fares against the competition when it comes to video capturing.