The Meizu Pro 5 utilizes a new Sony IMX 230 sensor with 21MP resolution, an upgrade over the IMX 220 one used on the MX5. It is capable of impressive 5312x3984px snaps in 4:3 aspect. The auto focus uses a hybrid system, incorporating phase detect auto focus in addition to the regular contrast detect system. The camera also features a laser-assisted auto-focus, which should help the sensor take snapshots in the dark.
Meizu offers what it calls Super high ISO that would allow the phone to shoot at up to 1600 ISO in low light conditions. There's also a dual-tone LED flash, which should produce more natural flash photos.
The camera interface by default launches into Auto mode where the camera determines the shooting parameters. You have the option to turn on HDR (but no automatic HDR), gridlines for the viewfinder and a level gauge so that your pics are perfectly leveled compared to the horizon. There's also an option to enable a timer of either 3, 5 or 10 seconds.
There's a side-scrollable mode dial at the top of the camera UI but you can also tap it to get a full view of the shooting modes - all eight of them. These are Auto, Manual (where you can set the shutter speed (up to 420s!), ISO, exposure compensation and even the focus - from macro to infinity) that uses a Gmail-like icon, Beauty (which can make eyes bigger, faces slimmer, skin smoother and whiter), Panorama, Light field (which is Meizu's refocus app allowing you to put the focus in any part of the image or have it entirely in focus), Scan (for QR and barcodes), Slowmotion and Macro.
The Meizu Pro 5 snaps even greater 21MP shots than the MX5, which is an achievement right there. The resolved detail is top-notch, there is no oversharpening and the noise levels are kept amazingly low even in the shadows.
The samples have excellent dynamic range and the rendition of foliage is lovely. Contrast, white balance and colors are also something deserving only praise. Indeed Meizu once again put an effort of improving the already great software and they did it. While there is no Auto HDR mode, the amazing dynamic range more than made up for it and we resorted to the HDR option only a single time in two weeks.
The dynamic range of the regular photos is so impressive that we almost feel like all images are shot in some sort of HDR mode or at least the camera is applying some clever curve algorhitms to make the best out of the scene. Whatever it is, it helps the phone produce stunning results every time and we like the images no matter the magic trick they're using.
The HDR mode is meant to get an even wider exposure of a scene - bringing back detail in both the highlights and the shadows. On the Meizu Pro 5 it does a very good job of bringing back detail in tricky scenes, but if there is enough light, it will turn out a rather unrealistic looking overexposed picture. The camera sensor seems to have a great native dynamic range, so we'd suggest turning the HDR on only if you are unsatisfied by the auto mode.
We played a bit with the manual mode to take a few low-light scenes. We used custom shutter speeds and exposure for those images, while the phone was mounted on a tripod. Steadied by the tripod, the Meizu Pro 5 can capture some wonderful scenes after the sun sets. Plus, if you happen to be in a moonless night out on the mounting, far away from any city lights, you can use the long shutter speeds (from 1 up to 7 minutes), for some nice star sky shots.
We also tested the Pro 5's flash and it turned out so bright that sometimes we needed to tune down the exposure compensation, which is hardly ideal.
Panoramas aren't too impressive on the Meizu Pro 5. There is plenty of resolution and good overall exposure but the resolved detail is low.
Finally, you can check out a 5MP image taken with the front-facing camera of the device. It doesn't shine with too much detail but it would do a fine job for selfies.
We've uploaded full resolution (21MP) photos to our photo quality comparison database to compare against other high-resolution smartphones.
The Meizu Pro 5 shoots videos up to 4K resolution (3840 x 2160px) at 30fps and 1080p videos at 30fps. There's no 60fps smooth motion option but you do get a 720p@100fps slow motion shooting mode that renders and plays back at 25fps.
The UHD videos of the Meizu MX5 are recorded in the HEVC format, which is essentially the next-generation H.265 mode that uses a much smaller footprint on the storage. While this advancement makes sense because it helps you reduce the storage requirements it means that most of your media players will need an additional codec download in order to playback the videos you shot with the Meizu Pro 5. The smartphone itself has no issues with the videos, though.
Sadly, even YouTube doesn't support the new codec just yet so you can check out the 2160p@30fps sample via a direct download (it's a big download just so you know).
The 4K videos produced by the Meizu Pro 5 have very good levels of detail, but we saw a lot of blotchy compression artifacts, which might as well be a codec issue but it's all we got anyway. Other than that, the resolved detail and the contrast are great, so are the colors too. The audio recording is merely mono, unfortunately.
The 1080p videos offer a wider field of view - their bitrate is also about 12Mbps, and the audio is mono, but the resolution is four times as low. In this case however there are no traces of the blotchy compression artifacts.
The Full HD videos kept the good colors, contrast and white balance we saw on the 4K samples.
Here goes the 1080p@30fps as a direct download too.
The 720p slow motion videos are shot at 100 fps. The phone plays those videos back at 100fps but if you export them you get a 25fps sample. Motion is slowed as advertised but the quality isn't too impressive.
Head to our Video quality comparison tool for a comparative look at the PRO 5 video recording capabilities.