Although the camera configuration on the new Red Magic 5G isn't the latest and greatest, it's a significant upgrade over last year's Red Magic 3 and 3s. This time, we have more than one focal length on the back but still missing the telephoto lens. The main camera uses the popular 64MP sensor coupled with f/1.8 aperture. The sensor itself is 1/1.72" and 0.8µm pixels.
Unfortunately, there's no enough info on the ultra-wide and the macro cameras aside from the sensor resolutions - 8MP and 2MP, respectively. The EXIF data show f/2.3 for the ultra-wide and f/2.5 for the macro lens.
As far as the selfie camera goes, it's 8MP with f/2.0 aperture.
The camera menu is pretty straightforward and doesn't deviate from the usual camera app structure from other Android phones. Still, there are a couple of new additions to the camera software compared to when we tested the Red Magic 5G. For instance, there's a toggle that enables EIS when recording videos in handheld mode and the other option is to leave it without when shooting with a tripod.
We don't expect great camera performance as gaming phones don't usually shine with the best snappers. The Asus ROG Phone 3 is one of the examples - it's a pricey gaming smartphone but can't really keep up with the current flagship cameraphones. The Red Magic 5S seems to perform just as expected and doesn't deliver a much different experience compared to its predecessor - the Red Magic 5G.
There's visible noise in pretty much all of the scenes and sharpening halos are easy to spot around the edges of the buildings, foliage, fences and small details on the buildings. Yet, sharpness leaves more to be desired, especially from a 64MP unit. The good news is that you get punchy colors, good amount of detail and competent dynamic range.
Just like the Red Magic 5G, there's a bit of inconsistency when it comes to scene detection and AI behavior. Some of the scenes look "juicier" when the AI is able to recognize a certain scene. Take a look at the difference between the two shots.
The camera app offers quick toggle for 3x, 5x and 10x zoom by cropping out the center of the 64MP sensor. Sadly, even the 3x zoom looks soft and lacks detail and naturally inherits the processing of images without the zoom. It's just not the real thing. You might get better results with 2x magnification.
While the main camera captures rather usable daylight photos, the ultra-wide disappoints with soft, underexposed at times and noisy images. There's also some oversharpening like the main camera's processing but this time around, it makes it look a tad better than most 8MP ultra-wides on the market.
The issues observed during the day become more apparent when doing nighttime photography. The scenes are mostly soft, noise is easily distinguishable, and detail gets crushed as well. On the upside, colors look natural, lights and neon signs look good and the dynamic range is wide enough without having to turn on the dedicated Night mode.
When you shoot with the Night mode, expect even softer images due to the noise reduction algorithm working overtime. To be fair, the highlights do look more balanced and there's a lot more detail in the shadows.
The 3x zoom just amplifies the aforementioned issues.
The ultra-wide camera doesn't have a dedicated Night mode so pictures come out soft, noisy and with blown highlights with almost no detail. The shadows do look kind of okay, though.
When you are done with the real-world samples, take a look at our lab samples and get ready for some pixel-peeping.
As with almost all macro cameras, the main drawback of this one is the lack of autofocus. Shooting plants, for example, is a challenge as even the slightest movement can ruin your image. Luckily, there's a magnifier that can be moved around the viewfinder that can help you hit the proper focusing distance. You will see the subject outlined in red.
Make sure to take more than just one or two photos so you are sure at least one of them will be in focus. The images look generally good with enough detail (surprisingly for a 2MP sensor) with punchy colors. Sharpness could be a tad better, though.
We didn't have much luck with portraits and we suspect that the non-final software is to blame. Almost all of our attempts to take a portrait shot ended up with just a normal photo. While the successful portraits looks pretty rough around the edges. Quite literally. The edge detection is unconvincing to say the least.
However, processing doesn't seem to be any different than the one from the Red Magic 5G. Dynamic range is good, noise is limited and the skin tone looks natural.
Shots coming from the 8MP front-facing camera look surprisingly sharp and detailed. The subject's skin is natural-looking and colors are good. As before, the dynamic range needs more work and the noise needs to be reduced as well.
Also, we couldn't get the portrait mode to work, all of the shots came out with non-blurred backgrounds.
Video processing hasn't changed as well and that also means that 8K video at 30fps is available. That's one of the few smartphones on the market that can do 8K at 30fps as they usually cap at 24fps. It's needless to say that the videos look a lot smoother at 30fps and the sharpness is undeniable. The level of detail is impressive and we can still spot some oversharpening halos, which can be seen mostly on trees and subjects with finer detail.
The 2160p video, on the other hand, isn't impressive by any means. Colors are accurate and dynamic range is looking good. Sharpness could be better and we are not comparing it to the 8K footage.
The 1080p sample video isn't looking any better - the processing looks identical but with less detail.
EIS is available at 4K and makes the video look a lot smoother. Even with a bit of faster walking or more aggressive panning, the stabilized video isn't shaky. This time around, nubia has provided a toggle that lets you switch between handheld and tripod mode. Of course, the former cuts some of the field of view to make the EIS work.
And here's a video without EIS for comparison.
You can also take a look at our video compare tool and see how the nubia Red Magic 5S stacks against some of its rivals.