The Realme 5 Pro is more than the company's first quad camera phone. The company never made a triple camera phone - it jumped straight to four. And the dual cameras it made previously were simple main + depth sensor. So, this is a quantum leap forward.
The arrangement is a bit odd and the markings on the glass are a bit misleading. First (top to bottom) is the ultrawide snapper, then the primary one, the depth camera is next, and last is the macro shooter.
The main camera uses the widespread 48MP Quad Bayer sensor by Sony - IMX 586. It's a sensor optimized for both daylight shooting (with HDR mode) and low-light photography (with Realme's Nightscape). This same sensor was used in the Realme X among many other competing offers from different makers.
The 119-degree ultrawide-angle camera is new for Realme too. It has an 8MP sensor with an f/2.2 aperture. There is automatic distortion correction applied when necessary.
Then there's the 2MP macro camera (the pixels on the sensor are quite large, 2.0µm). Its lens can focus from as close as 4cm away, so you can get really close to your subjects. Note that the macro and the ultrawide cameras can't record video.
Realme calls the 2MP fourth unit the "Portrait camera", rather than just a depth sensor. It certainly helps with the bokeh rendering, but allegedly, it's also used to enhance the contrast of the final photo.
The camera app offers AI scene recognition - you'll see a small icon when a scene is successfully recognized, and the software will tweak all settings accordingly. Food, snow, pets, sunsets, grass, among other scenes, are detected mostly correctly.
The app has three major modes - Photo, Portrait and Video - and you can swipe between those. The Chroma Boost toggle is on the opposite end of the viewfinder, accompanied by the ultrawide switch, HDR and flash settings. Chroma Boost is an advanced HDR mode, which stacks a couple of images and offers even further improvements in the dynamic range and occasionally - better color saturation.
There is also a hamburger menu with a few more shooting modes - 48MP Ultra Picture, Nightscape, Ultra macro, Expert (manual settings), Pano, Time-lapse, and Slow-mo. There is also a zoom toggle switching between 1X, 2X, and 5X, but it does only digital zooming - there is no telephoto lens on the Realme 5 Pro.
Oddly, 2X is also available on the ultrawide camera, too, but if you expected it would switch to the regular snapper - you'd be wrong. It just crops and upscales from the ultrawide shot, which is, well, pointless.
In the Expert mode you get to tweak exposure (ISO in the 100-6400 range and shutter speed in the 1/8000s-16s range), white balance (by light temperature, but no presets), manual focus (in arbitrary 0 to 1 units with 0 being close focus and 1 being infinity) and exposure compensation (-2EV to +2EV in 1/6EV increments).
Let's start our image quality analysis with the main camera. The 48MP snapper saves by default 12MP images and the ones we shot turned out very good. There is plenty of detail, the noise levels are pretty low, the colors - true to life, and the dynamic range is wide, and we never used the HDR option.
The foliage presentation needs some work as upon closer inspection it looks like an oil-painting as the algorithm has smeared the fine detail. Moire fringes can be noticed in some busy scenes, too. But neither of these shortcomings is enough to dent the very positive impressions we had.
There is the so-called Ultra 48MP mode if you want to shoot in 48MP. The Sony IMX 586 sensor can take full-resolution photos when there is enough light and it saves a nicely detailed photo in 48MP resolution. It's nothing spectacular though as various smudged areas and artifacts are present. The image is also quite noisy. There are no benefits in shooting in 48MP as when downscaling these 48MP photos to 12MP - you won't get a better image than the default 12MP one. In fact, often you'd get a worse one.
There's the Chroma boost toggle that enhances saturation slightly and makes for livelier shots. If you want your colors to pop but not over the top - you may want to try it. It also works as HDR, so you may want to get some clipped highlights restored.
But here is one benefit of having such a big sensor - even though there isn't a telephoto camera, you can still shoot 2x zoomed photos and while they are digitally zoomed, they still look better than any zoom done on a 12MP camera.
Nobody has asked for this, but Realme also offers a 5x zoom toggle. It's all digital of course and it doesn't produce a great quality photo but it will at least adjust the exposure well for your intended framing so it's better than merely cropping an existing 1x image.
The major addition this generation gets is the 119-degree ultrawide camera. It fits significantly more of the scene into the frame and applies distortion correction when needed.
Unfortunately, the resolved detail is poor, and the dynamic range is not very wide. All photos appear overexposed, even when the Auto HDR was triggered. On a positive note - the distortion correction did work as advertised and the noise is kept low.
This is Realme's first attempt with these snappers and the maker is on the right path. A software update could easily fix the exposure issue, and we are hoping Realme to be already working on that.
We took a couple of macro samples from the dedicated 2MP macro camera. Unfortunately, after seeing what the Honor 20 phones can do with its 2MP macro snapper, the Realme 5 Pro failed to impress. Sure, those are nice macro pictures, but the detail isn't that great, the corners are soft, and the center isn't that sharp either.
Now, let's see what happens when the light is low, and we start again with the primary camera. Its 12MP default photos turned out good, but nothing that impressive. There is enough detail left even after the aggressive noise reduction and the colors stayed accurate.
The Chroma boost mode at night won't give you much more detail, but it will pop the colors of your image. By the way, you can use the Chroma boost mode in combination with most of the other modes available on the Realme 5 Pro but Nightscape.
You can use the Ultra 48MP mode in low-light, too, but if you hope for better images - you'd be disappointed. When you resize the high-res image down to 12MP, the benefit in the detail would be minor, if any at all.
The zoom toggles are available in low-light, of course. We won't even bother to discuss the 5X images, but the 2x ones deserve a mention. The software crops from the center of the original 48MP image from the main camera and some frame stacking might be involved, as well. And the 12MP photo you get is pretty good and very much usable.
Nightscape is present on the Realme 5 Pro and is supposedly improved over the previous generations. It is the same pseudo long exposure night mode you'd find on many other smartphones and takes about 2-3 seconds to take a picture. There's a boost in the shadows and the dark skies, and the saved photo is brighter and quite balanced than the regular one.
The detail is nothing to phone home about as a lot gets smeared by the noise reduction and even then - some noise still remains. But we suspect those were never meant to be looked at full 12MP resolution and when not - we quite liked those Nightscape shots.
Shooting with the 8MP ultrawide camera at night will return abysmal photos - dark, with extremely poor detail and quite noisy.
Nightscape can be used on the ultrawide snapper, but it will yield brighter but still rather unusable photos.
Once you're done with the real world samples, head over to our Photo compare tool to see how the Realme 5 Pro stacks up against other phones.
The Realme 5 Pro shoots portraits with its main 48MP snapper and with the help of the 2MP so-called portrait camera. Realme says this tiny camera is not just a depth sensor but is also used to enhance the contrast of the said portraits. Well, let's see.
Indeed, the Realme 5 Pro takes excellent portraits with competent subject detection and pleasingly convincing background blur. Even a messy haircut wasn't enough to throw it off the rails, so we rate these shots as outstanding.
Note that when the light is not optimal, the detail on people drops dramatically.
The Realme 5 Pro has the same 16MP f/2.0 selfie camera as the Realme X and the focus stays fixed. On the software side, there are all sorts of beatification enhancement options like skin smoothing and eye enlargement and face thinning, and whatnot.
When light is in abundance the phone keeps the ISO at base and you'll get super detailed and sharp selfies. The last selfie was shot in HDR.
In even moderately dimmer conditions there's a noticeable drop in sharpness at the pixel level, likely caused by aggressive noise reduction. In any case, colors are rendered nicely, and dynamic range is reasonably wide.
You can use portrait mode for selfies, too. Those are saved in 8MP instead of 16MP, and turned out quite good. The phone does a nice job with subject separation and we didn't get (many) clipped ears or the like. Again, anything less than ideal light will result in a drop in sharpness.
The Realme 5 Pro captures videos only with its main (48MP) camera. It records video up to 4K at 30fps and there's 1080p at both 30fps and 60fps. You get the option to choose between the h.264 and h.265 codecs. There's no mention of video stabilization in the menus or the viewfinder but Realme mentions EIS within the phone specs. We found that the electronic stabilization works only on 1080p at 30fps setting.
Just like on its previous models, Realme is super generous with the bit rates it uses to encode videos. 4K footage gets 50Mbps while 1080p/30fps is allocated a similarly above-average 20Mbps when using the h.264 codec. It's then weird that the audio bitrate is just 96kbps, but at least it's stereo.
The 4K picture is rich in detail, the colors are spot on, and the dynamic range is impressive. There is some noise in the sky, but we can live with that. Those are among the better 4K videos we've seen lately though because of the high video bitrate the storage footprint is rather big - 30s video is about 200MB.
Moving on to 1080p videos. The 30fps clips are pretty nice with good level of detail, lively colors and excellent contrast. The dynamic range is as impressive as on the 4K ones. But since there is always-on electronic stabilization involved, those lose some FoV and detail in the process.
And the lack of EIS is reason why the 1080p videos we took at 60fps are simply amazing. They are much more detailed, and keep all the goodies - colors, contrast, and dynamic range.
Finally, we shot some 2X videos at 1080p resolution and those are pretty good - one of the benefits of having such a big 48MP sensor. You can even shoot in 5X zoom or in 4K 2X/5X zoom but the clips don't even deserve to be published.
Here's a glimpse of how the Realme 5 Pro compares to rivals in our Video compare tool.