The quad-camera setup on the back is one of the centerpiece features of this phone but don't get fooled by the number - three of them are usable. The odd one out is a 2MP depth sensor, and we can't think of a reason why Realme couldn't use any of the other sensors for depth information instead of adding this one.
Anyway, the good news is that the other three cover all your needs and make up for a versatile camera experience. The main one is Samsung's brand new ISOCELL Bright GW1 64MP sensor supporting native pixel-binning, so it outputs 16MP images. It's the biggest one in the smartphone market - 1/1.7" with 0.8µm pixels, and it's coupled with a lens with f/1.8 aperture. The telephoto snapper is 13MP with f/2.5 aperture, 1.0µm pixels, and is capable of achieving 2x optical zoom. The ultra-wide camera is 8MP with f/2.2 aperture and fairly big 1.4µm pixels. It also supports autofocus, which is still a rare find even in the high-end segment. A 16MP camera sits on the notch with f/2.0 aperture.
Off to the menus now.
The default camera app offers a fair amount of modes and settings to play around with. The usual modes like Pro (called Expert here), Portrait, etc. are at your disposal. There's also a dedicated 64MP mode too.
Swiping left and right switches between the modes and the hamburger menu hides the rest of the modes that don't fit on the screen.
In the default Photo mode, you will find the familiar Chroma boost toggle in the upper part of the viewfinder, the HDR control, and the switch to the ultra-wide lens. There's also the additional settings menu in the upper-right corner giving you deeper control over some things like video resolution, for example.
Now let's dive deeper into what the phone offers in terms of image quality in different scenarios.
As we already stated, the main camera outputs 16MP images, which have an impressive level of detail and offer a good dynamic range. However, there are some sharpening halos around straight lines that you can spot with close examination. At 100% magnification, you can also spot luminance noise in all areas of uniform color.
The color reproduction looks natural. Turning on the Chroma boost feature adds more saturation and contrast to the images. It's not all that noticeable at first, but when you compare the On/Off state, the difference is noticeable.
There's a dedicated macro mode, but instead of having a macro lens, the handset uses the autofocus ultra-wide snapper, which can focus from as close as 2.5cm from the subject. As you can see from the photos, there is some kind of barrel distortion, but it can be observed only when you get close to the subject at a specific angle. Besides that, the detail is excellent, the autofocus is blazing fast (unlike on some other phones we've tested with the same feature) and it does a pretty good job even when light is limited.
You can also try some macro shots with the main camera, but the downside is that you won't be able to get that close to the subject.
You can take full resolution 64MP photos too but arm yourself with patience, as the 64MP takes its time when snapping a shot even during the day.
The 64MP mode introduces even more detail, but the sharpening halos are still there. The overall rendition is similar to the standard 16MP photos. A moire effect can be seen from afar, and it's more noticeable in this mode than on the 16MP photos.
The ultra-wide lens is a mixed bag. The level of detail is satisfactory, and we think the snapper does okay in general. Not impressive by any means - it's just okay. We did find some issues with the exposure metering (note the second and third photo) - it produces inconsistent results, and colors are a bit dull compared to the main camera. There are also small traces of purple fringing and noise in most scenes. The advantage of this ultra-wide camera compared to some of its competitors is the autofocus feature.
The telephoto lens is mostly a hit in our books. It has a nice level of detail, rendering is quite similar to the main camera but highlights are clipped and there's some general softness to it that we can't quite put our finger on. The lack of OIS might be limiting at times but since the optical zoom is just 2x, you will be fine in 99% of the use cases.
In the dark, the main sensor performs admirably. The dynamic range is impressive even without Nightscape. There's some moderate amount of noise, but the level of detail is excellent. Colors are punchy and pleasant.
The dedicated night mode, called Nightscape, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. Colors get a slight boost, and highlights and shadows are restored. The photos are noticeably improved tonally. The night mode photos also look sharper, but there's a caveat.
Upon closer inspection on a computer screen, imperfections start to pop up. There's noticeable oversharpening, and some small details look rendered out of thin air. There also seems to be an issue where isolated small segments of the images appear blurry, which suggests that image stacking is using several frames that are not all tack sharp. And parts of the blurry shots get stitched on top of the resulting Nightscape photos, and you get a Frankenstein of a photo. Remember, we're not referring to blur due to subjects moving in the frame - these are photos of stationary buildings.
Keep in mind that those imperfections can be spotted only on the big screen. When looking at the images on the phone or on social media, Nightscape seems pretty competent. It's also a step in the right direction as far as Realme's Nightscape goes. It's the best iteration we've tested on a Realme so far when compared to past models. It just needs a little more work to become competitive.
Expectedly, the ultra-wide camera struggles in the dark. Stills are soft and noisy. Dynamic range and colors do look nice, though. The good news is that this mode can benefit from the Nightscape, too. With the night mode on, images come out considerably sharper, light sources look better, and a lot of highlight and shadow detail is restored. All in all, if you are going to use the ultra-wide after dark, better have Nightscape always ready,
The telephoto camera does a pretty good job in the dark if you can force it to fire in the dark. We found that the software constantly switches between the telephoto camera and a cropped output from the main one depending on the available light. If it's bright enough, the software will most likely pick the telephoto unit. Images taken with it have a good amount of detail, dynamic range is more than okay. This comes as a surprise given the narrow f/2.5 aperture.
Turning on Nightscape for the zoom camera will always result in getting a cropped output from the main sensor, and the results aren't anything special. We can go as far as saying that the shots taken with the telephoto without Nightscape look better. The cropping makes the sloppy Frankenstein stitching we talked about earlier even more prominent.
Now let's take the time to compare the phone to some of its competitors in a more controlled environment.
And here's how it stacks against other 64MP-capable smartphones.
Portraits taken with this phone are awesome! In this mode, the main camera resolves a lot of detail, it produces natural skin tones, and the edge detection is excellent. Even with a more complex background and insufficient lighting, portraits come out pretty nice. These are one of the best portraits around, especially considering the price point of the Realme X2 Pro. There's also a bokeh slider that's set to 60% at default, and as you go more aggressive on the background blur, the software tends to make more mistakes.
Even without autofocus, selfies look pretty nice - detailed, with wide dynamic range and natural-looking skin tones.
Edge detection in Selfie portrait mode isn't ideal, but we found these photos to be sharper than the normal selfies.
Since the camera has HDR On for the normal pgotos, and Off for the Portraits, one working theory is that it's the HDR alghorithm that's making the regular photos softer.
To our surprise, Realme has included the night mode to the selfies too. We tested it in low-light conditions and in an extremely dark room, too. The Nightscape does its job pretty well, and photos look like they are taken with the flash turned on (we didn't have any lights on). It's safe to say that Nightscape photos are sharper, and they restore the subject's face in the dark and capture surprisingly natural skin tones.
The Realme X2 Pro can record in 4K at 30 and 60fps while 1080p videos cap at 120fps. There's also an ultra-slow motion mode at 720p, where it captures 960 frames per second. Here's how the videos turn out.
The 4K video looks pretty nice with plenty of detail, no noise, good contrast, and natural-looking colors. Honestly, we are hard-pressed to find any serious issues with this mode except for the slightly clipped highlights which you can see on the white buildings in the distance.
The same goes for the 1080p, and as expected, there's a loss of detail compared to the 2160p footage. The rendering is the same as in the 4K mode.
The ultra-wide snapper can record video too, but only at 1080p. It's rather unimpressive and dynamic range isn't as good as on the main camera.
Full HD video recording using the telephoto lens is also supported. The detail isn't impressive, though.
Of course, the phone also supports 4K stabilization, and it's pretty effective.
Just like the big boys, the Realme X2 Pro offers extreme video stabilization using its ultra-wide-angle camera - it records in 1080p and cuts out the excess from the sides to produce an action camera-like video. However, we can't seem to find all that big of a difference compared to the standard EIS mode.
And here's a nifty comparison of the level of detail that you can get out of the Realme X2 Pro's 4K video recording for the pixel-peepers out there.