Realme 12 Pro+: A Mid-Range Marvel with Flagship Camera Aspirations?

The Realme 12 Pro+ has emerged as a strong contender in the crowded mid-range smartphone market. But can it truly compete with pricier flagships, especially when it comes to camera performance? This in-depth review dives into the details of the Realme 12 Pro+’s camera system, exploring its strengths, weaknesses, and how it stacks up against the competition.

Hardware Rundown: A Promising Foundation

The Realme 12 Pro+ boasts a triple-camera setup on the rear, headlined by a 50MP Sony IMX890 sensor. This sensor is a popular choice in mid-range and even some flagship phones, known for its good low-light performance and capture capabilities. Accompanying the main sensor is an 8MP ultrawide sensor and a 2MP macro sensor. While the ultrawide sensor is decent for capturing wider landscapes, the 2MP macro sensor feels like a bit of an afterthought and won’t be a major selling point for most users.

On the front, the Realme 12 Pro+ sports a 32MP selfie camera housed in a punch-hole cutout. This high megapixel count promises sharp selfies and clear video calls.

The camera system is backed by various features like optical image stabilization (OIS) on the main sensor for sharper photos in low-light conditions and electronic image stabilization (EIS) for video recording. The phone also offers a variety of shooting modes like Night Mode, Portrait Mode, and Super Macro Mode.

Daylight Performance: Capturing Details in Vivid Colors

In good lighting conditions, the Realme 12 Pro+ shines. The photos captured by the main sensor are sharp with good detail reproduction. Colors appear vibrant and true to life, thanks to the phone’s processing algorithms. Autofocus is quick and accurate, ensuring you don’t miss those fleeting moments.

The ultrawide sensor delivers decent results in daylight, capturing a wider field of view without significant distortion around the edges. However, there’s a noticeable difference in detail and color accuracy compared to photos taken with the main sensor. This is a common trade-off with ultrawide sensors on mid-range phones.

The 32MP selfie camera captures detailed selfies with good skin tones and natural-looking beauty enhancements (which can be adjusted in settings). Overall, for everyday social media needs and video calls, the selfie camera performs well.

Low-Light Performance: Pushing Boundaries with OIS

The presence of OIS on the main sensor makes a noticeable difference in low-light photography. Images maintain a good level of detail without excessive noise, even in poorly lit environments. Night Mode further improves low-light performance by brightening shadows and reducing noise. However, using Night Mode does introduce some processing artifacts, which can be noticeable upon close inspection.

While the Realme 12 Pro+ handles low-light situations better than many mid-range phones, it still falls short of true flagship performance. Photos taken in very dark environments will likely have some noise and a slight loss of sharpness compared to high-end competitors.

Portrait Mode: Striking a Balance Between Subject and Background

The Realme 12 Pro+ offers a dedicated Portrait Mode for capturing photos with a blurred background effect. Edge detection is generally accurate, separating the subject from the background cleanly. However, in some cases with intricate details like hair, the phone might struggle to achieve a perfect separation. The level of background blur can be adjusted to achieve the desired artistic effect.

Video Recording: A Capable Performer

The Realme 12 Pro+ can record videos in up to 4K resolution at 30fps. The footage captured is smooth and stabilized thanks to EIS. However, the lack of OIS for video recording becomes apparent in shaky conditions, with some micro-jitter noticeable.

The phone offers several video recording modes, including Slow-motion and Time-lapse, allowing for creative video content creation.

Camera App: Feature-Rich but Can Be Overwhelming

The Realme 12 UI 5.1 camera app comes loaded with features and shooting modes. While this offers flexibility for enthusiasts, it might feel overwhelming for casual users. The app layout could benefit from better organization and a simpler interface for basic point-and-shoot photography.

Software Processing: A Double-Edged Sword

The Realme 12 Pro+ relies heavily on software processing for its photos. While this enhances colors and clarity in most cases, it can sometimes lead to over-sharpening and a slight loss of natural details. Users who prefer a more natural look might need to adjust camera settings or explore post-processing options.

Realme 12 Pro+ Camera Review:

Strengths:
  • Sony IMX890 Main Sensor: The powerful 50MP Sony IMX890 sensor forms the backbone of the camera system, offering good image quality and low-light performance.
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): OIS on the main sensor makes a significant difference in low-light photography, leading to sharper images with less noise.
  • Detailed Daytime Photos: The main sensor captures sharp and vibrant photos in good lighting conditions, making it ideal for everyday use.
  • High-Resolution Selfie Camera: The 32MP selfie camera delivers detailed selfies and performs well for video calls.
  • Variety of Shooting Modes: Night Mode, Portrait Mode, Super Macro Mode, and other options cater to diverse photography needs.
  • 4K Video Recording: The ability to record videos in 4K resolution is a welcome feature for capturing high-quality footage.
Weaknesses:
  • Limited Dynamic Range: The camera can struggle with scenes with high contrast, leading to clipped highlights and crushed shadows in some situations.
  • Average Ultrawide Sensor: While decent, the ultrawide sensor delivers lower detail and color accuracy compared to the main sensor.
  • Macro Sensor Feels Unnecessary: The 2MP macro sensor doesn’t offer significant value and feels like a placeholder.
  • Software Processing Can Be Intrusive: Over-sharpening and heavy processing can sometimes lead to a loss of natural image detail.
  • Camera App Overloaded with Features: The camera app’s interface could be more user-friendly and less overwhelming for casual users.
  • No OIS for Video Recording: While EIS helps, the lack of OIS for video recording results in some micro-jitter, especially in shaky conditions.

Who Should Consider the Realme 12 Pro+ Camera?

The Realme 12 Pro+ camera is a strong contender for users looking for a mid-range phone with excellent image quality in good lighting and decent low-light performance. The high-resolution selfie camera is a plus for social media enthusiasts. However, those who prioritize features like a dedicated telephoto lens or flawless video recording may need to look elsewhere.

Alternatives to Consider:

Here are some alternative smartphones to consider when evaluating camera performance:

  • Samsung Galaxy A54 5G: Offers a versatile triple-camera system with a telephoto lens and improved video recording capabilities.
  • Google Pixel 6a: Known for its exceptional computational photography and clean, natural-looking images.
  • Xiaomi 12 Lite: Boasts a similar main sensor with OIS and offers a more balanced approach to software processing.

Overall, the Realme 12 Pro+ camera punches above its weight in the mid-range segment. The combination of a powerful Sony sensor, OIS, and various shooting modes makes it a compelling option for everyday photography and social media use. However, for those seeking a true flagship camera experience with features like a dedicated zoom lens or flawless video recording, looking at pricier competitors might be necessary.

Additional Considerations:

  • Software Updates: Realme’s update policy can be inconsistent. Future software updates could potentially improve camera performance through optimizations and bug fixes.
  • Personal Preferences: Ultimately, the best camera phone is the one that best suits your individual needs and priorities. Consider factors like the type of photography you do most often and the features that are most important to you.

I hope this in-depth review provides a comprehensive look at the Realme 12 Pro+ camera system and helps you decide if it’s the right phone for your photography needs.

Realme 12 Pro+ Camera: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. How good is the camera on the Realme 12 Pro+?

The Realme 12 Pro+ camera offers good image quality for a mid-range phone. The main sensor captures sharp and detailed photos in daylight and delivers decent low-light performance thanks to OIS. However, it can struggle with high-contrast scenes and the ultrawide sensor is average.

2. Does the Realme 12 Pro+ have a zoom lens?

No, the Realme 12 Pro+ does not have a dedicated telephoto lens for zooming. You can achieve some digital zoom, but it will likely result in a loss of image quality.

3. How does the selfie camera perform?

The 32MP selfie camera captures detailed selfies and works well for video calls.

4. Can the Realme 12 Pro+ record 4K video?

Yes, the Realme 12 Pro+ can record videos in up to 4K resolution at 30fps. However, it lacks OIS for video recording, which can lead to some shakiness.

5. Is the camera app on the Realme 12 Pro+ easy to use?

The camera app offers a wide range of features and shooting modes, which can be overwhelming for some users. The interface could benefit from better organization and a simpler layout for basic photography.

6. How does the Realme 12 Pro+ camera compare to the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G?

The Galaxy A54 5G offers a similar main sensor but adds a telephoto lens for zooming and potentially better video recording capabilities. Both phones are strong contenders in the mid-range.

7. Should I get the Realme 12 Pro+ or the Google Pixel 6a for camera quality?

The Pixel 6a is known for its exceptional computational photography, delivering clean and natural-looking images. It might be a better choice if you prioritize a more natural aesthetic.

8. Is the Realme 12 Pro+ camera good for low-light photography?

The Realme 12 Pro+ performs well in low-light conditions for a mid-range phone, thanks to OIS on the main sensor and Night Mode. However, it won’t match the performance of true flagship cameras in very dark environments.

9. Will future software updates improve the Realme 12 Pro+ camera?

Realme’s update policy can be inconsistent, but future software updates could potentially improve camera performance through optimizations and bug fixes.

10. Who is the Realme 12 Pro+ camera best suited for?

This phone is a great choice for users who prioritize good image quality in everyday use and social media photography. It offers a powerful sensor at a competitive price point. However, if you need a dedicated zoom lens or flawless video recording, looking at pricier options might be better.

Verdict: A Mid-Range Camera with Flagship Aspirations

The Realme 12 Pro+ camera system delivers impressive results for a mid-range. The Realme 12 Pro+ camera system delivers a compelling package for a mid-range phone. Here’s a quick breakdown of its strengths and weaknesses to help you decide:

Strengths:

  • Excellent Image Quality (Daylight): The Sony IMX890 sensor captures sharp and vibrant photos in good lighting.
  • Decent Low-Light Performance (OIS): OIS helps in low-light situations, leading to clearer images with reduced noise.
  • High-Resolution Selfie Camera: Perfect for social media enthusiasts and video calls.
  • 4K Video Recording: A valuable feature for capturing high-quality footage.
  • Competitive Price Point: Offers good value for the camera features it provides.

Weaknesses:

  • Limited Dynamic Range: Can struggle with high-contrast scenes.
  • Average Ultrawide Sensor: Lower detail and color accuracy compared to the main sensor.
  • Macro Sensor Not Very Useful: A 2MP sensor offers minimal benefit for close-up shots.
  • Software Processing Can Be Intrusive: May lead to over-sharpening and loss of natural details.
  • No OIS for Video Recording: Can result in shakiness, especially in shaky conditions.
  • Camera App Can Be Overwhelming: Might be confusing for casual users.

Overall, the Realme 12 Pro+ camera punches above its weight in the mid-range category. It’s a great choice for everyday photography and social media users who prioritize good image quality at a competitive price. However, if you need features like a dedicated zoom lens, flawless video recording, or a more natural image aesthetic, pricier competitors might be a better fit.

Remember, the best camera phone is the one that best suits your individual needs and priorities. Consider the type of photography you do most often and the features that are most important to you before making your final decision.

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