The best camera is the one that is on you at that given time, said some wise man whose name no one seems to remember. That was true last month as I strolled through the narrow cobblestoned streets of what was once the seat of the colossal Holy Roman Empire from the early middle ages through to the medieval ages to as recent as 300 years ago. With me on those strolls was the superior version of Tecno Mobile’s latest smartphone in the Kenyan market, the Tecno Camon X Pro, both as a tour guide (I had downloaded and saved all my maps there) and my only camera.
My trip to Rome was not the only time I got to put the Camon X Pro’s cameras to the test even though it surely does form a huge chunk of the snaps I took thanks to the huge camera appeal of the Eternal City and the Capital of the World, as Rome is fondly known as.
I have had the Tecno Camon X Pro with me for over a month now and each day is an exercise in self-discovery for someone whose life tends to mostly revolve around the other aspects of a smartphone and not just the camera. Especially not the camera.
The Tecno Camon X Pro features a 24-megapixel “clear” selfie camera and a 16-megapixel equivalent at the back. The front-facing shooter has dual-LED flash to aid it while the back one has a ring-flash setup going on. As anyone who has been following the Camon X Pro since launch can attest, there is something missing from the device’s marketing online and even offline on TV, billboards and elsewhere: that AI swansong. And that dual-camera craze.
Does the absence of what are essentially “me-too” features (just like the notch) like Artificial Intelligence and dual-cameras make the Tecno Camon X Pro any inferior to the competition that boasts of having them? As far as my usage of the device over the last month is concerned, the answer is no. The Tecno Camon X Pro’s camera does manage to have its moments when it really shines and others when it comes a little short and leaves the user asking for more.
I love the clarity of most of the shots I have been able to take using the device. When there’s light, it does rise to the occasion and delivers. My only qualms are with the saturation in the images. The device goes out of its way to really blue the sky, even when it’s not really that blue and, unlike other devices I have used in the past, it appears that there is no way to turn this off so you have to get used to the exaggerated colouring and live with it. That means that when you eventually want to broadcast whatever it is that you are up to on Instagram, there’s little need for those aggressive filters.
The background blurring in the front-facing camera’s portrait mode, like most that I have encountered on other smartphones, is also not spot on. It’s a little too aggressive which results in some areas in an image that you intended to keep in focus, being blurred with the rest. When it works, though, the results are good.
My only outright disappointment with the camera is the fact that the portrait mode is only to be found on the selfie camera and that the aggressive lighting does mess up the horizons, in those moments when they are missed and they are not subjects of the over-saturation already stated.
Other than that, I liked its performance in low light, even though it could be better, and like the detail in the self portraits that one is able to take using the Camon X Pro. Also, for the first time, I actually appreciate the work of the “Beauty mode” feature that is so common on smartphone brands that trace their origins to Asia. This probably has something to do with the fact that I couldn’t tell much of a difference between the standard shooting mode of the camera and the beauty one when the subject being captured did not have human skin which the beauty mode does a hell of a job smoothing and making look “flawless”.
I am not much of a video-recording person but the few moments I relied on the Camon X Pro’s back camera to capture Emanuela Trane aka Dolcenera sing her heart out on a Saturday night or the sight of hundreds of tourists throwing coins into the bubbling waters of the Trevi Fountain, it delivered.
Have a look at more of the photos I took with the Tecno Camon X Pro:
The photos in this article and many more are available on Android Kenya‘s Flickr photo stream.
Be sure to follow Android Kenya on Instagram to be the first to have a glimpse of what might eventually show up here.