Tecno’s Camon smartphone series has evolved to become known for several more features beyond its mainstay, the focus on providing the best camera experience on budget devices, but make no mistake, it has never deviated from its core mandate.
The Tecno Camon 17 series, as such, won’t be the first to do so. Neither is the hero member of that series, the Camon 17 Pro.
As the premier device this time around, the Camon 17 Pro also has, at least on paper, the best camera experience of the entire Camon 17 series. So much so that its competition is the various offerings by rival brands in the market and not so much as its siblings, the standard Camon 17 and the Camon 17P. Those exist to entice anyone who can’t step up to the Camon 17 Pro’s post-Kshs 20,000 price tag.
Some housekeeping: in all, the Tecno Camon 17 Pro has five cameras. Four at the back and one on the front.
In this regard (the back cameras), there’s not much in the way of changes as far as the numbers go. There’s still a 64-megapixel hero sensor backed by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide and a pair of 2-megapixel lenses for capturing monochrome shots and depth respectively.
It is on the front, however, where there is a noticeable change. In place of the pill-shaped cutout we got last year to accommodate the 48+8 megapixel lens arrangement we had on the Camon 16 Premier, we have a small dot on the front to accommodate a 48-megapixel sensor for taking selfies and doing all the video calls we have to do these days.
That has its trade-offs. For one, we don’t have the ability to take wide-angle shots, as a result. That is a stark contrast to the wide-angle shots one can take using the back camera(s).
As far as photos go, some of the fine-tunings, in terms of functionality, worth noting are the usual: Google Lens integration; and something else interesting: you can use your fingerprint sensor as the camera’s shutter.
The many other options available? Well, they are definitely there so that they can be used but you can also just keep going without them. This is because the Camon 17 Pro’s AI-powered automatic scene detection is just fine. It will tune the colours and the lighting to match whatever is being captured, thereby doing the heavy-lifting for the user. Just like we have seen on other cameras with similar features.
During the day and using the auto settings, the Camon 17 Pro doesn’t struggle to get good shots. There’s the occasional off blue hue (for instance, would you believe that the first two images in the gallery below were taken under 180 seconds apart?) but, nothing that you can’t live with.
What impressed me? The camera’s low-light performance. Tecno calls it ‘Super Night’ and, indeed, it is super!
On the video front, I didn’t get to do much but here’s a quick rundown: you can shoot up 4K at 30 frames per second and can do most of the stuff you can do when taking snaps: wide-angle shots, super macros, bokehs, etc. There are some omissions that remind you where you are in the market segment, like the market of a slo-mo mode.
One thing Tecno has managed to do well is not go the route that others usually go: provide an oversupply of menu options on the bottom of the viewfinder to the point of requiring being hidden under a ‘More’ button. Less is more, so they say.
Note: all the images used in this article have been compressed to save on space.