Have you ever considered using a phone for a professional project? I hadn’t but I was pleasantly surprised by what the vivo X70 Pro+ phone was capable of. Sure, it has all the technical specs with an imaging system co-engineered with ZEISS and their color correction technology built-in, but what was it like to shoot with?
Smartphone photography has evolved so much over the last 20 years that photographs captured on phones are almost professional quality. And with increasingly advanced technology, like in the vivo X70 Pro+, even professional photographers are experimenting with smartphones to capture more creative shots.
The beauty of the smartphone is that you have professional-grade technology in the palm of your hand. Its smaller size makes it less intimidating and noticeable, allowing for a more relaxed, intimate interaction with the subject. And because you can start snapping away anywhere, you really have the chance to get creative and find those ordinary, natural shots you’d normally overlook.
A Not-So-Traditional Smartphone Portrait
To try out the portrait features, I took my vivo X70 Pro+ to a shoot in an apartment. When arranging a shoot, I hardly ever tell the collaborators what gear I will be using, so when I took out the phone, the model smiled. While everyone has a phone, smartphone photography is still uncommon for professional projects.
Rather than using flash, I set up to use daylight and a constant light with a white wall background. I used window lighting and the Aputure Light Storm C300d Mark II LED Light. It’s a basic setup, but I do believe that a simple setup lets you focus on the creative side. One of the aspects I liked about the light was that it gave a subtle fall-off on the hair.
vivo and ZEISS have collaborated to improve portrait capture in more complex light scenarios and to that end, the X70 Pro+ is equipped with a 12MP, 50mm equivalent, portrait camera with an image sensor size of 1/2.93″. The Pro+ portrait camera is further boosted by a wide f/1.6 aperture so it can take in more light naturally while producing a shallow depth-of-field for natural, creamy bokeh.
To bring in versatile bokeh options, vivo has recreated four classic ZEISS bokeh styles, inspired by Biotar, Distagon, Planar and Sonnar, four iconic ZEISS photo lenses. Each has its own effects, so you can play around with the different bokeh styles for whatever mood suits your portrait.
Even though this device gives you a variety of styles and settings to choose and finetune, I opted to use the default portrait mode for my shoot.
Without a bulky camera in the way, the smaller smartphone created a more intimate, relaxed shoot. We had a better interaction and the model said she felt much more at ease with a smartphone. I, too, felt more relaxed and freer to get creative with camera angles and posing. In the end, I think this led to more striking portraits.
Focus On Lighting
Given vivo’s innovative low light technology, I began playing around with the different depths of field and lighting in the rest of the apartment. With the mix of natural light and plant life, I experimented with the X70’s zoom capabilities. vivo has installed a quad-camera setup which includes an 8-megapixel periscope camera, a 125mm equivalent with an f/3.4 aperture, offering 5X optical zoom. It was incredible how close I could get to things while still being able to focus.
I then shot the apartment using the wide-angle lens. I could get the whole room in the frame, and the edges weren't bent as you would usually get with wide-angle lenses. The X70 Pro+ comes with a 48MP Ultra-Wide Gimbal Main Camera. Bolstered by Ultra-Wide Sensing, this camera can achieve 114° wide-angle shooting without correction.
Both the depth of field and bokeh were impressive. Even though I shot the room from various angles, the depth of field remained sharp. When analyzing the image above, the trees by the window have a beautiful bokeh where they would usually be in focus on an ordinary photo. This gives the shot the professional look that I’d get from my DSLR.
The smartphone also has a great dynamic range. Nothing is blown out even though it was quite a sunny day. This is due to the Ultra-Sensing Gimbal Dual Main Camera which allows for greater light intake, higher dynamic range, and wider ISO range, and delivers better exposure effects and detail reproduction in complex light scenarios. Each rear camera on the X70 Pro+ meets the ZEISS T* Coating standard, which further enhances transmission of visible light to improve image quality and reduce glare in back-lit settings such as this.
The contrast between the depth of field and bokeh can be clearly seen below. You can pinpoint even the tiny details of the subject, yet the background remains out of focus – the bokeh encouraging us to concentrate on the subject.
I was blown away by all the options I had for lens choice, color templates, and filters. The default camera app is loaded with features most iPhone users will need to go search the App Store for. It’s a refined feature set where I was able to flip between the ZEISS Style Portrait options, which gave me different types of bokeh and much more with regards to styles, filters, and beautifying features, and that’s all just in the Portrait Mode.
Smartphone photography has had something of a revolution in recent years, as the technology catches up to professional levels. They’re compact, unthreatening, and fun to use. You can really get creative with a smartphone in a way that’s impossible with a clunky camera. It immediately creates a relaxed, even intimate, shooting experience and is perfect for high-quality photography anywhere, anytime.
Smartphones like the vivo X70 Pro+ enjoy state-of-the-art technology which can adapt to complex light scenarios. And photos can be edited with a myriad of post-production editing techniques to create the perfect portrait for you. Capturing professional-grade photos has never been this easy.
Before this, I had never considered using a smartphone for a professional project, but with quality this good, I am keen to keep on experimenting. In the coming decade, the smartphone is sure to be a strong contender in the world of photography, perhaps even surpassing the traditional camera for certain digital-only projects.
Whether you’re planning on using the camera for family pictures or even for professional-quality images, the vivo X70 Pro+ will give you exactly that.
You can learn more about the vivo X70 Series here.