CES 2024: realme Previews the 12 Pro with a Shiny New Telephoto Camera for the First Time in the Series!

Not a flagship flagship phone!

Remember the time when the number series was simply the answer to the Redmi Notes? Times surely have changed (and we’re not just saying that out of nostalgia, realme is literally collaborating with Rolex for this one) and the number series has since become Realme’s primary photography expert, and the realme 12 series is a far bigger and more ambitious project as it now features a flagship-level telephoto camera. It’s so flagship that they even compared it to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max!

The realme 12 series debuted just in time for CES 2024, an annual event showcasing how different technology companies innovate and show their worth, or in realme’s words, Make it Real!

Also, according to Counterpoint Research, the demand for telephoto sensor on smartphones are expected to rise this year. Just in the first three quarters of 2023, about 11% of all smartphones integrated a physical telephoto lens, which further contributes to the reason why realme is implementing one in the first place.

Unlike high megapixel sensors, physical telephoto cameras allow for a more natural zoom and bokeh effects. If you zoom in using, say, a 108MP sensor, it will look over sharpened, versus when zooming in with a telephoto sensors. We’re just happy that manufacturers are bringing back this underrated feature. Our favourite phone in 2017 was the Xiaomi Mi A1 after all. It’s a midrange phone but its telephoto sensor works wonders.

And in accordance with realme’s own research, there is a much bigger preference with telephoto sensors with 3x optical zoom as opposed to 2x in younger audiences, the target audience for the company.

Since the realme 12 Pro is technically not a flagship phone, the company is committed to bringing back this feature to a more general audience. Currently, telephoto sensors, and more specifically, periscope cameras, are limited to “ultra” flagships. Infinix also attempted previously to bring periscope cameras to the midrange with the Zero X series.

The realme 12 Pro will bring the so-called “Omnifocal Photography System” which includes prism-tilt OIS, sub-wavelength structure coating, and a Wave Pattern Lens Shade. The highlighted telephoto sensor also will have 12mm focal length and 6x in-sensor zoom. Digitally, this can bring about 120x zoom. The sensor used is the Omnivision OV64B which, compared to what the iPhone 15 Pro is having, is twice the size of its telephoto and therefore is more light-sensitive, allowing for very bright images even in the darkest areas of the night. The night of nights, the flowering nights.

The primary camera is not just any primary camera. No, it’s the flagship Sony IMX890. It won’t be the first time realme implemented a flagship camera to its number series as the realme 9 Pro+ did feature a 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor. As a successor, the Sony IMX890 also features OIS (optical image stabilization). This fancy little feature is what allows your videos to remain very steady even without a tripod!

realme also partnered with Qualcomm to ensure that the realme 12 Pro+ is the only device in its price segment to include full-domain RAW images to ensure that an all-natural quality image will be retained. To simplify, “RAW” is a type of image without any post-processing, just what the sensor sees, hence the name.

The “Omni-focal Photography System” is basically realme’s fancy way of improving computational photography on its smartphones starting with the realme 12 Pro series. Computational Photography is the feature that makes that crappy image you took look like a top-notch professional camera shot it. This is also the process that allows your phone to make images brighter and recognize scenes to improve contrast, brightness, clarity, and colour balance.

And one more thing… we mentioned earlier that realme is partnering with Rolex for the realme 12 Pro series. What you’re seeing above is the Submarine Blue colour exclusively for the realme 12 Pro Plus. Thanks to the series’ titanic number of features, they will definitely implode in popularity. There is no date mentioned in the teaser but definitely, they will go in-depth sometime this month. One possible release date is January 28 but take this with a pinch of salt.

In terms of design, the realme 12 Pro continues on with the circular watch-like design of the realme 11 Pro series (and still heavily reminds us of the Huawei Mate 50). Deep down, we know the phones will do well, especially to its target audience.