Now This Is PRO: Vivo V30 Pro Review! [PART 2]

The ZEISS Geist!

The main reason why you would want a Vivo V30 Pro is the camera array. There are four of them and all use a 50MP sensor. However, similar resolution aside, these sensors perform differently. Not all sensors are the same.

On the bright side, the wide camera, the “main” camera, uses a Sony IMX920 sensor with a Zeiss T* Lens which Vivo calls a “VCS True Color camera”. Next is the Samsung ISOCELL JN1 Ultrawide, then finally, Omnivision supplements the telephoto camera, an OV50B sensor. This sensor has 3x optical zoom and 20x digital zoom. At the front is another 50MP camera. Because all of these cameras use pixel binning, you have the option to shoot in full 50MP. Typically, a normal shot has 12.5MP effective resolution.


The camera UI of the Vivo V30 Pro feels familiar to those who have used a realme phone before. At the bottom you get the rolling carousel which features different modes. Situated just above is are the zoom options. Tapping 0.6x and 2x will make the phone switch to the ultrawide and telephoto camera respectively. Going farther to the right will make use of the telephoto which can zoom up to 20x. At the right of this are the filters. Next, at the top, are the color modes, Aura Ring flash, and macro mode. When you press “Macro”, the phone will automatically switch to ultrawide and from here, you can create macro shots within a 4cm distance. The macro mode is the flower icon next to the gear. Beside it is the color mode. This is where you can find three color modes we’ve mentioned earlier.

Now going back to that gear icon. This is where all other settings can be found. More camera settings can be found when you press the “More settings” icon. This is just a nitpick but there is only one type of grid, the 3×3 grid which is strange since the phone is targetting professional photographers. Even our Nord has three grids to choose from.

By the way, the camera app will suggest you different modes depending on the subject. For instance, pointing it at food will make the camera app recommend you to switch to Food Mode. Shooting at night will make the phone suggest you to use night mode, and so on. A feature we once saw on the Samsung Galaxy A52 4G but definitely other brands have done the same, especially on the higher-end.


There are three color modes available for the Vivo V30 Pro. These are Vivid, Textured, and ZEISS Natural Color. Since the Vivo V30, the vanilla unit, does not have ZEISS optics, ZEISS Natural Color is instead replaced with Vivo’s own VCS Color mode. Not that it’s our concern now, because we don’t have that unit.

Above are comparison shots with the three modes. Upon first glance, Vivid and ZEISS Natural color do not look any different, or if there are any differences, these do not feel significant. However, the “Textured” mode gives this vignette-like image, almost nostalgic in feeling. It is also more contrasty. If you observe very carefully, the ZEISS color mode is actually more realistic and slightly muted versus vivid. Between the three modes, we prefer the contrasty look of Textured but ZEISS is pretty good too. Non techy consumers would probably just use the default vivid which is more than enough for those sweet Instagram posts. However, we recommend using the other modes as well, especially ZEISS as that is what the phone is designed for.

If you can train your eyes well, you can easily identify which colour mode is which. Textured is pretty obvious from its black vignetting. Vivid and ZEISS takes a bit of time to differentiate but the main pattern you would see is that ZEISS is muted while Vivid is… well, vivid and colorful

Overall, the Vivo V30 Pro shoots outstanding images, the best we’ve seen for a while and that’s something because we were already impressed with last year’s Oppo Reno 10 Pro Plus. Each image, no matter the mode, gives plenty of details, strong colour reproduction, and good dynamic range. We have zero complaints over the results taken with the IMX920. It should have been a no-brainer to say that the shots are great. This is a Sony sensor after all. Not only that, the phone uses a top-tier chipset that helps in post-processing, the MediaTek Dimensity 8200 Ultra.

Of course, we tried these out during the day. Check out some of our shots above! We hope you’re convinced. We also tested these three modes at night, at which point the phone is being challenged.

This is a test without using the “Night” mode of the Vivo V30 Pro. Taken just outside of SM City Marilao. The textured color option shows its biggest strengths at night. Because of its contrasty feel, it makes the image look more natural with balanced highlights and dynamic range. Meanwhile, Vivid takes the biggest blow, but not by much. However, it’s noticeable. Vivid has stronger highlights and the phone overprocesses the image by making the image appear overexposed. This is where ZEISS feels like the “mediator”, wherein it is a good balance between the contrasty feel of Textured and the bright feel of Vivid.

Overall, each of the three modes do a decent job of producing pictures at night. Each color option is a matter of preference. But we did notice how bright Vivid can look at night and we’re pretty sure that’s not a compliment. Dynamic range is handled pretty well, and the resulting shot has little to no noise, even when zoomed in. The image is well-tuned without making oversharpening it, an issue we commonly see even in phones of the same price range. The slow shutter speed does make some moving objects look blurry. But a slower shutter speed is necessary to keep an image bright-looking. This blurry effect is what is used to make those fancy and impressive “light painting” on busy roads and highways.


When we said that “not all sensors are the same”, this is what we’re talking about. Even though the Ultrawide also has 50MP resolution, we noticed the jump in quality instantly. This is because the sensor used for the Ultrawide is the same kind of sensor you would find on a budget phone, like the Redmi 10 5G. This is the Samsung ISOCELL JN1. You can immediately tell the difference between this and the Sony IMX920 primary camera, even with ZEISS natural color improvements.

The Ultrawide camera is a little softer, quality comparable to a camera for a sub-10K budget phone. It also has worse colour reproduction than the main. It is indeed usable. Quite in fact. Coming from the professional-tier shots of the IMX920 however, this feels like a stain to what already is a near-perfect camera phone.

For what it’s lacking in quality, it does compensate because Vivo could have cheapened out here and used an 8MP ultrawide. Being 50MP means you can zoom in closer and each image will still look sharp. This is a wise choice because 8MP ultrawide sensors will often feel soft because of the wider field of view, requiring more individual pixels to be processed. This doesn’t feel soft at all, ignoring the comparison of the Sony IMX920 camera that is.

When comparing the three modes, we prefer how the ZEISS Natural Color does it. It feels more realistic and does not go overboard with the colours. However, “Textured” makes it feel more nostalgic, most likely because of the black vignetting around it.

Overall, during the daylight, the ultrawide camera is pretty good, just prepare to notice a shift in quality from the 50MP primary. It tends to have a somewhat “bluish” tint in daylight images and a noticeable increase in sharpness, probably even too much sharpness.

50MP Telephoto

Fun fact: If you go to “Food Mode” or “Portrait Mode”, the phone will automatically set to 2x zoom which activates the 50MP telephoto camera. The sensor used here is a lot newer than the Ultrawide one and has better processing technologies. It is the Omnivision OV50B. Just like the primary camera, this one also has OIS built in, something the ultrawide sensor lacked.

Vivo V30 Pro Cinematic Portrait Mode

The resulting images of the telephoto feels quite close to the 50MP Primary. Of course, the latter is superior still being the newest camera sensor at the time of this review. We naturally like how well it separates the background and the foreground, yes that also applies during the night time. That’s what this phone is for after all. It’s even written at the top frame “Professional Portrait”. We are excluding shots made with the Aura Portrait light because we’ll get to that in a bit. We didn’t see any obvious stitching or clearly obvious “plastic-like” blurring effects. No, these blur effects actually were created under the direction of ZEISS hence why you’ll see several blurring modes when you pick up the phone, even a cinematic and a lens flare! We’ll let you experiment them for yourself. Also, did you know you can edit the strength of the blur before and after taking the shot?

We really like the color reproduction here, especially coming from the Ultrawide sensor. All three cameras of the Vivo V30 Pro can rival even the most expensive flagship cameras. You might even see Vivo compare it to a certain iFruity phone we know. With all three cameras, Vivo has managed to keep the colors and dynamic range consistent. Well… most of the time.


The Macro mode is, at first, a little obscure. In fact, we did not find it until very late into this review. The macro mode is located at the top menu, which is the flower icon. When pressed, the phone will use the Ultrawide camera to create macro shots. You can be as close as 4cm if you want to.

This is the first time when a phone’s macro mode impressed us. It’s not one of those silly and gimmicky 2MP sensors. No, this one is the real deal. The quality is rich and plenty, colors are consistent with each mode and the blurring is pretty accurate. However, due to the limited focal length, the phone may sometimes require a bit of assistance so do not forget to tap-to-focus on your intended subject or move slightly farther.


Taking into experience from the Vivo V27 and V29 Pro which sadly neither we did not get a review unit of, the third iteration of Vivo’s Aura Portrait Mode, a highlight of the V30 Pro, is 50x softer than the previous generation and is 19x larger than it. It also came in a new squircle shape complemented by a LED flash. The new Aura Portrait also now has automatic temperature adjustment. However, we recommend tuning this manually to suit your style and make it appropriate for the environment. Think of this flash as some sort of physical white balance tuning.

While not perfect, it does a great job of making images look lively. When we brought it first to a Vivo store which still has the Vivo V29 Pro, it is indeed brighter! It’s like a very strong flashlight making it very effective even in zero lighting conditions! You can tell from our samples. It’s so bright that it can easily blind you, so we had to take a shot quickly. Some shots have warmer lighting so that we can easily determine which shots used the aura portrait.

LEFT: Without Aura Light | RIGHT: With Aura Light

Under good lighting conditions, such as the one above, we did not see any staunch differences in quality. Although there is some slight brightness improvement with the image shot with Aura Light, it is not that significant. It makes a massive difference when you take a shot with zero lighting however

LEFT: Without Aura Light | RIGHT: With Aura Light

Does it feel gimmicky? Somehow yes. However, it is a gimmick that is quite good on certain situations… Just not during the daylight obviously.


Just like the rest of the cameras, the Vivo V30 Pro’s selfie camera also has 50MP resolution. According to DeviceInfoHW, Vivo used the Sony IMX816 sensor for this one instead of the usual IMX615 or IMX663. This one is in flagship territory and as a near flagship sensor, we set our expectations high.

Sensors do play a big role when it comes to camera quality and the Vivo V30 Pro’s selfie camera truly delivered. See, you can even set a ZEISS watermark like the rear cameras do and also create high-res photos with it. As if they realized that the selfie camera is just as important as the rear when it comes to shooting photos. By the way, this is an ultrawide camera with up to 0.8x zoom so if one or two of your friends can’t fit inside the frame, now they can.

Okay, well we personally do not like it when you see our pores but now what can we do about it? That’s just how great the selfie camera is on the Vivo V30 Pro. Just like the rear Sony IMX920, this one can compete in terms of sharpness, color reproduction, dynamic range, and most importantly, accurate background and foreground separation! We’re expecting this top notch quality from a phone that’s just priced a little higher than your usual midrange phone.

NIGHT MODE: Moon Shots? Don’t Mind if I do!

When we said “Moon Shots”, we actually mean it. This phone, as we noticed while shooting at night, has a “Supermoon” mode, a modification of night mode that keeps the phone steady even without a tripod, and automatically adjusts the settings for you to shoot when pointing directly at the moon. The phone lacks a proper periscope camera so we can’t compare it with the Oppo Reno10 Pro Plus of last year.

Before we get to the moon shots, let’s explore first how night mode actually performs. As we mentioned earlier, we got to test the Vivo V30 Pro live in Manila Hotel. It was pretty dark there, almost like a starry night ball. We took one shot and, in a couple of seconds, it was able to turn the dark night into a flourishing, bright, and vivid scenery. When we got the review unit, this holds true to the demos. We are very impressed of the turnout. Night mode makes those dark images look bright and colorful without overtuning, a symptom we’ve seen from other brands that try its hardest to imitate a flagship. The Vivo V30 Pro just takes it course naturally and you can feel it with experience over time.

Now, about that Supermoon mode. This mode allows you to select between 1x, 2x, and 10x zoom only so you cannot take advantage of the full 20x zoom this phone has to offer. Such a shame, a bit more digital zoom could have helped us see the moon better. On the flip side, you don’t exactly need a tripod to shoot the moon. Just your hands are fine. With your hands, it takes up to 3s for the phone to take the shot so keep those hands as steady as possible. While a tripod is not needed, it is recommended.

The resulting moon shots are decent. Once the phone detects the moon, its shutter speed will go up automatically and will also adjust the ISO and Exposure values respectively for you. On 10x zoom, the resulting image feels like a classier version of the monoscopes you can find online, like the Apexel one we bought a few months back. However because this is not a telescope, there are no visible blue bleeding and vignetting, and the moon is detailed. There is some noticeable softness around the moon’s edges but that’s alright considering the distance.

This mode struggles at 1x zoom and cannot detect the moon even when you’re pointing the phone directly at it. So for it to be effective, use 2x zoom, or better yet, 10x zoom. Go all the way, it’s the best option.

Also, the phone has an astrophotography mode which, unfortunately, we couldn’t take advantage of due to how much light pollution it is in our area. One thing’s for sure though, it is decent, though not Google Pixel decent. That phone is on a higher plane of existence.

FOOD MODE: Let’s Eat!

Just like every other camera mode, you can use the Aura Ring Light in Food Mode, such as with the fried chicken image. Unlike the regular Photo mode, Food mode makes the food you’re about to capture look more appetizing buy increasing its vibrance and have that “professional” feel by applying a blur which is again, very accurate. It defaults to the telephoto but you can use the main camera just fine. Okay now these are some Instagram-worthy shots!


Full-shot 50MP-res photos are pretty heavy to upload. Hence why we don’t always recommend it. Besides, quality-wise, there is little to no difference between this and the normal photo mode. It’s one of the gimmickiest modes we’ve seen in any smartphone and barely serves its purpose. Unless you’re trying to zoom in super close and get every detail here and there. That’s also probably why high MP cameras did not flourish as long as many companies would have hoped. You will still see some 100MP, 108MP, or even 200MP cameras out there but they are less common now. Instead, brands are focusing on the software side which is where they should have in the first place. For every 50MP photo, there’s a slash of around 14MB which is pretty big for a JPEG. The resolution for the main is 8192x7024px, for the ultrawide, it’s 8160x7000px, and the telephoto has a resolution of 8192x7024px as well.


The Vivo V30 Pro’s primary camera has OIS and EIS. All four cameras, including the front, can capture up to 4K@60fps, a very rare feature in a midrange phone. This is the advantage of using newer sensors and the right type of chipset!

LEFT: Ultra Stabilization | RIGHT: Standard Stabilization

The phone features OIS and EIS. When you open the camera, there would be two modes. There’s the standard stabilization and Ultra stabilization. These names are just Vivo’s fancy way of saying EIS and OIS respectively. There is a major downshift in quality when switching from standard to Ultra, especially at night. The surrounding area feels darker and noisier. This is a hardware “issue” more than it is software. The same happened with the Samsung Galaxy A52 4G we tested a few years back.

While the Vivo V30 Pro can shoot decent photos, the videos are particularly lacking. It’s not that it has bad quality, it just that it feels like a small mismatch of what we expect for a phone with ZEISS lenses. It feels like Vivo did this on their own, with little input from ZEISS. Stabilization also didn’t feel significant. The movement is still shaky on either modes but we can tell that the phone is trying to keep steady. We got to applaud them though for including the cinematic mode which we had a lot of fun using.

Not only that but you can also add watermarks here and other filters which we really like because video watermarks are rarely a thing in any smartphone so we appreciate the effort. In terms of quality however, the Vivo V30 Pro is not the best choice for video-making, despite its hardware prowess.

If we ignore the shortcomings, the phone’s AI noise cancellation works pretty well. Better than we expected in fact. We tried filming outdoors and it was able to filter almost all unwanted noise, even loud motorcycles roaring and construction sounds. This noise cancellation works both on the front and rear but you can only toggle it once you start shooting.

Do not we haven’t updated the phone and the issues we mentioned are pretty small. If Vivo wants to, and we hope they do, they can improve video quality, as well as stabilization, through a software update. It’s nothing they can’t fix.

In the ads and during the launch, Vivo showcased mostly photography prowess. There’s little on other aspects, including performance and display. They go straight to the cameras. This is the main feature after all but it would have been nice if they can proudly show their achievements with other aspects.

We told you it’s gonna be a long day here. After all, camera is the name of the game. And speaking of games, tune in to Part 3 where we will discuss PERFORMANCE! The Dimensity 8200 is going to be lit!