The TECNO Camon series has always been about camera performance. The latest members of the line are the Camon 15, Camon 15 Air and Camon 15 Premium. All are equipped with more than enough camera sensors to make a point, and you are here to find out if the optics will meet your daily needs.
Today’s star is the normal Camon 15 that we have been playing with for two weeks or so. The Premier model, which takes over from the Pro moniker is not here yet. At least for now.
Before we proceed, here are its camera specifications:
Main: quad setup with a 48 MP unit, two 2 MP sensors, and a fourth QVGA lens. The system is also capable of 1080p video at 30 frames per second.
Secondary: 16 MP punched in the IPS LCD display. This is also the second time that we have seen TECNO take this route after sneaking in the same front camera arrangement in the TECNO Camon 12 Air.
From these numbers, you can easily tell that TECNO went all in with the numbers. The dark and slightly raised camera module at the back houses all the rear snappers, as well as a quad-tone LED flash for those dimly lit use cases. The module is also stamped with the ‘CAMON 48 MP Quad Cam’ badge to reiterate what you are getting here.
Adjustments and shooting modes
Right off the bat, the camera interface or software greets you with following modes: video (set to 1080p, but can be scaled down to 720p or 480p), AI Cam, which also happens to be the standard shooting mode with algorithms that adjusts shooting settings fit your scene, Bokeh mode for snapping portrait mode shots, Super Night as a dedicated night mode, Panorama and AR shot that has stickers to make you look cool.
There is a Beauty Mode too, but I have always been a passionate critic of this feature because it smoothens human skin, removes all facial blemishes and glows skin tones to make you look pretty.
The final image, quite honestly, is a fake representation of yourself, and one can tell you did something bad to your face. What I’m trying to say is that do not use it, and stick to the standard mode; besides, the 16 MP front shooter is quite capable of solid selfies, so you shouldn’t go out of your way trying to look cartoonish with any mode that has a ‘beauty’ badge on it.
That aside, here are few things you should do before embarking on a picture-taking session with the Camon 15:
- Turn off the shutter sound from the camera Settings menu. This is a personal preference because I don’t like that sound at all. It also goes a long way if you want to snap stealthy pics.
- Choose if you want the strategically placed volume buttons to act as a shutter button or zoom adjustment key.
- Adjust your viewfinder to 4:3. You will lose the immersive experience that is set to default, but will significantly up the pixel count of the images from 7 MP to 12 MP. Oh, I know what you are asking: no, the 48 MP sensor does not capture 48 MP image by default. Not per se – but there is an option to do so (it is persistent on the viewfinder so you cannot miss it), but you need to have super steady hands to pull it off. The captured images have a healthy resolution of 8000 by 6000. If that is too high, then you can dial it down to 35 MP or 29 MP. This versatility is very good in my book, and helps in choosing which image sizes you want, bearing in mind that constant shooting at full res will fill up your 64 GB of storage quite fast.
In the same breath, your selfies can also be downsized from 16 MP to 12 MP or 9 MP. There is a wide selfie mode that will try to squeeze in more people in the frame.
- If you want to, you can watermark your images. However, I do not advise you to do so, but I’m glad the option is there.
- Do not toggle the ‘tap to capture’ option because you may want the camera to focus on a subject properly before snapping it away. The option may also make you take lots of accidental pics.
- There is a Google Lens app built right in the camera interface. It comes in handy when you want to identify items such as clothing, and where you might buy them. And so forth.
Image samples and overall assessment
I have captured very many pics using the Camon 15 and for the most part, I am happy with them. My happiness stems from me ignoring the current phone that I am using, which is also four or five times more expensive than out star of the show.
TECNO went hard on the numbers, which is why some of the daylight shots punch above the price of the device.
The 48 MP sensor is just that because it sucks in light from a brightly lit setup to deliver a pixel-heavy image for zooming in and out while keeping detail.
I am not sure how many people are going to use the max pixel count of the main sensor, and you should by all means, but bear in mind the photographs will hurt your storage in no time.
Speaking of the other three sensors, TECNO says nothing about them besides their megapixel count at 2MP, 2 MP and the QVGA one. Still, I’m not certain why this is the case because lenses are often marked with a description of what they do.
Nevertheless, I figured one of the 2 MP is for depth information (the sensor never misses in the majority of modern phones, especially for TECNOs). The other 2 MP sensor can be anything, but it is not a macro shooter.
Here are some daylight snaps (click to expand):
Night shots are quite good too, and are actually better if you choose to fire up the bright LED flash for closer subjects. I am glad that there is a dedicated night mode, which most companies seem to be doing. You can judge the results by yourself.
Now, selfies. Well, you can still take them in the night if you activate the front flash that also serves as a status indicator. You can go ahead and launch AR shot and impart your selfies with creative AR doodles if that is your thing.
It is obvious that TECNO Camon 15 has all the numbers to support its commitment to making camera tech great for its customer base.
This smart handheld is also targeting budget-conscious customers who do not want to make a hole in their pocket when buying a phone. The same customer also wants a good camera experience, and for the most part, the Camon series has filled that gap.
But that does not mean it is a lone ranger because the space is filled to the brim with devices from other manufacturers.
On the good side of things, however, Camons are household names in Kenya, hence it is likely the 15 will find its way to a lot of local pockets.
That also means that buyers will have some of the cheapest devices equipped with a quad-camera system with a 48 MP sensor. The sensor, as discussed, can actually capture 48 MP images.
The collective power behind the cameras would meet the expectations of many potential buyers and existing owners, which includes very good night mode performance. If they want more, especially on the front side of things, then they can pick up the Premier model that has a 32 MP selfie hidden in a pop-up mechanism.
Lastly, the only issue I have with the images is the display. Don’t get me wrong because the HD+ screen is adequate for the price. The images just look better and sharper on 1080p display and upward, and I wish TECNO drops 720p displays in the next releases.