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Vivo S1: First Camera Samples

Huawei Nova 5T
We dive into the camera performance of the triple rear cameras, and the front-facing cameras of the Vivo S1!
Vivo S1: First Camera Samples
AI triple rear cameras!

After months of silence, Vivo finally released the S1. In this article, we take on the S1's camera capabilities. It is equipped with a rear-facing triple camera set-up of a 16MP f/1.78 Sony IMX499, 8MP f/2.2 120-degree ultra-wide, and a 2MP f/2.4 depth with LED flash while the front-facing camera is a single 32MP f/2.0 Samsung ISOCELL GD1 sensor with AI and screen flash.

It is using the 2.0GHz 64-bit Helio P65 octa-core processor with the Mali-G52 GPU which we can expect good performance from.

The camera app has several modes when using the rear-facing cameras like Photo, Video, Pro, Pano, AI Beauty, Fun Video and AR stickers.

The Pro Mode allows for controls of ISO 100 to 3200, Shutter Speed 1/12000th of a second to 32 seconds, White Balance and EV -+3 stops.
Cam UI
Cam UI

Below are our first camera samples with the new Vivo S1.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight main camera
Daylight main camera
Daylight ultra-wide camera
Daylight ultra-wide camera

The Vivo S1's main rear camera takes decently sharp photos with vibrant color and good contrast while the ultra-wide camera takes a notch softer image than the main camera. The images from the ultra-wide camera are also less vibrant than the main camera. And If you look closely at the edges of the image, there is some strong softness because of distortion from the ultra-wide nature of the lens.

Both the main rear camera and the ultra-wide camera struggled to expose the skies properly on a bright sunny day.
Main camera close-up
Main camera close-up

The main camera also struggled with macro distances as the in-focus areas of the powdered sugar on the butter on top of the pancake remains softer than we would like.
Main camera bokeh mode
Main camera bokeh mode

The software-based bokeh mode produces somewhat believable out of focus areas but still does not look as natural as true, hardware-based bokeh.
Main camera indoors
Main camera indoors
Ultra-wide camera indoors
Ultra-wide camera indoors

In indoor situations, the Vivo S1's main and ultra-wide camera still struggle with exposing the extremely bright areas or light sources. The images produced are somewhat softer than the daylight images. There is more noise but it is controlled well. Color accuracy on the main camera remains to be good while the ultra-wide camera remains to be washed out.
Main camera low light
Main camera low light
Ultra-wide camera low light
Ultra-wide camera low light

In low light, the Vivo S1 performs better than expected. Images are similar to the indoor shots but with slightly softer images with more noise but the detail is still visible in the shadow areas.

It still suffers from overexposing bright areas or light sources. Unlike the daylight and indoor shots, however, the main camera and the ultra-wide camera struggles with color accuracy in low light. In the images above, it is noticeably warmer than the real-world counterpart.

The 32MP f/2.0 Samsung ISOCELL GD1 selfie camera on the notch of the Vivo S1 is the main highlight of this smartphone.
Front-facing camera app
Front-facing camera app

The different modes that use the front-facing camera are Photo, Video, Pano, Fun Video and AR stickers.


There is no dedicated Night mode nor access to the Pro mode with the front-facing camera.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie

Vivo's V-series has made a name for itself with for producing one of the best Selfies around. We are glad to say that the daylight selfies produced by the Vivo S1 is good. Pictures are vibrant but accurate in color with good contrast.

Images sharpness is a mixed bag. The image above is sharp enough but could be sharper given that it is from a 32MP sensor. However, the image below with the black and white background is ridiculously sharp. We hope Vivo can improve consistency with a future firmware update.
Daylight selfie with AI face beauty at max level
Daylight selfie with AI face beauty at max level

AI face beauty has improved somewhat and we recommend using the buffing effect up to level 50 out of 100 as it looks almost natural enough. If using higher levels, it becomes even more artificial.
Bokeh mode edge detection is very good!
Bokeh mode edge detection is very good!

In daylight, the edge detection of the selfie bokeh mode is super good! If you look closely at Neil's hair strands, it is able to detect each one individually and adjusts the black and white color filter accordingly.
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie

In indoors, the selfie camera remains sharp with great detail and the natural out of focus/bokeh is very good but it may be a concern with people who want the background in focus. 

Otherwise, the camera automatically brightens the exposure of the image while controlling noise. What surprised me is how good the white balance is because even though the interiors are full of warm-colored lights, Neil's skin tone remains correct.

Like the main cameras, the S1's selfie camera struggles with exposing the bright areas or light sources correctly.
Low light selfie
Low light selfie

In low light, Vivo S1's selfie camera continues to brighten the exposure to make the lowlight environment look well lit. The sharpness is still very good with minimal noise. Color accuracy and contrast remain good as well.
Low light with AI face beauty at level 100 and bokeh mode
Low light with AI face beauty at level 100 and bokeh mode

Like the first low light image, the sharpness of the selfie camera is so good while having minimal noise. It struggles with exposing bright areas or light sources. The edge detection in low light isn't as good as in the daylight one.

While the AI Face Beauty's buffing at level 100 is still too strong.

Quick thoughts

Vivo S1's front-facing camera
Vivo S1's front-facing camera

The Vivo S1 produces images that are a mixed bag. Selfies are good but the main cameras could be improved.

The selfie cameras produce the best selfies in its price range but it struggles with consistency in sharpness and correct exposure for bright areas. The selfie camera's sharpness, color, contrast, and bokeh are at their best when used in daylight and somewhat maintains it indoors and in low light.

While the rear-facing main camera produces accurate colored images that could be sharper. The ultra-wide camera produces similar images as the main camera but is noticeably more washed out and the corners are severely distorted.

What do you guys think?

Stay tuned for our review!
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