“We take one of the most affordable smartphones with a 16MP primary camera on a shooting spree”
Award-winning landscape photographer Destin Sparks said, “Photography is the story I fail to put in words.” And the stories most photographs capture are beautiful, mainly because they could be one-offs and you may never be able to recreate them again. Smartphone cameras these days make sure it’s not just happenstance that you click such a moment, and preserve it. The sole reason behind it is that you always have your smartphone with you, and hence, it’s not surprising at all that phone makers are trying to better the competition, and themselves, at the smartphone photography game. Cramming in more pixels, bigger lenses, and additional features… everything to make sure you don’t have to settle with average imagery, only because you didn’t click with a dedicated camera. A result of this pursuit is the newly launched LeEco Le 2 (first impressions), which is one of the most affordable smartphones to boast a 16MP primary camera. We took it out on a shooting spree, and here are the results.
Apart from a 16MP primary camera, the Le 2 sports an 8-megapixel front-facing shooter. A dual-tone LED flash assists the former, while you don’t get any for the latter. The default camera app is fairly loaded in terms of features, and while the company has tried to keep the UI clean, it feels a little unorganised.
The viewfinder offers a virtual shutter key, besides which you get a toggle to access a bunch of filters that can be applied to your images in real time. Just above the shutter key, you find four primary shooting modes, which are Photo, Video, Slo-Mo, and Pano. Right alongside the top edge of the viewfinder, the front-camera toggle, flash control, and the settings toggle have been placed from right to left. Delving into the settings, you get control over the ISO, white balance, exposure, picture size etc. Below the settings menu, you find an array of a few shooting modes like HDR, Night, Beauty, and Square. There’s also an option called Scene, which offers camera presets like Landscape, Beach, Sports and Snow.
When used in landscape mode, half the options in the app do not rotate, and look out of place. A dedicated toggle to access the shooting modes would have been better, instead of placing them on the settings screen. The app might take a bit getting used to, for you to quickly switch to a specific shooting mode. Overall, it’s a decent camera app, which gives you enough options to create nice images.
The primary camera focuses in a jiffy, and clicks even quicker, since the shutter speed on the LeEco Le 2 is really impressive. Let’s take a look at what it clicked now.
The 16MP shooter at the back of the Le 2 captures decent details. Not great, but decent. The images look sharp on the phone’s screen, however, viewing them in their full size reveals a great deal of pixelation. The overall image quality isn’t really impressive. However, the colour reproduction is near perfect. The above image was taken after a much needed downpour in Gurgaon, and the Le 2’s camera captured the pleasant weather well. You should be able to click good pictures with the LeEco Le 2, however, you’re not likely to go wow if you view them later.
Most smartphone cameras these days seem to fare well at macro photography. As is apparent from the above picture, the Le 2 is no different. It has managed to capture vivid colours, and impressive details. As we mentioned earlier, we stepped out after it had freshly rained, and remnants of it can be clearly seen on the flower petals. The above image does look beautiful… there’s no denying that, but the Le 2’s primary shooter does not capture the amount of depth we would’ve liked it to. While for most part this close up shot looks nice and detailed, let’s zoom in and see if the details remain intact.
Zooming into the close-up shot reveals slightly disappointing results. You can see minor blurring of the edges in the zoomed image. The droplets on the leaves and petals don’t look as sharp, and overall you can see a bit of grain in the picture. Basically, the grass (or the leaves) looks greener from a distance.
This HDR shot only reinforces what we thought about the long shot we clicked with Le 2’s primary camera. The image looks great on the phones screen, but you encounter muddy textures, and blurred edges the moment you zoom in. The above image looks slightly over-exposed as well. Let’s see if the HDR mode does any magic.
The HDR mode on the Le 2 works like a charm. The mode has added more dimension to the picture, by fixing the over-exposure. The damp patches on the ground are more visible, and the whites in the image do not look blown out, as they did in the previous picture. The HDR mode on the LeEco Le 2 has one job, and it does it well.
Compared to some of the other smartphone cameras, the Le 2 performs better in low-light conditions. While there’s a whole of grain in the picture, the object is visible. This little super minion is grinning in its colourful outfit, and even when the lighting is going all pinchpenny, the Le 2’s camera has made sure you see the yellows, pinks, and purples in the image.
The dual-tone LED flash that assists the Le 2’s primary camera lights up the scene evenly. As you can see in the above image, the object does not looked burned out, and a lot of details have been captured by the camera brilliantly.
While we agree that there’s noise in the image, this night shot clicked by Le 2’s primary camera looks sort of stunning. Even the trees which are not directly in the vicinity of the lighting show texture, instead of looking like murky green blotches. The gate with its swirling metal adornments, the temple with its majestic architecture exuding Sanjay-Leela-Bhansali-movie-sets vibes, have been captured with what we call decent amount of sharpness and detail for a night shot.
We didn’t have to really give this segment a title, did we? The laterally flipped text gives it away. The front camera on the Le 2 does well in daylight. The above image has close to natural colours and good detail. It is slightly grainy, but it does its job decently enough for you to click nice selfies and be able to put them up on social networking apps and sites.
The LeEco Le 2’s cameras are a mixed bag. The low light image quality is better than what we've seen on the competition, and the front camera does a decent job too. The results in daylight are reasonably good. The macro and HDR shots turn out well, though details seem to be lacking in the original resolution. In terms of the competition, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (review) which is a direct rival to the Le 2, fares slightly better as an all-rounder shooter. This pretty much sums up what we think about the LeEco Le 2’s shooters. We’ll be out with its full review soon, so stay tuned.
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