Lenovo Vibe Shot camera review: the versatile shooter

“Could the Lenovo Vibe Shot be the camera phone you’ve been waiting for? Check out the image samples to find out”

Lenovo Vibe Shot_3While there are various features potential customers look for in a smartphone, there’s one that remains more or less constant across the board – a good camera. And while several manufacturers advertise their smartphones being photography-oriented, we know from experience that not all deliver the kind of image quality they promise. One of the most recent entrants into the ‘camera smartphone’ category is the Lenovo Vibe Shot (first impressions). The affordable flagship has even been designed to resemble a digicam – just glance at the image above if you don’t believe us. And if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also find a dedicated switch to toggle between Auto and Pro modes, plus a physical shutter button. Coming to the specifics, the Vibe Shot features a 16MP OIS camera with a 6-element lens, BSI sensor, infrared autofocus (which the company claims is 2X faster than regular autofocus), plus a tricolour LED flash. At the front, it’s equipped with an 8MP shooter. Apart from a full Auto mode assisted by a Smart Composition tool, the camera app features a dedicated Pro mode with access to all the usual manual controls. Additionally, the Pro mode gives you access to various effects like Panorama, Art Nightscape, Artistic HDR, Blur Background, Wide Selfie and Golden Years. While we’ll tell you more about the special features in the camera app in our full review, for now let’s take a look at some photos captured across various shooting conditions to assess how the Vibe Shot fares in real life.

Long Shot

Lenovo Vibe Shot_Camera review_long shotIn this long shot sample, the various elements in the image are clearly defined, with colours appearing true-to-life. All the buildings in the front have been captured in sharp focus, although there is some softening towards the back. 

Close Up

Lenovo Vibe Shot_image sample_close up

The Vibe Shot has done a great job of capturing this luscious red lily in all its glory. You can clearly make out the individual petals, as well as the filaments in the centre. The subject is in sharp focus, but the background is slightly washed out.

Close Up (Zoomed In)

Lenovo Vibe Shot_image sample_close up zoomed in

A close crop of the sample above reveals even more detail like grains of pollen stuck to the anther, pollen dust scattered across the flower, and the texture of individual petals. Suffice to say, you won’t be disappointed in the quality of macro shots. 



Without HDR, some parts of this image appear quite dark, while others, such as the sky, are completely washed out.



Turning on HDR does improve dynamic range, with the darker areas more visible, and the sky showing more contrast. However, the HDR mode has also washed out the image, will colours appearing dull and lifeless.

Night Shot

Lenovo Vibe Shot_image sample_night shot

For an image taken at night, the Vibe Shot has done a remarkable job. There’s not much noise, and the overall sharpness and colour reproduction are impressive considering the poor lighting conditions. 

Front Camera

Lenovo Vibe Shot_camera sample_front cameraOur selfie subject today is a puppy, and the front camera didn’t let us down on this one. The noise levels are low and the image evenly exposed, although the subject isn’t as sharply in focus as we would have liked. 

Creative Lighting mode

Lenovo Vibe Shot_camera performance_Creative Lighting

We usually refrain from including special modes in our camera review, but the Creative Lighting mode on the Vibe Shot deserves a mention. The mode makes it very easy to create funky patterns with light trails. All you need to do is press the shutter button, and have someone else create patterns using a light source. It’s a fun, easy way to create effects that usually require much more effort, and as you can see, the results look great too. 

Low Light

Lenovo Vibe Shot_camera review_low light

While the Vibe Shot doesn’t suffer from excessive noise levels in low light, the caveat is that they appear quite dark. In the case of this image, too dark. Zooming in, you’ll be able to make out some hints of the subject, but even so, the image is unusable.

Low Light (With Flash)

Lenovo Vibe Shot_camera sample_low light with flash

Lenovo’s tricolour LED flash is one up on the dual-tone LED flash we’ve been seeing on several smartphones of late. It’s intended to illuminate the subject with more natural light, and in the case of this sample, we tend to agree (although the tone is on the warmer side). The subject is evenly bathed in light, and all traces of noise have been banished. 

From the images embedded above, you can see that the Lenovo Vibe Shot is a versatile shooter, managing to capture decent images across shooting conditions. There are some areas, such as the HDR mode, which we felt could use improvement, but as far as image quality goes, it’s one of the best in its price range. For more on the Vibe Shot’s camera and performance, stay tuned for our full review that’s coming up shortly.
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