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The POCO F2 Pro shows how macro cameras should be done

Macro cameras are generally nigh-on useless, but the POCO F2 Pro's implementation shows us what's possible.

Published onJune 20, 2020

POCO F2 Pro flat lay of the camera module

Macro cameras have become one of the latest lenses on today’s smartphones, allowing users to take close-up shots of various subjects. But truth be told, many OEMs slap a macro camera on their phone in order to boast that they have multiple rear cameras with little thought given to actual image quality.

From Huawei and Realme to Samsung and Xiaomi, all of these brands have released a phone with a disappointing macro camera experience on paper and often in practice too. Thankfully, Xiaomi’s POCO sub-brand has bucked the trend with the POCO F2 Pro.

Read more: What is macro photography?

One of the biggest reasons why macro cameras aren’t great is that brands tend to offer extremely low-resolution sensors. The most popular macro camera solution is a measly 2MP sensor, seen on budget phones and even the pricey OnePlus 8, leaving little room for cropping. We’ve seen some brands like Samsung stick 5MP macro cameras on their phones though. This immediately serves up better results but doesn’t completely fix the macro photography experience.

Another downside to traditional macro cameras is that focusing can be extremely finicky. Users need to get up close to the subject to get the right shot, but there’s a fine balance between getting close and getting too close. This can be a particular problem if you’re taking photos of insects and other fleet-footed subjects.

So, how does the POCO F2 Pro fix the macro camera problem?

What is the POCO F2 Pro telephoto macro camera?

Right off the bat, the POCO F2 Pro bumps up the resolution to a not-too-shabby 5MP as opposed to 2MP seen on other macro cameras. This offers more detail, allowing users to crop in even further if they wish.

But POCO has also pulled off a rather interesting trick, offering a “telephoto macro” camera instead of a traditional macro lens. This means you can get a shot from much further away than you would for a typical smartphone macro camera. The camera offers some rather pleasant bokeh effects too, making subjects/objects pop out. This is because telephoto cameras naturally offer a shallower depth of field (and therefore blurring the background), as opposed to macro cameras with their deeper depth of field effect.

Check out a few samples below for a better idea of what the POCO F2 Pro telephoto macro camera can do:

That’s not to say that the POCO F2 Pro’s take on macro photography is perfect. There’s definitely plenty of room for improvement. For example, there’s still a lot of softness in several shots. But it’s certainly better than most traditional 2MP macro cameras.

Don’t believe us? Then check out this comparison between the POCO F2 Pro telephoto macro camera and the realme 6 Pro‘s 2MP macro shooter. It’s worth noting that the realme 6 Pro is exponentially cheaper and less powerful than the Xiaomi phone, but it still gives us a good idea of what to expect with better hardware overall.

Users on Reddit have also reported impressive results with the POCO F2 Pro’s macro sensor, either using the stock camera app or a GCam port to take snaps.

What do you think of macro cameras on smartphones?

519 votes

Hopefully we see more brands take this route if they choose to adopt a macro camera. After all, what’s the point of adding a dedicated camera if the results aren’t better than macro shots from ultra-wide cameras?

What do you think of macro cameras on today’s smartphones? Take our poll above and let us know what you think of the POCO F2 Pro’s novel approach in the comments.