The Vivo V5 Plus has made headlines for its dual front-facing cameras, which promise to take selfies to another level. Yes, we have seen dual front cameras on a phone before (the Lenovo Vibe S1), but whereas that arrangement was at a more budget-friendly level, Vivo have tried to take selfie-snapping to another level with the V5 Plus (read our review of what we call Ye Selfie Supremo). The phone comes with two front-facing cameras – one of which is a 20.0-megapixel shooter and the other an 8.0-megapixel one. The main shooting is done by the 20.0-megapixel camera, while the role of the lesser of these two snappers is to add some depth of field of bokeh to selfies.
Bokeh what, ask thee? Well, we have explained the concept in some detail in our Tech Detox section on Aperture, but a quick summary would be: those photographs where some part of the picture is in sharp focus and the remainder blurred out. This blurring out of the background is referred to as Bokeh by many photographers, although some also refer to it as Depth of Field. And making this possible is the ability to change the aperture in the V5 Plus – something we have not seen in a front facing camera yet. You can move the aperture from f/0.95 to f/16, depending on your requirements – the simple rule is that a low aperture value will blur the background more, while a high value will not blur it as much.
Getting to the Bokeh mode is as simple as clicking on the “Bokeh” option – it is right at top of the camera menu when you turn on the selfie camera, along with HDR and the icons for settings and the front facing moonlight flash. And yes you can actually take a Bokeh shot with the flash and HDR modes on as well. The HDR mode will give you more detail, and the flash, as its name indicates will provide you with more light. And of course, there are the usual stack of options for skin correction and whitening that make you feel as if you are at a beautician’s.
To get a Bokeh-laden selfie, all you need to do is get the front facing camera running and switch on the Bokeh mode (you can choose to switch on HDR mode). Then simply touch the area on which you want to focus. When you do so, you will see a small Plus sign surrounded by brackets and with a slider next to it and the letter F above it along with a number. Right, let’s keep it simple: move the slider up to increase the blur in the area not in focus, and bring it down to keep things relatively sharp. You will actually see the area blurring and sharpening as you move the ruler, which is kind of cool.
But that is not actually the end of the Bokeh magic. Even AFTER you have taken your photograph, you can tap on “Bokeh” at its base and then move the focus to any part of the picture by just touching it – this will again bring up the slider and you can move it up or down to work out just how much bokeh you want. Yes, we have seen other apps and phones do the same, but those effects have been more about software tweaks (hey, even Instagram lets you blur parts of shots) and what one gets from the dual camera set up of the Vivo V5 Plus is quite in a different category in terms of detail and effectiveness.
All of which places the Vivo V5 Plus’s selfie camera pretty much in a league of its own at the time of writing. Grab it, get into selfie-snapping mode and to paraphrase, “Dirty Harry” Callaghan: “Go ahead, make my bokeh!”
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