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We Took The OPPO R17 Pro Out For Some Night Shooting, And We Came Away Impressed

In our line of job, we review lots and lots of smartphones and when it comes to the camera department, we can all agree that most smartphones struggle when shooting in the dark. The usual list of problems include very dark shots, blurry shots, noisy shots, and generally washed-out shots that just look plain unattractive. It is no doubt the Achilles’ heel of most phones out there.

Naturally, when some smartphone companies come along and claim that their products take great night shots, we’re inclined to feel intrigued (plus a little bit of skepticism). The recently-released OPPO R17 Pro is one such example. You may have heard all about it, no less its night photography prowess. On paper, the R17 Pro boasts a Smart Aperture feature that automatically switches between F1.5 and F2.4 aperture depending on the shooting condition. When it’s bright, the lens closes by itself to reduce glare and on the contrary, it widens up in dark environment to let in more light.

The OPPO R17 Pro also features a dedicated Ultra Night Mode when you intend to take spectacular night shots. Combine that with OPPO’s AI Ultra-clear Engine, 24 million photosensitive units designed with a large 1.4 μm pixel size and 1/2.55 photosensitive area for enhanced photoreception as well as optical stabilization technology, the phone does indeed look it means business.

What we’re looking at – and precisely why you are here – is to see how stuffs that are on paper translates to the real world. Is the R17 Pro as good at doing its job as OPPO claims it to be? Or everything is just pure marketing hype? We recently got our hands on the phone and on one fine night, went out for some night photo-shooting around town to find out. Just phone on hand – no tripods or any other aids whatsoever.

Before that, let’s talk a bit about the camera app. Apart from the standard affair like automatic/normal mode and portrait mode, the R17 Pro also offers an expert mode for the more pro users who would want to mess around with settings like ISO, white balance and shutter speed among others. However, the Ultra Night Mode will be our main focus here.

What Ultra Night Mode basically does is that it helps reduce noise and at the same time lengthen the exposure time to produce clear and bright shots every single time. The best way to see how Ultra Night Mode makes a difference is to compare and see for yourselves the shots taken with and without the mode turned on, and here they are below.

Normal Mode

Ultra Night Mode

Normal Mode

Ultra Night Mode

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Ultra Night Mode

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Ultra Night Mode

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Ultra Night Mode

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Ultra Night Mode

Normal Mode

Ultra Night Mode

In normal mode, the R17 Pro doesn’t take bad night pictures. It does produces some fairly decent-looking shots in the typically-challenging surrounding, though there is nothing much to really shout about. The Ultra Night Mode shots on the other hand though, are something else. We do not need to tell you that this dedicated night mode vastly improves the visuals, in some cases dramatically. The colours are much richer and packs more punch, the scenes are brighter, more fine details are captured (pay close attention to the wordings on buildings especially) and shots on the whole just look much, much more appealing and pleasing to the eyes from top to bottom. I think we all can agree on that.

The best thing is the Ultra Night Mode is so easy to use that just about anyone can take amazing-looking night shots. Just dive into the mode in the camera app, press the shutter button once you have found the perfect frame and angle, hold the phone steady for around four seconds and let the software magic do the rest of the work. There is no need for any tripod or special equipments. All you really need is a steady pair of hands and a good eye for interesting subjects.

The Ultra Night Mode also works in 2x zoom mode, so you can get pretty detailed shots even up close, like the pictures below show.

Ultra Night Mode

Ultra Night Mode 2x Zoom

Following are more shots taken with the R17 Pro, because we couldn’t resist it.

We’re genuinely impressed. The camera technologies that OPPO has poured onto the R17 Pro does justify their work. With F1.5/F2.4 smart aperture, you can easily achieve the perfect night shots without needing to dive into expert mode or anything. A simple click is all it takes, and the R17 Pro will bring the day to enlighten your night. Is this the best night shooting mode on any smartphone there is currently? We can’t say as a detailed comparison of all the contenders would be needed. Going by what we can see here, the R17 Pro is pretty darn good night shooter. On experienced hands, it has the capacity to produce some wonderful results. Everyone can learn how to shoot great-looking photos, so long as they have a capable device on hand. It’s good to see the maker of great selfie smartphones have it in them to produce a solid competitor to other great night-shooting phones.

OPPO is not stopping there as they have included a “third camera” in the form of Time of Flight (TOF)  sensing camera that can be used to capture high-precision 3D depth information through nanosecond infrared light measurement, a first of its kind.  

Besides the cameras, the R17 Pro also has a fingerprint sensor under its display – the very first OPPO smartphone to feature the future-oriented technology. It also boasts one of the industry’s fastest (if not the fastest yet) as well as safest fast-charge technologies in SuperVOOC Flash Charge that is capable of juicing up the phone battery from zero to 40% in just 10 short minutes. OPPO is the first in the industry to have a bi-cell battery design that enables safer charging scheme. Through its pioneering low-voltage, high-current charging innovations, it ensures longer battery durability and user’s safety by charging up to 40% in merely 10 minutes. For comparison’s sake, OPPO’s VOOC Flash Charge typically requires 30 minutes to charge up to 75%.    

The R17 Pro is also the world’s first smartphone to carry the new Gorilla Glass 6, which is Corning’s toughest and most durable protective glass yet and is said to be up to 2x better than its predecessor, the Gorilla Glass 5.

Without any doubt, OPPO has introduced a lot of innovation and technology improvements. From the success of using 5G network in making video calls, the SuperVOOC technology, to the Stealth 3D cameras innovation on the flagship model Find X, they had set the standard of how a futuristic smartphone should look like. The R17 Pro is in fact another gem that is able to bright up your night effortlessly. We believe that true innovation is about bringing convenience and beauty into people’s life and OPPO is definitely on the right track here. 

Retailing at RM2,699, the R17 Pro is now available again after being sold out during its first sales weekend two weeks ago. You may head to the nearest OPPO Concept Stores or any OPPO Authorised Dealer stores to get the R17 Pro now just in time for Christmas. If you would like to try your hands in winning one, you may join OPPO Malaysia’s “Thousand Stories of the Night” contest which also rewards the winner with a 6D5N trip to Hong Kong in addition to the phone. Details at this link: https://oppomalaysia.com.my/r17procampaign/home/ 

Below are some samples from contestants of the campaign:

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