YU Yureka camera review: oh shoot!

“The Yureka impresses with its daylight shooting prowess, but it’s an iffy affair in low light”

Social networks like Facebook, Instagram and even Twitter are nothing without the images shared by users, and selfies have taken over the interwebs in a big, big way. Vacations, birthday parties, drunken binges, friends getting together, rambunctious kids, playful pets, quirky objects or people on the road, funny signs – so many things and events in our daily lives form the subjects in many of these snaps… and most of them are shot using smartphones. Hardly something you don’t already know, but it’s important to understand how critical the shooting prowess of the device we carry around with us at all times is.

Coming to the device which is the focus of our attention today, the YU Yureka (first impressions | FAQs) is a special one in many ways. Not only is it the first offering from the new Micromax-backed brand, it has also grabbed quite a few headlines in the recent past, thanks to its tussle with OnePlus over use of the Cyanogen platform. Leaving that aside, the Yureka is also very notable for the specs that it offers for its asking price of Rs 8,999 – making it great value for money, at least on paper. Its 13-meg primary shooter, on which we’ll be concentrating now, boasts an aperture of f/2.2 and a Sony IMX135 sensor. The front shooter offers a resolution of 5-megapixels.

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The shooting interface is provided by the Cyanogen camera app, which gives you quite a few options to tweak the final output. A range of presets and colour filters are available, and can be selected easily merely by swiping over the screen.

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Delving into the settings will reveal the rest of the options, which give you control over aspects like image size and quality, focus modes, ISO, exposure etc. The video options include slow-motion recording at 60 fps and time lapse, while you can also adjust controls for left-handed use and set the power button to capture photos and the volume rocker to control zoom, if you so desire. Let’s dive into the details and take a close look at how well the Yureka can shoot in different conditions.

Long shot


Lovely colours, sharp focus and loads of detail form the hallmark of this sample shot from the YU Yureka, and highlights its capabilities as a very capable shooter in daylight. The camera is fast to lock focus too.



Images of subjects at close quarters turn out to be pristine too, and there’s a nice depth-of-field effect in the background which makes the picture look very natural and true-to-life. There’s no doubt that the Yureka can churn out very nice results as long as the lighting is good.

Close-up (zoomed)


Taking a closer look at the same image we shot earlier by magnifying and cropping the blow-up portion, we can see a good amount of detail. The veins on those leaves look clear and despite direct sunlight, the details aren’t blown out.

HDR off


To test the HDR capabilities of the Yureka, we shot this image in auto mode and while the colours look a tad muted, we’d blame it on the lack of sunlight. What we really want to see is how the scene chances with HDR on, and the next shot will show exactly that.

HDR on


Switching on the HDR mode for the same scene does lots to liven it up and highlights the darker areas well. The colours look better too and notice how well the hues on the leaves  have turned out, especially on the left.

Front camera


The front shooter seems to be capable enough for decent selfies as long as the ambient lighting is good enough. Though it can’t be described as a selfie-centric device, the Yureka should serve up usable shots from the front shooter too.

Night shot


We must say we were a tad underwhelmed with the low-light shots we got from the Yureka, as this night shot will reveal. The image is quite grainy and soft, almost looking like an oil painting in some areas.

Low light


An image shot indoors in dim lighting without the flash highlights the same issues. There’s loads of noise and over-softening of the edges around the subject, making it clear that you won’t find your eureka moment if you try and use this device for shooting post dark… at least without the flash.

Low light (with flash)


The shot looks much much better with the flash on, with good colours and sharpness. More importantly, the details haven’t been burnt out even at close quarters. So you should be fine if you want to use the Yureka at a party or an event to shoot at close range, and come back with a few share-worthy images.

The Yu Yureka might be a bit of mixed bag when it comes to overall shooting capabilities, but we are quite sure it has one of the best cameras on a device priced south of Rs 10,000. The Xiaomi Redmi Note (camera review) comes very close, and the ASUS Zenfone 5 (camera review) trumps it for low-light shooting, but that apart, the Yureka has a very good snapper and shouldn’t let you down as long as you’re shooting with enough light.

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