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Huawei P30 Pro camera review: Versatile photography for amateurs and pro

Khalid Anzar/New Delhi 15 Apr 19 | 07:44 AM

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei’s P-series smartphones are known for their strong imaging characteristics. Taking the legacy forward, the Huawei P30 Pro boasts a quad camera module on the back, featuring the company’s first periscope telephoto lens. While a regular telephoto lens in other smartphones enables up to 2x optical zoom, the periscope set-up in the P30 allows it to go up to 5x.

The rear camera module also has a custom made 40-megapixel lens, which has been designed by replacing the green sub-pixels in the Bayer filter (RGGB) with yellows (RYYB), enabling the sensor to capture more light and yield higher ISO range of up to 409,600. Besides the periscope telephoto lens and bright wide-angle lens, the phone also boasts a 20MP ultra-wide auto-focus lens, and a time-of-flight (ToF) sensor for 3D mapping and depth effects.

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The phone’s camera primarily addresses three common issues that the current-generation smartphones struggle with — ultra-wide angle photography, low-light imaging and zoom. Besides working together to deliver a comprehensive imaging experience, each camera lens on the rear quad camera module also has individual roles.

Huawei P30 Pro: Low light

The 40MP sensor, which is also the primary camera lens, is set to a 10MP resolution by default. This can be changed from the camera settings; however, the lens does not support zoom when set to the maximum resolution. Even at a 10MP resolution, the primary sensor works like a charm to capture detailed photographs irrespective of light conditions.

Besides a new RGGB subpixel set-up, Huawei has also worked on algorithms to improve the camera 's performance. The result is seen while capturing frames in dim light or no light conditions. While other smartphones – for example Pixel 3 -- use a dedicated night mode that takes a couple of seconds to capture details in low light, the Huawei P30 Pro takes exemplary shots almost instantly. The photos taken in low light come out so well that they make you wonder if the phone actually needs a dedicated night mode at all?

On the other hand, however, the photos captured using the dedicated night mode have more details, less noise, and natural colours – making it relevant in situations where you do not mind waiting for some extra seconds for a clearer, natural-looking photo. 

Huawei P30 Pro: Zoom

Besides being able to do a 5x optical, the Huawei P30 Pro’s camera can also go to a hybrid zoom of up to a 10x, which the company claims to be lossless, and a 50x digital zoom. It is the only phone right now with such zoom abilities.

Though the 50x digital zoom might sound like a gimmick, it is not. Similarly, the 5x optical zoom and 10x hybrid stand true to the company’s claim of lossless quality. Unfortunately, due to a not-so-bright telephoto sensor, the zoom feature struggles in low-light conditions – forcing the phone to switch to primary lens for a brighter image, albeit with quality deterioration because the zoom is all digital. 

Thankfully, both the periscope telephoto lens and the primary lens have dedicated optical image stabilisation (OIS) and artificial intelligence-based electric stabilisation (AIS) – allowing to capture zoomed-in shots with some precision.

Huawei P30 Pro: Ultra-wide angle

Except for the zoom-in feature, the camera is also capable of zooming out and capturing at 0.6x. For this, the camera switches to an ultrawide lens. The lens supports autofocus which is a good addition, considering that not all people use ultrawide lens for landscape photography. However, the lens is not bright like the primary lens, nor can you use this lens in the night mode. Therefore, it is good only for daylight shots.

Verdict

Irrespective of what you use the phone’s camera for, the Huawei P30 Pro is one phone that covers most of the things right, including a spectacular low-light photography, lossless zoom, and ultrawide-angle photography. Overall, the Huawei P30 Pro is a versatile imaging powerhouse that leaves you in awe every time you click the shutter button.

But how is it as a smartphone? Find out in our review, coming soon…

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