Huawei's new P30 Pro has four cameras offering incredible versatility, and the company claims it rewrites the rules of photography, as well as letting you see more than ever before. We've already gone hands on and explained the four cameras in detail, but does the P30 Pro live up to its billing?
We spent a few minutes with it prior to its launch and alongside testing out the rest of the phone, we put the camera through its paces briefly. Is this the best camera of the year so far? Here's our first impressions of the new Huawei P30 Pro camera.
Note that these were all captured on a smartphone using pre-release software, so they are not be indicative of the full experience offered by the Huawei P30 Pro and we won't be pixel peeping the camera's photos until our full review.
Much like the Mate 20 Pro from last year, the P30 Pro has an ultra-wide-angle camera (left above), and a regular sensor. The 40MP regular sensor is of the new SuperSpectrum variety, which replaces all the green pixels with yellow pixels to improve the intake of light.
The new periscope camera allows the P30 Pro to capture more than ever before, as it offers up to 5x optical zoom (left), 10x hybrid zoom (middle) and up to a massive 50x digital zoom (right). What's interesting is that the 10x hybrid zoom is fantastic, and also equal to the maximum digital zoom offered by the Mate 20 Pro. Here's another set of samples in the same order:
From the range of zoom to a short test of the Time of Flight sensor, which allows Huawei to accurately measure the depth of different objects. It works by measuring the time it takes light to travel from an object to the camera, and calculating the distance and depth from this data.
This particular image was not taken using the portrait mode as it didn't recognize the object as a human face, which is a peculiar limitation of the portrait mode. Instead, we used Huawei's aperture mode which allows you to customize the aperture to achieve the bokeh effect you wish. The aperture mode lets you adjust from f/0.95 aperture to f/16 aperture, both before and after taking a picture.
One of the best features in last year's P20 Pro was the "Night Mode", which allowed you to capture long exposure shots without a tripod. It used AI to stabilize the phone enough to take incredible photos.
The switch to a yellow pixel in the SuperSpectrum sensor supposedly allowed Huawei to let in up to 40% extra light, resulting in even better low light photos. We've already compared it to the Mate 20 Pro and the Pixel 3 – you should definitely check out those comparisons at the links below – but at first glance, the camera seemingly delivers on Huawei's claims.
The above shots were captured in almost pitch-black light, and it was too dark to see the subject with our naked eye. The regular camera did a stellar job, and night mode on the P30 Pro has seemingly been improved even further.
What does that Time of Flight sensor also offer? According to Huawei, it gives them the data for their AI to be able to see individual strands of hair when taking portrait mode photos. For the most part, the portrait mode on the P30 Pro certainly seems to be much improved over previous years, and it does a good job at capturing all the individual hairs on Michael's head.
This doesn't test a particular feature on the camera, rather it was a test of various depths, bright colors, dynamic range and details. The detail in the heat rings inside this lantern are all incredibly detailed, and it does a great job at not blowing out the background as well.
The improvement in the cameras isn't just on the rear, with the new front facing camera a 32MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture. For the most part, this image looks pretty crisp, the colors are good and the background is detailed yet blurred enough to make this a photo you'd like to share.
This last image was designed to test the AI mode on the P30 Pro, as well as the other devices we compared it with (see the links below). The P30 Pro does a good job overall of picking out the details in the flowers and blurring the background, and you can just about see the different levels of depth in different areas of the photo. The colors are a little muted, but we won't judge the P30 Pro based on this as it could be something that's fixed in the final software.
Overall, a handful of photos in a pretty standard lighting scenario (indoor and outdoor) isn't the most definitive test, but it gives us an indication of the photos that the P30 Pro can capture. Huawei seems to have another smash hit camera on their hands, but we'll reserve our judgement for the final review.
In the meantime, let us know what you think of the camera in the comments, and check out the links below for more on Huawei's new flagship!
Huawei P30 series in more detail:
- Huawei P30 Pro hands on
- Huawei P30 Pro vs Galaxy S10 Plus Camera Comparison
- Huawei P30 Pro vs Google Pixel 3 Camera Comparison
- Huawei P30 Pro vs P30 – what's different?
- Check out these first camera samples from the four cameras on the P30 Pro!
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