Huawei has been making massive strides when it comes to phone cameras, with devices like the P20 Pro and the Mate 20 Pro delivering astonishing performances that matched the likes of the iPhone, the Galaxy S and the Pixel series. And the latest phone from the Chinese brand, the P30 Pro, is expected to surpass them comfortably.
The phone is set to arrive in the market shortly. While we are waiting, here are six amazing facts about its camera:
Five cameras — and a hundred megapixels — in all
The Huawei P30 Pro comes with a total of five cameras. Four are at the back, and one in the front (for selfies). The ones at the back are: a 40-megapixel camera with what Huawei terms a SuperSpectrum sensor with f/1.6 aperture, a 20-megapixel ultrawide camera with f/2.2 aperture, an 8-megapixel camera fitted with a SuperZoom lens with f/3.4 aperture, and finally, a ToF camera for sensing the depth of field information.
Both the 40-megapixel sensor and the SuperZoom come with optical image stabilisation. There is also a 32-megapixel front-facing camera, with f/2.0 aperture. Add up all of them and you get a hundred megapixels of shooting power — with ultrawide and zoom as well.
We are not sure we have seen anything like this on a phone. Yes, we have seen phones with one big sensor (like 48 megapixels on the Redmi Note 7 Pro and the Vivo V15 Pro), but these many high-end cameras in one device? Nope.
Lots of loss-less zoom
Do not go by the megapixel count of the cameras — the star of the show on paper seems to the 8-megapixel SuperZoom lens. A special zooming feature allows you to get 5X optical zoom on it, which is a staggering amount on a phone camera (the iPhone XS has only a 2X optical zoom, in comparison) — making this possible is a periscopic zoom technology that Huawei is using in the camera.
Some clever use of technology and AI also means that you can even go up to 10X without much loss in quality (what is called hybrid zoom), which is again amazing when you consider that this is a phone camera. And that is not the end of the matter…
Lots more of digital zoom
The cameras of the P30 Pro are capable of a lot of photographic magic, but the feature that is likely to be shown off the most is the digital zoom. The P30 Pro comes with an amazing 50X digital zoom — yes, you read that right.
That literally allows you to zoom and see objects which even your eyes cannot see. Of course, the challenge in these cases is to minimise the level of shake in the shots, as the greater the zoom, the more the chance the snap will be a shaky one.
Huawei has tackled this with OIS on the SuperZoom sensor. From what we have seen in the demos, this is nothing but staggering. You can actually take pictures of birds flying in the air, of leaves dangling on a tree across the road, and can even have a reasonable go at shooting the moon, and so on. Again, it is nothing like anything we have seen on a phone camera.
Amazing macro as well
The 20-megapixel ultra-wide camera is terrific for capturing landscapes and the like, but that is not the only skill it has up its sleeve. We have seen ultrawide cameras on other phones (the Galaxy S10+ has a very good one)- but the one on the P30 Pro does a bit more than super wide shots.
It also does amazing close-ups, letting you take pictures from as close as 2.5 cm. Again, this is the kind of photography you do not associate with a phone camera. There is even a dedicated super macro mode for these snaps.
Dazzling night mode
The 50X digital zoom is not the only big figure on the P30 Pro’s camera set up. The phone could well redefine low light photography, traditionally a pain point for most phone cameras. This is because its main 40 megapixel not only has a large aperture (f/1.6), but also has a new colour filter array (CFA).
Jargon aside, these two combine to give the P30 Pro an ISO count of 4,09,600, which is not only much higher than what you would get in most smartphone cameras, but also higher than what you would get in some DSLRs. And of course, this also comes with optical image stabilisation, so you can be assured of some amazing low light photography. On paper, this is certainly far, far ahead of anything any other phone camera has.
Long exposure shots made easy
Slow shutter speeds are great for producing some amazing photographic effects, especially artistic blurs. But a big challenge with them is keeping the camera steady enough. Most experts use tripods.
The P30 Pro, however, comes with special long exposure modes that allow you to take those slow shutter shots even if you do not have a tripod (how many use a tripod with a phone camera anyway). Handheld long exposure shots — those are a task even with a proper camera and now Huawei claims to have delivered a phone that can do them!
And… Leica technology again
One of the strongest points of the Huawei P series has been its association with the legendary phone manufacturer, Leica — the only phone company which has an association with that brand.
The very name is synonymous with photography of the highest quality in the minds of many photography followers. The camera system in the phone is called the Leica quad camera phone system. We know enough people who would be convinced just by the Leica brand name!