The Huawei P20 Pro is finally here (and coming to India soon) and it’s the first-ever smartphone to feature a triple camera system on the rear. The Chinese giant has placed much attention on how their camera system, backed by artificial intelligence in image processing and scene recognition, is breaking boundaries for mobile photography enthusiasts.

Over the past year, smartphone aficionados agreed that the Google Pixel 2 and iPhone X had arguably the best phone cameras on the market. Period. This is true even for DXOMark, but the crown was first snatched away by the Galaxy S9+ last month, then Xiaomi stole it briefly with the Mi Mix 2S and Huawei had now smugly taking the prime position.

At least, that’s what the whopping 109 DxOMark score (if you care about scores) and the initial hands-on experiences with the P20 Pro have revealed. So, let’s see what makes the cameras tick and how it compares to the competitors:

Hardware Specs

Starting off with the basics, the Huawei P20 Pro has three cameras on the back. Developed by Huawei’s long-time camera partner Leica, P20 Pro is packing a 40-megapixel primary RGB sensor, a secondary 20-megapixel mono sensor and a third 8-megapixel telephoto sensor to round up the party.

This is the first modern to sport a 40MP camera sensor, but it has previously made an appearance on the uber-popular Nokia Lumia series. You do remember the Lumia 1020, right?

p20 pro camera specs

To make it latest smartphone to stand out in this cluttered ecosystem, Huawei has taken a major stride in photography technology. The high-resolution 40MP lens will allow you to capture immensely detailed pictures, with a wider color gamut.

Pairing it with the 20MP monochrome (captures black and white images) sensor, the Huawei P20 Pro will have more data for enhanced depth estimation to produce bokeh effects and help catch more detail with low levels of noise for producing sharper photos.

Coming to the third and final camera, Huawei is using an 8MP telephoto lens with a 3x zoom capability. While most popular phones, such as the iPhone X or any other dual-camera phone give you a 2x zoom factor, Huawei is taking things a step forward with its photo technology. This lens also features OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation).

Further, using the 40MP wide-angle lens in conjunction with the 8MP telephoto one enables the P20 Pro to capture loss-less 5x zoom photos. The Chinese giant is using a new ‘hybrid zoom’ technology, which comes into play when you push past the native 3x zoom available with the lens.

This allows you to zoom in on your subject and produce outstanding results when you want to capture details from a distance

All this is topped by AI (artificial intelligence) scene recognition that’ll work its magic in the background each time you click a picture. The P20 Pro’s camera can recognize the scene you’re capturing to adjust the contrast and saturation to make the colors pop. Huawei is also using AI behind the scenes to stabilize you videos and adjust the high-contrast scenes for effortlessly clear low-light photos.

Camera Samples & Comparison

So now that the specs are out there, let’s see how the tri-cameras fare in real-world performance. And going by the initial hands-on reviews of the camera, the P20 Pro appears to be completely living up to its hype.

As you can see in the daylight photo of the groceries attached below, the cameras on the P20 Pro are working in tandem to produce vibrant and life-like colors. The sharpness or even the exposure isn’t overpowering, and the rich colours make me want to bag these groceries and cook myself a meal right now. Yes, the trio of P20 Pro cameras are that good.

Image Courtesy: CNET
5x zoom p20 pro
Showing off the 5x hybrid zoom on the Huawei P20 Pro / Image Courtesy: CNET

On stage, Huawei boasted how their three camera system would give you the feel of capturing DSLR quality photos on your phones. This means the lenses, as well as the AI, would have their work cut out in producing a life-like blur and not a dull and unnatural one – but the latter seemed to be the case here. There’s a lot of blur but not essentially how you would prefer it to look.

Android Authority‘s Nirave Gondhia, as well as a few other reputed tech journalists, faced a similar hiccup with the portrait (or bokeh) mode on the P20 Pro. Check out Gondhia’s bokeh shot right here:

Image Courtesy: Android Authority

Talking about low-light or night conditions, P20 Pro tackles the situation like a champ. The trio of cameras all work together to  You can see the clarity in the pyramid’s structure, the noise-free sky and the better exposure on the P20 Pro. Speaking of the same, The Verge‘s Vlad Savov says,

I can say with certainty that the P20 Pro’s night mode is a groundbreaking innovation that produces some of the best night shots ever taken with a phone.

p20 pro sample night
Huawei P20 Pro (left) and Google Pixel 2 XL (right) / Image Courtesy: The Verge

As you can see for yourself, Huawei was right in talking up the camera throughout the launch event. The P20 Pro has us gushing, and we haven’t even used it yet. We’ll be sure to present you with a more detailed camera review, as well as comparison, when the device lands in India — which should be very soon.

So, what are your views on the Huawei P20 Pro’s camera? Better than Pixel 2 or nope? Do share your opinions with us in the comments below.