Huawei P30 Pro In-depth Camera Review: The Best Camera Phone of 2019?

Huawei P30 Pro, the Chinese phone maker’s newest flagship, has made its much-awaited India debut today at a hefty price of Rs 71,990. It is a powerful smartphone which stacks up well against the myriad of flagships already available in the market. However, being a Huawei P-series smartphone means there’s a primary focus on one aspect and that’s the photography experience. The company always pulls an innovative camera feature from its hat each time and the P30 Pro is no different.

This flagship is being touted to have some of the best cameras ever on a smartphone, so we put it to the test, checked out each and every camera feature of Huawei P30 Pro, and here’s what I think about its cameras:

Huawei P30 Pro Camera Specs

Before we dive into my experience with the Huawei P30 Pro’s cameras, let’s take a quick look at the camera specs and features.

The smartphone comes laden with a quad-camera module on the rear, which is a step up from its previous flagships – the P20 Pro or Mate 20 Pro. The camera setup still sports a primary 40MP sensor, but it has been upgraded with the inclusion of RYYB Bayer color filter array to capture 40% more light and bump the maximum ISO rating to 409600. It’s now termed as a SuperSpectrum sensor.

Huawei P30 Pro In-depth Camera Review: The Best Camera Phone of 2019?

The second sensor on board is a 20MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide angle sensor with over 120-degrees field-of-vision, which is becoming a staple in devices launching these days. And finally, we have the most valuable addition to the lot, an 8MP (f/3.4) periscope/telephoto camera that can capture photos at 5x optical zoom, 10x hybrid SuperZoom, and a mind-boggling 50x digital zoom as well.

Finally, there’s a time-of-flight (TOF) sensor on the right of the triple camera setup, below the flash and temperature sensors. This will allow the smartphone to capture more depth information, enhancing the portrait and night shots, plus helping in AR applications in the future. You can read more about the quad-camera module right here, but let’s talk about the camera app in brief.

The native camera app baked into the Huawei P30 Pro is feature-laden and complex. Yes, the camera app is quite intricate and you’ll probably need some time to discover and get used to all the extra features, such as slow-mo, light painting, silky water, super macro, and the Aperture mode. The app is snappy, the shutter speed is great, and there’s a Pro mode on board as well, so camera enthusiasts can be merry!

camera app - huawei p30 pro

Now that we’ve gotten everything else out of the way, let’s take a look at some samples captured using the Huawei P30 Pro:

Note: The camera samples captured with Huawei P30 Pro need to be embraced in all their glory, so we have attached links to full-resolution photos for each category. You’ll be able to check out the details in each picture and form an opinion of your own as well.

Huawei P30 Pro: Daylight Samples

The pictures captured from the Huawei P30 Pro in broad daylight are some of the best I have ever seen from a smartphone camera, right at the top next to the Pixel 3. I clicked more than I can imagine, so did Rupesh, and we reached on a common conclusion that Huawei has seriously stepped up its game with its latest flagship.

The Huawei P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro already captured some amazing pictures, however, the upgraded rear camera setup on the P30 Pro improves on its shortcomings. Huawei is finally giving up on over-sharpening its pictures, but there’s surely some AI-backed over-saturation still in place. The dynamic range of the device is pretty high, the details have been preserved even when zooming in, and there’s no major complaints. I started liking the involvement of AI in the process over time as it made the clicks more social media-ready.

  • Ultra Wide Angle Samples

The Huawei P30 Pro also includes an ultra wide-angle rear camera, as you might already have read in the specifications above. It has a field-of-view of more than 120-degrees & that can help you capture some breath-taking shots, especially that of a skyline, sunrise, marketplace, or whatever you can possibly imagine.

After begging phone makers to follow LG’s suit for years, it’s now that they’re picking up the ultra wide-angle camera to be a prominent attraction for their multi-camera modules. There’s another flagship, the Galaxy S10 Plus with an equally capable sensor of the same kind as the P30 Pro, so we pit them against each other and captured a multitude of ultra wide-angle pictures in both day and night situations:

The ultra wide-angle photos clicked from both the Galaxy S10 Plus and Huawei P30 Pro are pretty good and I was surprised to see the latter match up to the former. While I adore the wider FOV of the Galaxy S10, P30 Pro isn’t too far behind or maybe it was intentional on Huawei’s part to not go overboard as the Galaxy S10 whose pictures have a slight fish-eye effect at the edges in most cases.

The samples from both the smartphones can be shared on social media – with the color reproduction of the Galaxy S10 pictures being slightly saturated as compared to the P30 Pro, which produces more detailed shots and you can even read addresses on billboards using samples from the same. Check out the full-res images on Google Drive and don’t forget to zoom in.

Huawei P30 Pro: Zoom in Close!

“If you want to go to the moon; I’ll take you there, baby zoom” sings DNCE frontman Joe Jonas and it’s probably the most ideal way to describe the insane zooming capabilities of the Huawei P30 Pro. This is the first-ever smartphone to carry a periscope camera setup and it brings in tow amazing, never-seen-before zoom capabilities.

The telephoto camera itself has 5x optical zoom capability baked in, which is better than the 3x optical zoom on the P20 Pro, but the prism module inside allows it to capture 10x hybrid zoom pictures. Then there’s the 50x that open more possibilities for smartphone photography, making you want to pull out your phone and check how far you can see – which has been the case with me over the past week.

And since the moon didn’t make an appearance in Delhi over the past couple of days, we had to settle with the camera samples attached below. I ain’t waiting around and putting forth my best 50x zoom picture I’ve captured to date first.

Here you can see a building with an autumn tree in the first picture, let’s zoom and you would see two birds perched on a branch in the second picture. The third photo focuses upon the bird perched on the top, and you can check out the fourth 50z picture yourself. Get ready to be amazed though!

There’s a common denominator in all these pictures and you will notice it in the camera samples we attach below as well. The 50x zoom picture isn’t the sharpest and detail, of course, is lacking as compared to other zoom samples. This is because the subjects for your 50x zoom pictures are quite far away and even though there’s dual OIS onboard, you’ll still need to keep your hand really stable or use a tripod to get the best result.

I mean, you can see the colors of the bird’s feathers in the photo above and it’s perched really far away, so what more do you need. Here are some more 5x, 10x, and 50x zoom samples to show off this mind-boggling feature of the Huawei P30 Pro:

Though the 50x digital zoom feature is simply astonishing and can help you catch a glimpse of things that may not be visible to the naked eye from that distance, it falters in low light. There’s a ton of noise in the 50x low-light pictures and even though you’ll make out what’s shown in the frame, it won’t truly be usable for sharing on social media or with peers. Here’s an example:

You can check the full-res samples from above using this Google Drive link. However, if you want to check out more camera samples and see how the zoom capabilities on the P30 Pro compare to other popular flagships, including the iPhone XS Max, Pixel 3 XL, and Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, then check out our YouTube video on the same right here:

Huawei P30 Pro: Night-time Magic

I bet you have already seen the magic of the 40MP SuperSpectrum sensor in low-light situations on Twitter and a number of publications are drooling over the samples. Well, there’s no point hiding the fact that I’ve been doing the same since I got my hands on Huawei’s latest flagship and you can find some samples to prove the same:

The one thing you would’ve easily noticed in these low-light photos is that all of them are brightly lit. They don’t exactly look the same as the scene that my eyes might have percieved, thanks to the increased intake of light, but it makes the pictures look stunning. And if you think details are lost in the process and the pictures would be soft, well, take a closer peek as that isn’t the case.

I mean, the enhanced state of low-light photography does give more users a longing for similar features in their smartphone but one important question still remains – what if I want to capture my surroundings in its true form instead of having my smartphone’s AI blow up the saturation and light?

  • Huawei P30 Pro vs Google Pixel 3 XL

Apart from solo captures, it goes without saying that you have to compare the low-light performance of the Huawei P30 Pro to the smartphone camera king – Pixel 3. The Night Sight completely changed our perception towards low-light photography and P30 Pro is here to further redefine low-light captures with its new SuperSpectrum sensor.

In the samples that follow, I am going to show you how the P30 Pro’s cameras perform against the Pixel 3 XL and its impressive Night Sight technology in low-light and totally dark scenarios. Talking about the latter first, well, the photos captured using the default mode on Pixel 3 are an almost accurate representation of what our eyes see.

The Night Sight, however, gathers light and gives you a brighter picture that makes the subject pronounced but with a lot of noise and the details being soft. The color profile is decent, but take a look at the Huawei P30 Pro samples to find these shortcomings to be fixed.

The P30 Pro captures low-light photos with a ton of detail and a color profile that’s slightly cooler than the Pixel via the default ‘Auto’ mode. You don’t need to jump into Night mode to get some amazing results, which you can zoom in and view the intricacies of a subject – be it a figure or architectural marvel. You can check some of our camera samples right here:

As you can see in the pictures attached below, the Huawei P30 Pro hands-down beats the Pixel 3 in auto mode captures. On the other hand, the Night Sight pictures (in the middle) capture a lot more light and the colors look saturated but there’s much noise and details seems to be soft as compared to the P30 Pro. The P30 Pro offers a more accurate shot in low-light conditions in auto-mode – that too with better color reproduction and an ample amount of detail.

The samples attached above, which you can view in full-resolution on Google Drive right here, show off how a change in the Bayer filter makes it possible for the Huawei P30 Pro the power to see in the dark. The Chinese giant has thrown a challenge out to each and every phone maker, especially Google, and Rupesh is certainly right in saying that Night Sight has just been destroyed by the P30 Pro

  • What I Call Galaxy (not the S10)

I know the aforementioned comparison already has you captivated, but wait till you see what I’ve been calling the ‘Galaxy’ images. Huawei CEO Richard Yu, at the P30 Pro Paris launch event, showed off a photo of the starry night captured using the default mode on the smartphone at Namibia desert (picture above) and I couldn’t control my excitement.

Huawei P30 Pro In-depth Camera Review: The Best Camera Phone of 2019?

While I have tested out a myriad of smartphone cameras, I had never seen anything like this before and badly wanted to capture a similar photograph here in Delhi. Thus, began Mission Galaxy, a sample for which I shared on Twitter, but here’s one of the best clicks:

stars huawei p30 pro

I would like to apologize beforehand for the not-so-clear look at the stars as I didn’t find the time to travel to a location with significantly low light pollution and captured all these pictures right from my home’s terrace. There’s some obvious banding and the light from the structures below is seeping into the frame, but you can still see the stars shining around that cellphone tower. Most of the stars were not visible to my naked eye and made an appearance only on the P30 Pro’s viewfinder – making me smile and wanting to click more ‘Galaxy’ pictures.

I feel that the samples, which you can view in full-resolution on Google Drive right here, turned out pretty decent and show off another facet of the low-light capabilities of the device. You can check out some more “Galaxy” camera samples right here:

  • Night Mode – Do You Even Need it?

We have already got a taste of P30 Pro’s camera prowess in low-light, as well as totally dark scenarios. The smartphone is able to let in more light and capture great photos at night from the default “Auto” mode. The results are comparable to or sometimes better than the ‘Night Sight’ on Pixel 3. I mean, you don’t even need to switch modes on your device to capture such pictures and it takes merely a couple of seconds.

So, the question which now arises is – do you even need the Night Mode on Huawei P30 Pro? It’s a mode that’s included in the camera app (also available on P20 Pro) and takes long-exposure shots, about 7-8 seconds, during which you need to hold the smartphone really stable, to capture brightly-lit and detailed photos in low-light.

From my experience, the auto mode on the Huawei P30 Pro provides exceptionally good low-light pictures with a lot of detail, while the Night Mode bumps up the saturation and takes away some of the details in the process. The pictures captured in Night Mode are quite sharp as well and the final result tends to slightly better and shareable with peers.

So, yeah, you do need the night mode to intake more light and take even brighter shots when you’re not satisfied with the Auto mode.

Huawei P30 Pro: Selfies & Portraits

We have talked enough about the quad-rear camera module and there’s a 32MP selfie camera aboard the P30 Pro as well. I’m not really a selfie person but the pictures you get from this smartphone are pretty good, considering the high megapixel count, but the details are still slightly soft when you compare it to the Pixel 3 – as we’ve done below.

I’ll say that the color reproduction and skin tones are quite appropriate as well, with the blur around the subject in the background feeling natural and not too overpowering. The portraits captured from the rear camera are even better, with enhanced edge detection & more detail, meaning the TOF camera on board is doing its job well.

Huawei P30 Pro: Video Recording

Huawei has included a myriad of camera features in the P30 Pro and you’ve already seen how each of them perform in real-life, however, video recordings appears to be one such segment where the company has me a little unsatisfied. This over Rs 70,000 smartphone offers you recording support up to 4K (UHD) but solely at 30fps. You have to bump down the resolution to 1080p to get 60fps support, which is a huge shortcoming in my book.

Speaking of the video quality, well, Huawei has baked dual-OIS into its camera hardware and it certainly shows in the samples attached above. The color reproduction is relatively good (a little on the saturated side but still good) but the stabilization is what takes the cake here for me. The videos are super smooth and stable for a hand-held video recording from a moving vehicle.

One of the highlights of the P30 Pro obviously is its low-light prowess and it trickles into your video department as well. The low-light videos are pretty decent, especially for yet another hand-held moving vehicle recording, but the quality isn’t particularly good. The samples attached below has life-like color reproduction but the details are really soft for any and all subjects in the frame.

  • Extra Features

In addition to the traditional video shooting modes, Huawei also introduced some extra video modes with its Kirin 980-powered Mate 20 Pro flagship last year and well, they’re being carried forward with the P30 Pro. I’m really impressed with the edge detection, as well as real-time bokeh, that’s been applied during the ‘AI Background Blur’ mode video sample here:

There are times when the blur isn’t perfect and you can see some jagged edges or outer glow on my kurta, but I still think it’s great for casual users or YouTubers. I also like the fact that Huawei hasn’t given you the option to tweak the blur as you may toy around a little much with it to make the background blur look unnatural.

Another great video shooting mode available on the P30 Pro is AI Color, where the device intelligently singles out a colorful object in the frame and paints everything else in monochrome shades. In the video attached below, you can see that Sharun is colorful & the Beebom office in the background is painted in black and white.

Huawei P30 Pro: Super Macro

If you’re not too impressed with the zoom capabilities of the Huawei P30 Pro and feel like the 50x digital zoom is just a gimmick, lend me an ear and check out another one of my favorite features – Super Macro. This features comfortably sits under the ‘More’ section in the camera app at the very bottom, but it’s also a highlight of this camera setup if you’re into clicking close-ups. You can check out our samples right here:

The Super Macro mode on the P30 Pro also goes a step further from other smartphone cameras and includes up to 3x digital zoom, making it possible for you to get closer to objects. Though the 3x zoom pictures don’t have as much detail as the standard Super Macro pictures, the detail in the 3x picture is still really appreciable. See those hair on the feet of the spider or the cracks in the Ducati logo. It instantly makes a user go ‘wow’ and jaw drops to the ground when you see pictures like these.

Huawei P30 Pro Camera Review: What More Can You Ask For?

That wraps up our detailed camera review of the Huawei P30 Pro and I believe, you must have learned everything you need to know about the quad-camera module on this device. Huawei has yet again managed to push the boundary of mobile photography and the P30 Pro is the epitome of the best smartphone camera available in the market. Period.

Huawei P30 Pro’s camera capabilities, especially the zooming, AI+ToF-enhanced portraits, and dual-OIS-stabilized videos are something you wouldn’t find on any other smartphone right now. It does have its minor shortcomings here and there, but the overall quality has me stumped and begs me to use the camera more often.

What are your opinions on the Huawei P30 Pro’s quad-camera module? Do you think it is outright better than the Pixel 3 or not? You can check out all the full-res samples via this link right here and let us know your thoughts in the comments below. You can also share any camera-related queries you have down under and we’ll get back to you on the same.

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