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The autofocus works flawlessly in all situations, and the Huawei engineers have once again found a very good balance between detail and noise. The P30 Pro renders fine details and textures better than most competitors across all light levels, and at the same time is capable of keeping noise levels low. This is also true for flash images, which are excellent overall, with good exposure, neutral white balance, and well-controlled light fall-off.
In terms of color, our testers found saturation to be slightly low across all light levels, and observed an unnatural cyan touch to blue skies, along with other color casts in bright light and in indoor images. Artifacts that we found in our sample images include fairly intrusive hue shifts around clipped areas and a demosaicing artifact around some light sources. Its image stabilization relies on both optical and electronic systems and is one of the best we have seen, making for smooth footage in most situations.
As with still images, Huawei has found a good compromise between texture rendition and noise reduction. Only in low light does some loss of detail and increased noise levels become more obvious. The autofocus system works reliably in almost all situations as well.
But also like in stills mode, video footage is prone to color casts, and our testers also observed some white balance instabilities. The Huawei P30 Pro performs very well in this category, consistently producing good target exposure and punchy contrast, even down to very low light levels. Even at near darkness—at a light level of 1 lux, where most competitors struggle—the P30 Pro camera is capable of capturing well-exposed images. P30 Pro images have slightly stronger contrast and a touch less detail in the shadows. We also observed some clipping in highlight areas of the frame in challenging high-contrast scenes.
So dynamic range is good overall, but not the best we have seen. The camera also deals well with backlit portrait scenes like the one below. For this kind of scene, this is a very sensible compromise. The P30 Pro scores well for Color, but our testers did identify a few areas for improvement, especially in bright light. We often found the color rendering of blue skies to be a little unnatural as well, with a noticeable cyan cast. On the plus side, white balance is neutral in both outdoor and indoor shooting conditions.
As a result, the Huawei AF focuses quickly and produces consistently sharp images in all light conditions. Thanks to zero shutter lag and buffering technologies, the camera is capable of capturing an image virtually at the same time as the shutter is pressed, for both short and long delays after defocusing. The P30 Pro image processing finds a very good balance between detail retention and noise reduction, and the Huawei is among the very best devices overall for texture and noise in all light conditions.
The situation is very similar for indoor conditions. The sample below was shot in a dimly-lit bar, and the Huawei again renders fine detail the best in our comparison. Detail in the iPhone XS Max image is not much worse, but the Apple device produces noticeably more noise. The Samsung takes the opposite approach to Apple and captures a very clean image, but detail is noticeably blurred. Looking at the cropped area, it is obvious that it smooths away some low-contrast detail via noise reduction, but considering the light conditions, the results are still pretty impressive and clearly better than those of the XS Max and the Samsung.
However, the most intrusive image artifact by far for the Huawei is a hue shift that can be found close to clipped areas in the frame. In the image below, you can see it in the shape of the yellow color around the neon sign on the storefront in the background. In many outdoor images, you can see the same phenomenon in blue skies that turn noticeably cyan before clipping to white.
You can see another unusual artifact in this night shot of the Eiffel Tower. The P30 Pro achieves an excellent score for Flash, thanks to images that show fairly good exposure, accurate white balance, good detail, and well-controlled noise levels. Some slight color shading is visible in both situations, but the results are very consistent and the Huawei performs very well overall when shooting with its LED flash.
Thanks to its innovative 5x tele-lens with folded optics and super-resolution technology, the P30 Pro achieves far and away the best zoom results we have seen on a smartphone camera to date. In the samples below, you can see that the Huawei captures much better detail than its closest competitors when zooming.
In addition, the P30 Pro controls noise very well, producing not only the most detailed but also cleanest image in our comparison.
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At 10x magnification, the camera combines the optical lens with a super-resolution algorithm. Detail is reduced compared to shorter zoom ranges, but the difference between it and the competition is still very obvious. The P30 Pro also performs very well in indoor light conditions. Unlike the Apple and the Samsung, however, the Huawei can maintain excellent levels of detail at longer zoom ranges as well. The 5x image only uses the tele-camera. On the downside, you sometimes get a slightly different color rendering with the tele-camera than with the main camera; in the samples below, for instance, you can see that the 5x image is noticeably more yellow than the other two.
With the tele-cam engaged, the AF can take between one and two seconds to lock on. You can still switch to a 5x zoom if you get closer, but the tele-cam will not engage; instead, the main camera will capture the image using digital zoom. This phenomenon is visible in the close-up portrait below that was captured indoors at a subject distance shorter than 1.
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The tele-camera did not engage, and as a result, the Mate 20 Pro and the Xiaomi Mi 9 capture slightly better levels of detail using their 3x and 2x tele-cameras, respectively, than the new Huawei in this specific situation. The image below was captured at a 4x zoom factor. The ToF sensor helps generate a more detailed depth map, resulting in very good subject isolation.
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In the comparison below, you can see that subject detail in the P30 Pro image is better than in the iPhone XS Max image shot with its 2x optical zoom. The Samsung captures its bokeh mode images without applying any zoom, resulting in a perspective that is traditionally viewed as less desirable for portraiture. At 97 points, the Huawei P30 Pro achieves a good score for Video, making the device a great all-around mobile imaging option.
The overall video score is derived from a number of sub-scores in the same way as the Photo score: Exposure 85 , Color 86 , Autofocus 98 , Texture 58 , Noise 77 , Artifacts 85 , and Stabilization The P30 Pro camera produces generally good target exposure when shooting video. As with its stills mode, the camera is capable of exposing video scenes well down to impressively low light levels. On the downside, our testers observed local tone mapping instabilities in most videos, with the brightness of some image areas changing for no obvious reason. Video color characteristics are very similar to photos as well, with slight white balance casts when recording outdoors in bright light or under typical indoor lighting.
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Our testers also observed some white balance instabilities and stepping when the system is adapting to a change in illumination. The autofocus works just as well in video mode as it does when taking photos—it is accurate and quick to react to changes in the scene. Subject tracking is also very good.
In default mode, the Huawei records footage at p resolution. A loss of detail is noticeable in low light, but the camera maintains good rendering of textures and image details when recording video in bright light and under typical indoor conditions. Some noise is visible even in bright light, but it is better controlled at medium light levels.
In low light, noise levels increase again and become quite intrusive. Artifacts are generally well under control in video mode, but our testers found some ringing in the footage. Ringing is also often visible when the camera changes the frame rate from 30 to 60fps or vice versa, especially when panning. The device uses the built-in gyro to measure motion and increases the frame rate to ensure good sharpness of the footage. Video image stabilization on the P30 Pro is one of the best we have seen, thanks to an efficient combination of optical and electronic image stabilization.
The system works very well both when shooting while holding the camera still and when recording while walking.
If you still needed a reason to spend money on a compact camera, it would have been for zoom reach, as even the best smartphone cameras could not provide usable zoom image quality beyond a 5x factor. This has now changed with the Huawei P30 Pro and its innovative zoom system that uses folded optics and a super-resolution algorithm, which finally makes usable 10x zoom on smartphones a reality.
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The zoom on its own will make the new Huawei an extremely tempting option for many mobile photographers, but the camera performs very well in almost all other areas as well. The bokeh mode is the best we have seen; image detail and noise levels are excellent across all light levels; and the camera records high-quality footage in video mode. There is still some room for improvement in terms of color and artifacts, but these are relatively minor shortcomings that most users will be able to easily live with.
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Huawei P30 Pro | WIRELESSWAVE
Huawei P30 Pro, flash auto, flash not triggered, underexposed subject. Huawei P30 Pro, flash auto, flash triggered for landscape scene. The primary camera is used for up to 2x zoom, and the tele-camera for 5x and longer.