A look at Huawei’s P30 series cameras, compared to the P20 series

Huawei has just unveiled their P30 series, showcasing an amazing zoom on their P30 Pro.

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Huawei has just unveiled their P30 series in Paris, with their P30 Pro having what is easily the best camera on a smartphone to date. This time, the company has introduced a quad-camera set-up, using a new type of “periscope” lens to achieve a higher quality zoom, as well as a ToF sensor.

We’ve been able to test this camera and can’t deny we are very impressed with it. The most amazing feature, or, should we say, insane, is the x50 zoom, capable of taking some impressively good quality pictures from afar, as we’ve seen in our previous article. We’ll be showing some more x50 zoom pictures here, but first, we’ll quickly go over the P20 Pro, P30 and P30 Pro cameras.

Starting with the P20 Pro, this was the first triple-camera on a smartphone on the market, composed of a 40MP main lens, 20MP secondary lens and a dedicated 8MP telephoto lens, allowing the device to zoom up to x3 without loss of quality, and up to x5 in a hybrid zoom. It is worth mentioning the same set-up was used on the Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design, released at the same time as the P20 Pro.

The P30 uses a similar set-up, composed of a 40MP wide angle lens, a 16MP ultra-wide angle lens and a 8MP telephoto lens. This results in a x3 real zoom and x5 hybrid zoom, just as the P20 Pro, but with the ability to zoom up to 30 times, while the P20 Pro can only zoom up to 10 times.

Finally, the star of the show, the P30 Pro, introduces a quad-camera set-up, composed of a 40MP wide angle lens, a 20MP ultra-wide angle lens, a 8MP telephoto lens (periscope) and a ToF camera, giving a real zoom of up to 5 times, and up to 50 times with the maximum zoom.

We’ve taken a series of pictures around the city centre of Brussels with the P30 and P30 Pro, as well as the Mate RS Porsche Design, which sports the same camera as the P20 Pro, with the improvements in the new cameras clearly visible. In some cases, we do not have a picture to compare to, either because the feature is not available on the device, or because we did not think about taking a picture. In those cases, we’ll put a blank image. The P30 and P30 Pro were lent to us by the Huawei Experience Store, with those units not meant for sale. The Mate RS Porsche Design is ours, bought. For the settings, we used the default settings, MasterAI enabled and the watermark feature on to differentiate each device. The photos were all taken in automatic mode (no Pro mode), handheld. The EMUI version on each device is as following:

  • Mate RS:
  • P30:
  • P30 Pro:

Let’s start with some pictures taken right outside the Huawei Experience Store, for which we do not have a direct comparison with the Mate RS:

Next, we have a series of pictures taken with all three devices:

Mate RS Porsche Design


P30 Pro

Looking at the pictures side-by-side, we learn quite a lot. For instance, the colours on the pictures taken by the Mate RS look much better than on the P30 series. We would say the pictures reproducing reality the best are the ones taken by the P30 series, with the Mate RS adding a little something. Huawei and Leica claim their pictures reproduce a “Leica effect”, so this effect might have been toned down on the newer cameras.

Looking at the zoom, the x10 zoom on the original P20 series produces quite decent pictures, but the improvements brought to the P30 series produce much clearer and sharper pictures, with higher quality. In other words, the P20 series still seems to be able to hold-up to the newest generation, although lacking the ability to zoom past 10 times. Finally, there was no doubt the new periscope camera on the P30 Pro would give it an advantage over the P30 when zooming further than a certain point, but the results remain surprising. While the x30 zoom on the P30 produces some acceptable pictures, in scenarios with lots of details, these are lost. Meanwhile, the P30 Pro manages to produce a picture with quite a lot of details, albeit rather soft.

As mentioned in our previous article, the x50 zoom on the P30 Pro is truly impressive, yet difficult to use without proper stabilization, as any small movement of the hand will completely ruin a shot.

To finish this article, we would like to thank the Huawei Experience Store in Brussels, who lent us their P30 and P30 Pro for a day. This article is not sponsored, nor made in collaboration with Huawei.

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