Huawei P20 Pro. Low light shooting test versus the Fujifilm X-Pro 2

Curious to see how the best camera phone performs compared to an APS-C camera?
Huawei P20 Pro Low Light Photo test

Huawei P20 Pro. Low light shooting test versus the Fujifilm X-Pro 2

Posted on Oct 10th, 2018

With this post, I wanted to take a test to see how the Huawei P20 Pro behaves against a good mirrorless camera on low light shooting condition. The Fujifilm X-Pro 2 is one my main camera (together with the X-T2) and is well known for excellent image quality in low light despite using an APS-C sensor and not a full frame.

For this test I tried to set the two devices to have a match in the shooting settings: with the Fujifilm X-Pro 2, I used the 16mm f / 1.4 that with the multiplication factor of 1.5x it becomes like a 24mm. In this way I’ve a focal very close to the one of the main lens of the Huawei P20 Pro that I remember is a 27mm.

Then, I set f/ 1.8 aperture on the Fuji lens to match the same lens aperture on the Huawei P20 Pro. I then performed the exposure in the Pro mode on the Huawei smartphone: in this way, I could set the exact same exposure on both the devices.
Note: It was curious to see that in some photos, setting the exposure values that was shown as correct on Huawei metering, led to a slightly underexposed photo on the Fujifilm camera.

As a general analysis, it can be seen that the Huawei P20 Pro, in situations of low light and with strong contrasts between lights and shadows, behaves very well and approaches the quality of a mirrorless camera.

Although, as usual, when you just look the photos on the smartphone screen, or you are going to share them on your social network like Facebook and Instagram, you will notice only small differences between the Huawei P20 Pro and the Fujifilm X-Pro 2. 

The question starts to change when you zooming in, and compare the images at the 1:1 detail level (as I did in Lightroom). You will notice that the Fujifilm file keep more details and sharpness.

As a final consideration, we can say that the mirrorless cameras are still in a safe territory for the general quality of photos shot on low light, but the smartphones are getting much closer.

This is true especially when the sensors are starting to get bigger in size, like on this Huawei P20 pro (and I see this will be a trend for the other producers as well), and new smarter algorithms of noise reduction with multiple frames blending are used.

Let me know what you think about this “battle”: are the smartphones going to beat or get closer to the quality of a APS-C type camera?

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1 Comment
  • Philip Brown
    Posted at 23:24h, 16 November Reply

    Thanks for putting up these photos. But… not really a fair test. Obviously in low light the bigger sensor will win.

    How about putting up a side-by-side comparison, for normal light?
    I havent found any good ones for the P20 yet.

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