Huawei P20 Pro. Photo camera review. Part I

A review from a photographer point of view
Huawei P20 Pro Photographer Review Cover

Huawei P20 Pro. Photo camera review. Part I

There are many points that distinguish the Huawei P20 Pro from the competition. First of all, we can say that Huawei has really aimed to create a device for demanding photographers, without looking for compromises.
On the one hand, the important collaboration with a historical and qualitative brand of photography like Leica continues.

The Chinese brand has managed to condense the best of current technology into a beautiful and slim device.
We find on the back three lenses associated with three sensors: the main sensor is a Sony 40 MegaPixel sensor, the secondary sensor is 20 MegaPixels and is completely monochromatic, the third lens is a telephoto lens with a focal length of 80mm and optical stabilizer.

At the beginning of my test, I was very skeptical of Huawei’s choice to use a sensor with so much resolution. Yes, we usually know that as the number of pixels increases, the photosensitive element reduces in area and usually, this brings problems of greater noise in low light situations.

However, Huawei has adopted a particularly large sensor compared to the competition. With a size on the diagonal of 1 / 1.8″ we find ourselves with a sensor that is much larger in area than any other smartphone sensor. (at the time of writing this post, September 2018).
Just to remember: this sensor size was until recent time used by the premium quality compact camera.

It’s interesting to note how the two additional modules, the monochromatic sensor, and the telephoto lens are intelligently combined according to the shooting modes. 

In this first review part, I’m going to cover the Auto Photo Mode. The photos you see in this article has been shot using this mode.

Auto Photo Mode on the Huawei P20 Pro

Settable Resolutions40MP in 4: 3 / 10MP format 4: 3 / 7MP format in square format / 7MP in panoramic format 18: 9
Extra SettingsAI Master, 4D Predictive Focus
Raw format in this modeNo

For these photos shot with the Huawei P20 Pro, I’ve used the Auto Photo mode trying to leave all the default parameters set. I wanted to see how the camera behaves above all with the “AI Master” mode active.

I have alternated the setting of the maximum resolution from 40MP to 10MP. 

Important: If you want to use the 3x and 5x zoom, you need to set the 10MP resolution.

The AI Master mode in practice is able to understand the scene in which we find ourselves and then it automatically edit the photo. In this way the processor is going to increase for example the saturation of the sky and the greens when we are in front of a landscape or to moderate the saturation of the skin in the case of a portrait.

I found the results of the AI Master not perfect all the time: in some situations, I got some over saturated photos from the landscape and some aggressive tone mapping.

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