Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Huawei P30 (a quick look at the camera results)

I was in at my local Optus shop the other day (located in Rose City in Warwick, Queensland, they are one of the few privately owned stores and actually really care), to ask a question about my phone plan and one of the staff there mentioned she'd just bought the Huawei P30 because she thought it had a great camera. So naturally I was interested to see.

Not having my camera with me I had to wait till today when I went back in, and of course I took my A7 in to make a comparison.

The Huawei has an equivalent lens to a 28mm and the best match I have for that on my A7 is the Samyang 35mm f2.8, which is a bit less wide than the P30's lens. This therefore gives the A7 image a slight advantage as its covering less area. But equally the P30 shoots more pixels so there's that.

The specs:

  • Sony A7 - 6000 x 4000 pixels - 3:2 aspect
  • Huawei - 7296 x 5472 pixels - 4:3 aspect


Lets have a look:



and so (unsurprisingly) the P30 is wider and taller. To just bring that into a bit more visual equality, lets just crop the P30 image top and bottom off to make it the same 3:2 aspect ratio that the A7 is (which to be fair isn't entirely required as many people actually like 4:3 better (and indeed I have a few 43rds cameras myself)) for similarity sake.

P30 @ 3:2

of course still wider ;-)

Both cameras have made slightly different exposure decisions and both (set to Auto Colourbalance) have picked pretty similar renditions of the colour (in a tough artifical light situation really). Top points to the Huawei already for just this.

Both extraordinarily good on screen, indeed far better than the screens will allow without some pinch and zoom ... which is essentially looking at details, so...

Details Observations

So, with barely a warm up lets just dive in and pixel peep the images. I thought I'd start at the corners

Top Left Corner

You'll need to click that image to load the 100% view, but you can see that the extra pixels compensates for the extra width of the P30 image, with 100% pixels being almost a perfect match.

The exposure decisions of the P30 help that ceiling down light look "white", but you can see the classic JPG artifacts of colour noise reduction in that "smeared oil painting" look in the grey of the ceiling. If you can't see it, make sure you open the image because blogger resizes things to fit on smaller screens. Here is just the P30 image at 100%

Now, when making the image smaller (as its almost always going to be when you print or show on the web (Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat ... heck even blog) you just won't notice this. However if you want to use "digital zoom" to make that into a more "normal" portrait you'll start to see this smearing become more prominent just as you are now.

either way, the edge quality is outstanding with excellent (expecially for a phone) edge correction and no significant barrel distortion or other aberrations.

Great points again for the Huawei (and remember how poorly my Oppo R11s performed in comparison to the A7 with this exact same lens).

Lets look now at the center.

Ok, here we can start to see that there is some clearer advantage to the A7 image in the text and the strange JPG artifacting in the chrome poles ... but hey, this is a Full Frame mirrorless camera certainly the equal of any DSLR out there while the P30 is a phone.

Amazing that it got this close, lets look at another portion:

So the exposure decision made by the A7 has prevented the blow outs of highlight on the Accessories wall while keeping colours of the items for sale fairly consistent. If you click and load the image you'll also see that the Opening Hours are clearer, which will become (as I mentioned) more obvious if you were to use a little "digital zoom" to make that more of a "normal" shot than a wide shot (as portrait mode does).


For a phone camera this performance is not only excellent, but for wide angle shots that are typical of travel and general snapshots its fantastic. It gets within a hairs width of a top quality Interchangeable Lens Camera like the A7 which surely deserves recognition.

For me however it won't be replacing my proper camera, because on my A7 I can mount different lenses and take better portraits and more versatile specialist shots of things which you just can't get with software:

or even

without any weird software (pretending to do Bokeh) effects. And I seriously doubt that the P30 would do this well on long exposure low light shots like this:

or telephoto

But that notwithstanding the P30 camera makes a compelling choice if you're seeking a new phone and photography means anything to you.

Well done Huawei

PS: as a disclaimer I got paid nothing for this, do not own a Huawei phone (as should be clear from recent posts) and I have nothing to do with Optus apart from being a happy customer and liking the way I've been dealt with (so if you live in the area, and are thinking about changing to Optus, go in and ask...). Lastly, thanks to the lovely lady how took her shots with the P30 and shared them with me (via bluetooth). Personally I'm motivated by the "Invisible Hand" , as you'll see in other posts of mine.

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