Huawei P30 Mate PRO Review: The CAMERA With A Phone

Yes, the title is correct. Huawei P30 Mate PRO is a camera with a phone. I’ll state it again, Huawei P30 Mate Pro is for me a camera with a phone! Period. I don’t care if it has no Google signature on it.

I own and still have with me my Huawei P9 Mate and Huawei P20 Pro, the latter I’m still using for my photography.

A little background about myself. First and foremost, I’m a photographer for the past 15 years or so, owning 2 professional DSLR models with several lenses in my arsenal. To give justice in owning these wonderful photography gadgets, I took basic and advanced photography classes under the umbrella of the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation or simply known as FPPF. I even got an award as one of the best photographers in one category contest in our batch. Alright, enough about myself. This is a personal review on the Huawei P30 Mate Pro camera capabilities and not me.

Promise, I won’t bore you with too many technical terms. I’ll do my best to use plain English language as much as possible.

If you are looking for a more technical review on the camera, I highly suggest you browse DXOMark Huawei P30 Mate Pro camera review page. They have the capabilities to test all the technical and engineering aspects of any camera in the world. They are the authority!

If you’re a person searching for a dedicated one of a kind smartphone camera experience, the P30 Mate Pro can be your next phone.

On the other hand, as this Huawei P30 Mate Pro review on its camera capabilities will make things clearer, this smartphone is greater than just a picture-taking mobile phone.

If you get bored and need some clarifications, please do leave your comments below.

Let’s start. Shall we? Say Huawei (smile)!

Huawei P30 Mate 30 PRO : The Camera

Let me divide my sub-topics into summary, brain, body, and eyes.

Summary

Huawei P30 Mate Pro is the newest addition to Huawei’s family of smart cameras err smartphones. It is the company’s latest flagship mobile device, which is a phone that catches anyone’s attention. Not only is this phone loaded with the flagship Kirin 990 chipset, but the P30 Mate Pro also comes with loads of memory and storage, ultra-curved display, a particularly bigger and powerful battery, and an improved camera system.

Honestly, it’s that new camera system that makes P30 Pro be more popular. Whenever other photographers see me using my Huawei P30 Mate Pro instead of my DSLR (which is also hanging on my shoulder), you can always sense their curiosity and asking me why I’m using my phone instead of my camera? What I usually do is show them the output and they’re usual reaction is “how did you do that?”. I always tell them “Huawei P30 Mate Pro…it’s 4 lenses baby!”. Technically, it has 4 lenses at the back and another 3 in front for a total of 7 lenses in all!

Mate 30 Pro: Brain

Kirin 990 chipset. What is this? Why is it important? Basically this is the central headquarter of the whole Mate 30 Pro system. Not only it is the brain but it serves as the central intelligence agency of the whole system!
According to Huawei, it is the most powerful and intelligent AI mobile chipset, evah! It integrates 10 billion transistors in an area of less than 1 square centimeter no larger than a thumbnail.

What is Kirin 990 chipset got to do with the camera?

The fact is, photography has always been a focus of Kirin chipsets. This is the reason why P30 series tag line is “rewrite the rules of photography”. If you are an avid photographer, I guess you know one or two rules of photography.

The coolest thing this Kirin 990 brain can do is greatly enhancing the images through hardware-level noise reduction and color reproduction capabilities. These features allow users to enjoy clear vivid pictures and good video experiences. It also can now support more cameras than ever before!

I shot mostly sports events and I was amazed Huawei P30 Mate Pro can track moving subjects very fast and with accuracy.

On my DSLR, I usually set my shutter to not less than 1/400 second to capture an incoming runner with no blur. I usually change this depends on how fast the runner is passing on my view and I usually shoot in burst mode. But with P30 Mate Pro, I just set up everything in auto and let the camera on the phone do its own thing. And guess what? 99%-100% of the time, the shot is perfect!

I don’t know how it is being done, but it’s not only accurate when taking photos but also the AI facial recognition and detection rate is so fast on this beast.

Ultra-curved Body

There’s nothing sexier about the P30 Mate Pro but its body. The curve, oh yes the ultra-curve notch is so appealing. If you will go to a mobile phone store with a plethora of choices of phones from different brands, I can assure you 101% that you will be enticed simply by the looks of P30 Mate Pro. It has a lustful persona that will attract you right away. If you will take a look at the side angle of the P30 Mate Pro, you will notice the screen appears to stretch further into the edge of the device.  The term for this is ‘waterfall’ curved edge design that Huawei is calling a Horizon Display.


If you are out in the field shooting sports event and suddenly an unannounced rain sets in or perhaps somebody throws water on you, don’t be upset because, as you would expect from a premium flagship phone, the Mate 30 Pro is water resistance and dust resistance. My word of caution, just don’t submerge your phone in more than 2 meters depth of water for longer than 30 minutes.

Camera Lenses: The Eyes

There goes a saying ” the beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. This is very much true when it comes to the eyes or lenses of P30 Mate Pro. The way it translates the captured images is more prominence than what our eyes can see.

I told you I won’t bore you with technical stuff on how an image is being translated to a much more intensely deep processed end product, but here are the two practical reasons that I know of.


First, Huawei has reformed its entire camera system from the basic with a complete overhaul that begins with the sensor in the new quadruple-camera system. Huawei hasn’t stopped with developing the zoom capabilities of its cellphones.  Instead of opting for an off-the-shelf RGB (Red-Green-Blue) sensor, like basically present in every other smartphone manufacturer in the world, Huawei has thought of using a RYYB (Red-Yellow-Yellow-Blue) sensor starting in the P30 series.   Huawei claims this makes the sensor collect 40% light and it’s important on low-light photography.

Second, which is known to the mobile photography world, Huawei started to use Leica optics on its flagship mobile devices since the launching of the globally successful, multiple-award winning HUAWEI P9 . Huawei and Leica have an army of engineers dedicated to make the most sophisticated camera design for the mobile phone. They established their partnerships to deliver the most advanced innovations in the smartphone camera market and bring greater value to consumers

Camera Specifications

  • Main: 40MP 1/1.7in SuperSensing sensor, f/1.6, 26mm equiv, OIS
  • Cine Camera Ultra-Wide: 40MP 1/1.54in sensor, f/1.8, 18mm equiv
  • Telephoto: 8MP 3x optical (80mm equiv.), f/2.4, OIS
  • 3D Depth Sensing (or ‘ToF’ / Time of Flight)

‘TOF or Time of Flight is a term that is new to me. If you want to learn more about this, please take a look at Digital Camera definition of the term Time of Flight camera or if you want to know more about the technical stuff, you can browse more information at Wikipedia .

To make it more vivid to you, let the following photos speak for themselves

Mount Samat Cross. Night mode
Sunrise shot
Another angle of Mount Samat Cross
View midway of Mount Samat Cross
Mount Samat Cross up close
One click of a moving subject
Ruins of Mile Long Barracks in Corregidor. Ultra-wide mode.
Panoramic shot at Corregidor Island
Pier in Corregidor Island. Ultra-wide mode shot
Yummy food photography
Alien inspired elevator lighting. Taken at Soler.
Have you seen a smiling turtle? Zoom zoom zoom mode (3x zoom).
Night mode. Taken during the Christmas Lightshow in The Manor, Baguio City
Testing the portrait mode.

Huawei P30 Mate Pro photographs are sharp (can be very sharp, it depends on how you handle it), and bear more presentation of colors. It can produce vivid photos of natural views, landscape, city architectures and stunning night shots This is opposite to the ziggy and over-saturated photos that other flagship products of other companies produce.

Truly, Huawei redefines and rewrites the rules of photography. It also reshapes the perception of mobile photography by its unmatched technology and the expertise of Leica camera. This setup is a force to be reckoned with.

Want to try smartphone photography? With Huawei Mate P30 Pro, you can’t go wrong!

Reference

  1. https://www.gsmarena.com/how_the_ryyb_sensor_on_the_huawei_p30_pro_works-news-37007.php
  2. https://consumer.huawei.com/en/press/news/2016/hw-u-025574/

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