Huawei Mate 50 Pro: this shockingly good camera beats the iPhone 14 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra at their own game

Huawei Mate 50 Pro Camera Comparison
The Huawei Mate 50 Pro is as sweet as that proverbial forbidden fruit gets: banned from using Google services and available only in a few countries for an exorbitant price, it still manages to innovate above and beyond Apple and Samsung.

Or at least so do people claim.

We are here to check about that in a direct comparison of this ambitious new camera phone by sanctioned company Huawei facing the popular Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. It's hard to find better camera phones on the market right now, and you might think that the iPhone and the Galaxy will have their way with this new Huawei, but you might be in for a surprise.

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Camera Specs:

Before looking at the actual photos, here is a quick peek at the camera specs on the Huawei Mate 50 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra:

The Mate 50 Pro has four camera units on the back arranged neatly in a square, but one of them is actually a 3D ToF (time of flight) sensor for measuring depth and used in portraits for once.

The big highlight of this camera is the main camera with variable aperture. Samsung toyed with the idea a few years ago on the Galaxy S9 which could shoot at either f/1.5 or f/2.4, but the Huawei has ten steps that go in increments from f/1.4 to f/4.0. While the main camera is listed as 24mm, there is actually quite the difference in the actual perspective compared to the wider 23mm lens on say the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

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The ultra-wide camera lives up to its ultra name with a very wide field of view.

But the real shocker is the periscope zoom camera. At merely 3.5X zoom, this periscope zoom camera might seem weak compared to the dual 3X + 10X zoom setup on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, but wait until you see the photos.

Finally, the 13MP front camera is the widest we have seen on a flagship phone in recent years. This is great for not just wider selfies but also video calls. In case you don't want the extra-wide perspective, you can easily use one of the toggles to switch to a more close-up view.

Outdoor Daylight Test

In broad daylight, the Mate 50 Pro captured pleasing photos that hit a good middle ground between the extremely saturated Galaxy and often overexposed and sharpened iPhone

How do you get a better picture than both the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Galaxy S22 Ultra? Well, simple, you just have to match their strengths and do better at their weaknesses.

And that is exactly what the Mate 50 Pro does. The Mate was a very consistent performer, so we never worried one photo might look great and the next one bad. It outputs photos with pleasing colors which by default are just a bit more saturated and punchy than in reality, but it doesn't go overboard with saturation like the Galaxy does (however, you do have a "vivid" color option in the menu, if that's your cup of tea).

It also beats the Galaxy at its weakest point: detail. The Galaxy often outputs softer photos that lack in clarity, and as you can see in the crops below, the Huawei captures a lot more detail.

And compared to the iPhone, well, it has slightly punchier colors, but also way cleaner detail, while you can spot some noise on the iPhone shots.

Low Light Test

We did not expect the Huawei to beat the Galaxy and iPhone SO easily

Shooting in dim conditions or at night is without a doubt the most challenging situation for a smaller sensor like the ones used on smartphones, so we had some expectations heading into this.

But lo and behold, the photos that we got from the Huawei Mate 50 Pro camera blew us away! We did not expect THIS!

And what we mean by "this" is just a level of clarity and lack of noise that we usually associate with dedicated cameras, not smartphones. The Huawei was able to achieve this type of quality without forcing us to wait for a long exposure, it just snapped a photo in an instant and the results are fantastic.

Just look at the lanterns on the first photo: you can even see the lamp inside the first lantern on the picture from the Huawei! The photos from the Galaxy and iPhone look like they were taken on a phone few generations behind, with that extremely overexposed image on the iPhone and the muddy shot out of the Galaxy.

In the next scene, we were shocked at the complete lack of noise in the night sky and just look at the detail in the trees in the bottom on the Huawei! In contrast, the iPhone applies artificial oversharpening and has nowhere near the amount of detail, while the Galaxy completely messes the photo.

It's important to mention that we shot all phones using just the automatic setting, press the shutter button and move on. And all of those night photos on the Huawei were captured using the widest f/1.4 aperture. This extra wide aperture captures more light, then you combine this with the RYYB sensor that Huawei uses, which is also optimized for light captures, and you add some top-notch processing on top, and you get these results.

We are extremely impressed with the Huawei Mate 50 Pro at night, this looks like the new benchmark for night time photos.

Zoom Comparison

Can the Huawei's 3.5X zoom beat the Galaxy S22 Ultra's 10X zoom at its own game?

*All photos taken at 10X mode.

When we first read that the Mate 50 Pro features a 3.5X periscope zoom camera, we were ready to dismiss it at the long range zoom game. After all, what can a 3.5X lens do against the powerful 10X zoom on the S22 Ultra?

Well, it turns out this 3.5X zoom lens on the Huawei is COMPLETELY different from the 3X zoom lens on the iPhone, and actually can match and even beat the 10X zoom on the Galaxy!

The amount of detail on the Huawei is staggering considering this is merely a 3.5X lens shooting at 10X zoom level. Just compare it to the 3X lens on the iPhone and the amount of noise you get there. The Galaxy also lets in more noise, so the Huawei beats in that regard, but the Galaxy seems to still preserve a bit more detail if you look at the disco ball. However, the images are surprisingly close.


So at the end of the day, the Huawei Mate 50 Pro came out of the blue for us and surprised us with its image quality.

It strikes a nice balance between the iPhone and the Galaxy, but it really takes a giant leap forward with night time quality. And we haven't even touched upon the portrait mode on the Mate 50 Pro (spoiler: it's also incredibly good!).

Huawei deserves a lot of credit for what it has done with this camera. Despite heavy sanctions from the US, it continues to innovate and make premium phones. Would we recommend buying the Mate 50 Pro just because of that? Not really, living without essential apps is an unnecessary struggle, but this phone is a good reminder of how having more competition is what pushes this industry forward and we hope the Mate 50 Pro will serve as one such push.

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