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It's impossible to capture the essence of a camera in a single number, so that's why we went out to take a bunch of photos with the Huawei P30
Pro and we compare these photos to some of the best smartphone cameras around: the Galaxy S10
Plus and the Google Pixel 3
And since most smartphones perform fairly well during the day, we focused on the one area where smartphones still struggle: night photos.
For this test, we used Huawei's Night mode, which captures several photos and bundles them together for a superior night-time photo. This whole process takes around a few long seconds and is not as fast as the Night Sight mode on the Google Pixel
, and we definitely felt a bit impatient waiting for the processing to finish, but let's see if the results were worth it. For the Galaxy S10 Plus, we had all settings set to auto.
The view from Montmartre
In this first shot, we headed to Montmartre, the artistic district where Picasso and the likes lived and gathered. The place offered us a beautiful panoramic view of night-time Paris, a view that we really hoped to get a good shot of. But it was really dark and the scene was a big challenge for a smartphone camera.
In our view, the Huawei P30 Pro did best here. It captured the brightest photo, with the most detail. The Pixel's Night Sight did well, but not quite as good, and the Galaxy was nowhere nearly as good as the other two.
A cozy cafe
The small streets of Montmartre are full of various cafes that all appear so cozy on a chilly March night. With their colorful facades, we were curious which phones would take the best photo of these lovely spots. In our opinion, the Huawei P30 Pro did a very good job, but in this case, the Pixel 3 image is a bit better with more vibrant colors and it's just the one that we would love to share the most. The Galaxy has a weird washed-out look and is not quite as good.
Some phones see better at night
The famous Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre, a temple on top of the Montmartre hill, is not only a place for God-loving folks, but also a gathering spot for youngsters and the cast iron walls are adorned with locks of newly-weds. In the dark, it was hard to see the signs, so we turned to the phones to help us capture this.
The Huawei P30 Pro and the Pixel 3 stood out with great photos, it's really hard to pick the better one here, while the Galaxy S10 Plus did not really do a good job.
They serve snails in these places!
Les escargot, that's the name of a popular snail dish in France, but while we did not get to try these out yet, we capture this photo of a restaurant that serves them.
The Huawei's night mode captured the most memorable photo here. The image is clearly way oversharpened, but also has the best exposure and we like it the most. The Pixel is not far behind, while the Galaxy again is not quite as good as the other two.
Periscope Camera at night
The P30 Pro comes with a brand new periscope telephoto camera that kicks in at 5x zoom and works in combination with the main sensor to go to 10x 'hybrid' zoom. This gives the P30 Pro an advantage over the digital zoom used on other phones where you lose a lot in terms of quality when zooming in.
So... how does the periscope camera work at night? Here are a few shots where we compare it to the digital zoom on the Galaxy S10 Plus.
*Notice that the noise in the 5X photo is due to the fact that in the presence of so little light, the P30 Pro has opted to shoot with the main camera and NOT use the periscope camera. This is something that we see often in other phones with telephoto cameras, where in low-light situations, the phone decides not to use the telephoto camera and instead prefers the main one. The reason for this is that usually the main camera of a phone has a wider aperture and has better light sensitivity. In the 10X image, however, the phone has switched to using the periscope shooter in combination with the main camera, and the image looks much cleaner.
So... does the Huawei P30 Pro rewrite the rules of photography? It's hard to tell, but we can clearly see that its "Night" mode, despite the inconvenience of having to stand for several seconds to capture an image, is worth it. It can capture an impressive amount of light and captures memorable images that you often cannot get on other phones.
The Night Sight mode on the Google Pixel also works well, but often times, the P30 Pro was able to gather more light and capture a better-looking photo.
Finally, the Galaxy is not quite that great at night.
And this rounds up our quick first look at the cameras on the P30 Pro. Stay tuned for more photos, videos and a full-on review of the Huawei P30 Pro coming soon.