Huawei P30 Pro got a big camera update to tame the yellow pixels, did it work?

Huawei P30 Pro got a big camera update to tame the yellow pixels, did it work?
For the first time in smartphone history, Huawei took a chance, and addressed the weakest point of mobile cameras - night and low-light shots - by employing unorthodox color mask in its flagship P30 series

Huawei calls it a Super Spectrum sensor, as it is using yellow pixels in place of the green ones. The sensor comes with a Quad Bayer layout still, but with Red-Yellow-Yellow-Blue matrix instead of the usual green pixels. On paper, using the subtractive RYB color-building method that painters are intimately acquainted with, instead of the traditional additive RGB coloring with a light source, allows for more light to be absorbed by the sensor from an area unit.

The SuperSpectrum sensor actually performs as advertised, and shook up the mobile camera industry by making visible scenes out of what other phones perceive as pitch black frames. That niche situation, however, like taking a picture or shooting a video of a completely dark room or alley, is not nearly as widespread as, ahem, taking snaps in broad daylight, and that's where the RYYB arrangement's disadvantages came into play.

What can be observed on both the P30 Pro and the P30 which sport the same yellow-for-green pixels swap, is that there is often a yellowish overcast and sometimes reddish artifacts on the resulting picture, due to the warm-leaning white balance, as if taken through an Instagram filter. That's an inherent downside of using yellow pixels instead of the more orthodox RGB matrix.

The RYYB arrangement indeed collects much more light compared to RGGB, yet it has its own set of unique challenges

The RYYB arrangement indeed collects much more light compared to RGGB, yet it has its own set of unique challenges


This excerpt from a Society for Imaging Science and Technology paper explains what may be behind the warm overcast, dull colors and the yellowish sky that the standard mode of the P30 Pro camera used to produce:



We say used to, because Huawei just rolled out its first big 300MB+ update for the camera, and the changelog cited precisely color and white balance corrections, along with some selfie and video recording fixes. The P30 Pro has a dedicated image processor and a fast 7nm chipset that can be employed to overcome the white balance/dynamic range tradeoffs of using yellow pixels on the sensor instead of the usual green ones. 

This is why we shot a few samples to see what changes have been made by Huawei, and the mobile photography division seems to have toned the warm overcast a bit, gave the colors a slight kick in standard shooting mode, and the images come out a bit softer now.

Before
After
Before After

The sky is no longer as yellowish, but still, if you want to get the nice blue tone emphasis that comes from the direct competition, we'd recommend you shoot with the AI mode on. The algorithm recognizes such elements, and adjusts the coloring accordingly with more pleasing results than shooting in standard mode alone. That's actually the same situation we had before, and outdoors the tonal differences can be attributed to the different cloud positions between the shots rather than some drastic changes.



The P30 Pro camera kit, however, has plenty of other virtues to latch on. The crazy Super Macro and Zoom modes are just two examples of those, as the artificial intelligence immediately employs the power of the periscope zoom to keep the object in focus from both a very short and very long distance than most regular phone cameras are capable of. As you can see below, the 5x-10x zoom range remains one unsurpassed territory of the P30 Pro.


Looking at the before/after sample shots, do you think that the first big camera update changed the P30 Pro shooters' abilities for the better? 

Related phones

P30 Pro
  • Display 6.5" 1080 x 2340 pixels
  • Camera 40 MP / 32 MP front
  • Processor HiSilicon Kirin 980, Octa-core, 2600 MHz
  • Storage 512 GB + Nano Memory (NM)
  • Battery 4200 mAh

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4 Comments

1. maherk

Posts: 6705; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Not all markets are going to get this update, and I have no idea what's the reasoning behind such a stupid decision.

2. jacky899

Posts: 397; Member since: May 16, 2017

The comparison shows the after update more yellowish than before the update. I took many comparisons with my P30 pro to Galaxies and Iphones and found the pics taken with my P30 pro actually appears colder and the Galaxy and Iphone had warmer (yellower) temps. So I think this whole yellowish tone thing is over exaggerated anyways. But I actually like the warmer yellowish tone on the Iphone more but the P30 Pro captures far more details than the iphone or Galaxies even at 10Mp vs 12mp. If it is set to 40mp, the details captured on the P30 pro 1x is comparable to the level of detail captured by the other two on 2x zoom.

3. blingblingthing

Posts: 890; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

How many camera updates have we seen for the OnePlus 7P, S10, P30 etc? Where is the fabled Apple with it's plethora of updates? No camera update in iOS13, no night sight yet. Yet when iOS 14 comes, you'll hear how 80% of devices have the latest OS but no mention of the fact Android flagships came loaded out of the box even if the OS distro is old.

4. Gadgetex

Posts: 192; Member since: Nov 10, 2013

I have not received my update yet. Bought mine in HK and region setting was for UK on Huawei Gallery app

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