What difference does 5x telephoto camera on Huawei P30 Pro make? We compare against iPhone XS and Galaxy S10+

What difference does 5x telephoto camera on Huawei P30 Pro make? We compare against iPhone XS and Galaxy S10+
The new Huawei P30 Pro is an impressive top-shelf smartphone that stands out with its camera capabilities. Out of the four cameras on the back of the P30 Pro, however, it is the periscope camera that is the most innovative and the one that you cannot find on any other mainstream phone.

So... what difference does it actually make? And how does it compare to the digital zoom that you can use on other phones like the Apple iPhone XS or the Samsung Galaxy S10+?

We were curious to find out, so let's take a look.

Regular Camera

Differences mostly visible in color reproduction


First, we took the same photo with the main cameras on the Huawei P30 Pro, the Apple iPhone XS and the Galaxy S10+. You can see some very clear differences in the dynamic range, the blue skies and the overall exposure of this shot. The Galaxy and the iPhone do a better job to bring out the blue color in the skies, which is almost completely lost on the Huawei P30 Pro, but all phones capture images with a good amount of detail.

What we are here for, however, is to test the periscope camera so let's zoom in...

5X zoom

This is when P30 Pro's periscope camera kicks in


When you tap on the 5X zoom option on the P30 Pro, the phone will switch to the periscope camera if you have enough light. Since we were shooting during the day, the periscope camera was used in this case. On the iPhone and the Galaxy, you get digital zoom.

And the difference in quality is quite dramatic. The image from the P30 Pro looks much sharper, cleaner, with plenty more detail.

This is part of the "rewriting the rules" of photography that Huawei is talking about and it is indeed a real improvement in quality. We were also impressed with the stabilization for such a long zoom, excellent job, Huawei!

Cropped in

When you crop the 5X photo, you start to see the differences much better


And here is a cropped-in view of the previous picture, showing just how much of a difference you have with the periscope camera compared to a traditional digital zoom.

Notice that some detail is lost when creating these collages, so if you view the original, full-size photos the difference is even bigger.

Final Words

The periscope camera makes a difference, but how often will you use it?

Overall, we are impressed with the periscope camera on the Huawei P30 Pro, especially during the day. At night, we have noticed that when light gets too low, the phone might use digital zoom, just like a regular phone, but if you get some light, it will prefer the periscope camera.

We have also noticed that at 10X zoom, the quality is still better than digital zoom, but the difference is not as huge as when you look at 5X zoomed photos. Anything further than 10X results in very blurry photos, but it's still cool having the option.

There is one more question here: how often will you use a 5X zoom in everyday life? With a good enough camera like the P30 Pro, you will use it more, but it's still not something that you will be using as much as the main camera on your phone. Nonetheless, we are impressed with the P30 Pro and it definitely beats the Galaxy and the iPhone in terms of image quality when zooming in.

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10 Comments

1. mahima

Posts: 739; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

Great camera from Huawei...time to improve those software. Even samsung move on from crappy software to one ui

2. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

iphone still gets the best day light cam. I seldom use iPhones 2x cam zoom. What is great is that it takes a naturalistic color than any smartphone.

5. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1438; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Are you blind? Best daylight camera my ass. The colors are completely unrealistic, way too yellow.

8. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Look at the sky on the main pic. iPhone got it the best while the other two suffered.

9. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1438; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

It got it best because it's the most blue? Judging from the cloudiness in the sky I'd say the Galaxy S10 is probably closer.

3. Sergpop

Posts: 9; Member since: Feb 21, 2019

Why bother, if you can't use Chinese phone on Verizon, main purpose of the phone not camera, but good reception, clear voice when you talk, decent audio, and if you searching for that perfect picture just buy Nikon camera.

4. LawnBoy

Posts: 198; Member since: Feb 23, 2019

Apple gets pummeled again

6. Bondurant

Posts: 784; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

The review is not thorough. Huawei camera app has 3 different Leica color modes as well as the AI mode. Therefore any review of the color science should indicate what color mode the picture was taken on.

7. oldskool50 unregistered

Victor, when you do these kinda shots when you tell us which phone it is, I would like to suggest that you tell us based on when you took them, which phone looked more like what you see with your actual eyes. Because when we look at these, all we know is which one is sharper or has more/less contract and which is brighter or darker. We have no idea which one could have been closer to what you saw with your natural eyes. Also, let me ask; do you specifically ever go on YT and look at other reviewers? I ask because I would like you to look at this:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvD8Al5rN-g&t=196s Compare your photos to these, from the exact same 2 phones, the S10 and the P30. In his review, the pictures are all significantly brighter, less distorted, have less grain and near zero noise. His pictures are considerably brighter, even with all the clouds. How is it, your pics are always grainy or dark. if you aren't changing anything in the camera settings, then how is it your photos are so much different vs what we see elsewhere? Please practice using the camera before you compare shot. Your shots look terrible vs what I see others doing. Very disappointing for a tech blog. Quality is better than quantity.

10. Sloiz

Posts: 25; Member since: Jul 21, 2017

If optical zoom kicks in only at 5x zoom, then for me it's almost unusable.

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