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.
Differences mostly visible in color reproduction
Shot with the main 1X camera on all phones
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...
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!
When you crop the 5X photo, you start to see the differences much better
A cropped-in view of the 5X zoom photo, differences become very obvious
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.
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.