Actually, I was about to write a “A Day in life with the Huawei P40 Pro” article. This is currently proving difficult and “A day in quarantine/home office with the Huawei P40 Pro” may not be as exciting as it sounds, so this time we’ll try a different format.
I’ve been using the Huawei P30 Pro for a long time. This is because I appreciate the possibilities offered by the camera of this smartphone and also the consistency of the quality of the images, as it had the roundest and for a while even the best overall package. In the Huawei P40 Pro, I immediately notice the new features, improvements and possibly missing features with the new “Ultra Vision Leica Quad Camera”.
Huawei P40 Pro – 50 MP Ultra Vision Sensor
One of the new features is the 50 MP Ultra Vision sensor with an aperture of f/1.9 and OIS. Some may now say: “50 MP? But Samsung and Xiaomi have 108 MP”. Yes, that’s true, but the quality of the 50 MP sensor is much better. This is partly because the more megapixels a camera has on a small sensor, the worse the low-light quality is, as each pixel captures significantly less light. The S20 and xiaomi therefore give way very quickly at Low Light and especially the Samsung is optimized for the display on a Samsung smartphone or Super AMOLED display. Accordingly, the pictures on other devices don’t look quite as good anymore. However, Huawei has a sensor here that is much better optimized in terms of different ratios and does not just look good on paper.
On the other hand, this sensor with 1/1.28 inches is comparatively huge and up-to-date, if I am not mistaken, also the largest sensor on the market. The larger the sensor, the more information it can hold, especially if the MP number is not too high. Huawei also has another advantage in the technology used here. Instead of a classic RGB sensor, ryYB is used here as with the P30 Pro, which leads to strong improvements in low-light performance. How exactly this sensor works, I have already mentioned in another article Simplified Explains.
Of course, artificial intelligence is again used in all sensors, which immediately shows what it can do in photos. Like many other manufacturers, it is not just a nice keyword, but quite strong in its functions for people who do not want to edit your pictures. Images are composed of the best elements of multiple images and also edited differently according to what they represent, provided you leave the AI activated. An example is photographing in backlight, where the window and the person are photographed separately, so that neither the window is white nor the face is too dark. The following examples show how much the AI can intervene this time. For example, the dynamic range, sharpness and clarity are often increased, and the white balance and hue are adjusted according to the scenario. However, this can be easily deactivated and has its own scope for processing.
Here are some more pictures with the main sensor with AI enabled. Some of the pictures were also taken in the low light, but you usually don’t see any of them, because the camera brightens it up as much as possible. Overall, I find some pictures very successful. Sometimes it looks like a JPEG image directly from my Sony camera but with a little more editing by the AI. Basically, I could post some of the pictures on social media without any problems. Dynamic range, details etc. are really great.
Many possibilities to record something nice outside in the dark I do not have at the moment, because here in the area hardly anything is even lightly lit. But I want to show again how strong the camera is in the low-light compared to the competition, because it can practically see in the dark. The result may not be fantastic, but it shows how impressive the technology behind it is.
First of all, a very simple picture. It’s “actually” dark, but on the left you can see the AI’s camera picking up the image, and on the right, what the image looks like in night mode. Both images are brightened, but the image in night mode has more details and the correct white balance and therefore also the right colors. As soon as possible, I will provide some more examples.
Here is the extreme example.
- Figure 1: With the light on, camera without AI.
- Figure 2: Switched off light, camera without AI,
- Figure 3: Night mode, same lighting conditions,
- Figure 4: almost complete darkness,
- Figure 5: Night mode, same lighting conditions
You will never take pictures under these conditions and accordingly the pictures don’t have to look fantastic, but so far no other camera except its predecessor comes close to this one. Not even the pixel.
Huawei P40 Pro – The Zoom
Next we have the 5x optical zoom (3x for the P40). This one comes this time with 12 MP instead of 8 MP. OIS and even if the aperture has remained at f/3.4, this one is now equipped with a RYYB sensor. Thus, this stronger than the zoom of the P30 Pro in the low light and also color much better adjusted, so that the difference between the sensors is less noticeable, as long as the AI does not interplay. The quality is of course not comparable to the main sensor, but nevertheless quite good. By the way, you can zoom up to 10 x and digitally 50 times in hybrid zoom, whereby the quality has increased significantly since the P30 Pro. In both cases, the camera zooms using the other sensors that do the combined work and, of course, using the AI, which tries to correct as much as possible. I can easily read the clock at the cathedral, 800 m away from the airline, where I only recognize with the naked eye at 300 m luftline that there is a clock. Or read the IKEA sign, which is 5 kilometres away. However, 100 x zoom is only available with the Huawei P40 Pro+, which will be released later. But even at 50x where you can see the craters on the moon, albeit a little blurry, the Huawei P40 and Huawei P40 Pro has the best zoom on the market. That’s why I’m very excited about the Pro+.
The examples show that the zoom is really good up to 10x. Only with low light it weakens a bit, so that one can already recognize noise in the picture. Nevertheless, one picture with the valuable toilet paper shows that the colors have remained more or less the same, although this is not always guaranteed. At the stairs, what the AI makes of it, because it recognizes low light. Overall, however, I am very satisfied with the zoom.
Huawei P40 Pro – 40 MP CineLens Ultra Wide
The third sensor in the waistband is the 40 MP CineLens ultra-wide angle sensor with f/1.8, which replaces the old ultra wide angle. By replacing i mean that the old sensor had only 16 MP. This means that we have a much better quality here, also because of the better aperture. What you lose here, however, is a little bit of the focal length, because here visibly less fits into the picture than before and also the macro mode is lost. Accordingly, it is no longer possible to focus on small things. In general, the picture is much more detailed. It is also interesting here that the sensor is natively set to a 3:2 ratio. Some pictures of this Will be available shortly.
Here, too, the sensor relies on RYYB technology. In addition to the wide-angle function, as the name CineLens already suggests, this sensor is responsible for video recordings. This increases the quality of the videos in general and gives the video camera a kind of night mode. A minimal light source must be available, but it can completely brighten dark spaces, so that you can see most, albeit somewhat roughly, of a loss of quality. By the way, the Huawei P40 Pro can record 4K 60 FPS and also Slow Motion in 720p with a 256 x slowdown. It’s so violent that I don’t have anything to show that’s explosive enough. However, this only works in very good light and with the quality you may not have too much expectation, but a nice demo is already. Overall, however, the video quality is noticeably better than its predecessor and the stabilization is really good. The Samsung, or especially the iPhone 11 Pro, is ahead of the pack in video.
Here I show briefly how the camera reacts in the dark, which the above candidates, for example, cannot. This is actually very impressive, even if it’s not a scenario in which you usually film. But it’s enough for the next horror movie.
The fourth sensor is the depth sensor, which is responsible for the depth information for portraits and the like, which I probably do not need to explain.
Huawei P40 Pro – Other Features:
Of course, the camera of the Huawei P40 Pro also brings special features. Among other things, it is the super fast Octa PD Autofocus. This means that the P40 Pro should have the fastest autofocus and in my opinion this may even be true, because the camera focuses almost immediately and is faster than other flagships that I currently have there. In addition, eover the entire sensor, autofocus points are distributed instead of only centrally and sometimes significantly more details at the edge. Accordingly, a cropped image from the edge looks as good as an image from the middle. All this should be advantageous in sports photography or in general in everything where fast movements are in the program.
New is the Best Moment feature. It’s practically a live photo feature, but with some little extras. To explain: In a live photo, a very short video consisting of several photos is taken next to the photo shortly before the photo. This video is not only in 4K instead of FullHD with the Huawei P40 Pro, but you can still do a lot with it in the image editing tools.
On the one hand, the AI proposes here which image it is the best according to its experience values. This is nothing new, but the AI is said to have analyzed several popular sports and their best photos, otherwise emotions and poses, and based on them it tries to provide the best picture. I honestly can’t verify that. More interesting, however, is the passer-by distance. If a picture is perfect, but there are passing passers-by in the picture, the AI combines the perfect photo with the other images, where no passers-by can be seen. It hasn’t worked for me yet, but it’s hard to recreate a suitable scenario for the current situation, unless I go to a supermarket where I’m reluctant to take portraits.
Generally very cool are the many editing options that the Huawei P40 Pro offers even to people who are not familiar with it and do not want to resort to other apps like Lightroom. You can really adjust and adjust a lot here or even let the AI decide completely on your own. With the advanced features, for example, you can straighten, unmask, brighten and remove very interesting reflections, for example with a display case, which is not 100% removed, but makes the image much better. The rest can be set completely manually if you wish.
Huawei P40 Pro – Front Camera and Portraits
The front camera is certainly interesting to mention. With the Huawei P40, it is only a 32 MP sensor with f/2.0, where the Huawei P40 Pro has two sensors, while the second supports the front camera not only for depth information, etc., but also for autofocus. Accordingly, the normal P40 has no autofocus. In general, ai has improved portrait algorithms so that AI should do more work on texture, skin colors, and even hair details. However, I think it is better that you can now record videos in 4K 60 FPS with the front camera.
I honestly don’t look that great at the moment, but here are some selfies and two portraits.
The high dynamic range is noticeable and that even in the dark the pictures may not look like in the night mode of the main camera, but unlike Samsung, you get a reasonable picture. Since I’m not a selfie professional, I’ll leave the verdict here to you. It is not on Google Pixel 4 level, but still quite good.
Huawei P40 Pro – Conclusion:
As expected, Huawei is delivering a strong overall package here, as you would expect here. Now, of course, this is a detailed first impression and not a full-fledged test report. But “everyday life” is missing here at the moment, but in the first impression I am really very satisfied with it and would also like to take the Huawei P40 Pro with me as a camera companion.