My Time With the Huawei P30 Pro

When you see this phone on the streets, the back really shines through IF you use a transparent phone case.

I think by now those who are already interested to get the latest Huawei phone would have their phones yesterday. So congratulations to Huawei Mobile selling off their stock of Huawei P30 Pro at Vivo by lunchtime. The masterstroke? The free gift is a smartwatch retailing at S$328 online.

Then again, no free gift can save a bad product no matter how you see it so the P30 Pro does hold it on its own. That much I can say.

But how about those who are still on the fence?

Is the P30 Pro good?

My take comes from two perspectives, both of which I am depending on what I am doing. Yes….laughing out loud now. I am a person that has to wear different hats for different situations. Sometimes it blurs whenever I have to write something as ‘complicated’ as a smartphone with a camera.

So let’s start.

The Wide…
…And The Far.

As a Techie

I can say for certain when Samsung did not have a credible competitor during the S4-S7 period, the smartphone launches from other brands are at best interesting. I look at press releases then, other than improvement in the chip being used and RAM/Storage being upgraded, not much have changed. The aesthetics get an upgrade but that disappears once you have the phone in a case.

When P9 comes along with a dual lens set up…the techie in me says now things are IMPROVING at least in the camera department. Except for P10 which I have no experience with, every iteration is a step up.

The same goes for P30 Pro. Have a look at the places I subject the phone to…black out environments and the images that come out from it, “Miraculous” can be the word to use. As a techie, I really have to appreciate the engineering behind the new RYB sensor and mathematics (algorithm).

Bokehliciously Delicious. I mean the picture…not Tracy Lee.
The We-fie. Good skin tones here. Of Joe Teh, Kai Hong, Dennis Ng and Tracy Lee.
Fashion shoot? Actually not bad. Hope I met the expectations of the ex-editor of Her World/Elle Singapore. Her pose really not bad leh. Hey wait a minute…the skin tone~

As a Photographer

I am definitely happy that for a phone that costs 1.4K, you have a camera with ultra wide angle lens @16mm and a 5x optical zoom (135mm). Its 270mm zoom, although is considered a digital zoom for some, is actually quite impressive. These three lenses alone are well worth the asking price.

Versatility and flexibility in the photographic tools inform on how we shoot. It give us the impetus to find more angles, to go to more places to get that magic shot. That’s where bulky, purpose-built cameras will have limitations.

Speaking about limitations, then, of course, all products will have them, including the P30 Pro.

There are shots from the phone that I can say can be a bit too contrasty (Some pros use the phrase “lost of dynamic range”), too reddish or saturated.

This photo confirms the tendency to go red. The railings should be silver, not a pinkish look. Skin and Hair looked much redder than necessary.
So I did a bit more test, this time with a color disc. The hair’s red hue has popped but the skin tone is more controlled.
Here it comes again. This inconsistency is a bit worrying but I must say, the smartphone camera is not a professional tool. Do note, the color disc has maintained the colour somewhat and it is the skin and hair that has taken on a slightly stronger red hue. Very likely it is a Image Processing issue.
Wide angle and dynamic range test. Yes not totally blown out. Contrast is a bit heavier and the shadow details are there. Look at the sun’s rays that created the God-light.

Now once I put on my photographer hat, I have found fault in that and wish that Huawei-Leica takes that into account and further improve on the Image Quality. Since this is the first time I encountered this RYB sensor and the first time Huawei-Leica openly use this method of image capture, the maths behind it is certainly subject to further tweaking (Mate 30 Pro perhaps?)

This is something that even DxOMark did not pick up. They did their colour chart test so I found it odd, or it did not happen often enough for them to realise it?

The super macro is quite literally tok gong (very good). You have to really zoom in to see how much details are there.

However, we MUST accept the fact that image quality perception IS subjective and like fine wine, some takes time to learn to appreciate and make judgments out of it. How the way photographers and layman see an image will be different as we look for certain things.

A fellow photographer put up a series of images and allow the users to pick the best photos. Most chose the more saturated, contrasty images over the more natural and colour accurate images from the P20 Pro. I guess the tweaking is informed by how people prefer their images to look.

Therefore (wow, long time since I used this word), the perception of beauty is seriously in the eyes of the beholder. If you as a normal person likes the images, I have no issues at all too. You shoot for your own enjoyment but to improve is certainly a good thing.

My further conclusion? read on at Techgoondu.com

If you do have more questions, do let me know at the social media platform you read this article on.

I will be sharing more shots from the phone, including a photography trip to Hue City Vietnam to check on their Hot Air Balloon festival. Do keep a look out for it!

In the meant time you can see the album of test shots I have of the P30 Pro. Will add more later.

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