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Huawei Mate 30 is good for photography as well, here's why:

OPPO
Back in September 2019, Huawei launched the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro. Often, the Mate 30 is overshadowed by the Mate 30 Pro as it is the company's top-of-the-line Mate device with better overall specs and more powerful camera hardware.
Huawei Mate 30 is stellar for photography as well, here's why:
Leica triple-cam

But, that doesn't mean that the Mate 30 is no good. In fact, for its new PHP 30,990 price tag (originally priced PHP 34,990), the has some of the nicest specs and cameras you'll get.
Camera UI
Camera UI

To recall, it boasts a Leica 40MP f/1.8 SuperSensing Camera with PDAF and CAF. It is paired with a 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera with 2.5cm macro mode and an 8MP 3x Optical Zoom with OIS. The handset also has a dual-tone LED flash with a Color Temperature sensor.

It also has most of the Huawei modes found on high-end phones such as the Master AI, Leica filters, Aperture, Night, Portrait with up to Beauty level 10, Pro, Panorama, Monochrome, Light painting, HDR, and more.

Moreover, the Mate 30 is equipped with the Kirin 990 SoC with Dual NPU (Big-Core + Tiny-Core) for handling AI tasks and a 5th-generation ISP (image signal processor) that enables new "DSLR-level" noise reduction.

Anyway...


Here's why we think that the Mate 30 is a stellar photography phone for the price:

1. It takes flagship-grade images - Thanks to its use of high-resolution camera sensors, Huawei's AI optimizations, post-processing techniques, and speedy chip, the Mate 30 can instantaneously take crisp and highly detailed images in most lighting conditions.
Daylight 1
Daylight 1
Daylight ultra-wide 1
Daylight ultra-wide 1
Daylight 2
Daylight 2
Daylight ultra-wide 2

It also has a wide dynamic range even in situations where the sun is not shining brightly. I also like that its AI didn't overdo the exposure by pushing the brightness all the way up.

So, it resulted in images with natural-looking colors. We also noticed that the colors on the main and ultra wide-cam are quite similar.
Normal vs ultra-wide cam
Normal vs ultra-wide cam

In this next shot, you'll see the difference in detail between the main 40MP and 16MP ultra-wide cam. Obviously, the main camera will be more detailed with better depth of field effect.
Ultra-wide reflections
Ultra-wide reflections

But even if it is using a lower-resolution 16MP camera, details are still respectable. It also produces shots that are pleasing in the eyes.
Cropped image 1 (around 20 percent crop)
Cropped image 1 (around 20 percent crop)
Cropped image 2 (around 20 percent crop)
Cropped image 2 (around 20 percent crop)

Even when cropped, the noise on the main cam is still not that noticeable. That is a good thing as you won't lose many details even if you want to crop your shots for better framing.
Moving subjects
Moving subjects

Even in challenging conditions where the subject is moving, it can still take reasonably sharp images even without using the burst shot function. Thanks to its speedy focusing speed.
Dim lighting
Dim lighting

Even in dim situations without Night mode, some shots would still be crisp with good colors.

2. The ultra-wide cam has a decent macro mode - Even if it has no extra camera sensor for macro shots, the Mate 30 has a macro mode. The 16MP ultra-wide camera of this phone has up to shoot up to 2.5cm macro shots.

Macro samples 1 and 2
Macro samples 1 and 2
Macro samples 3 and 4
Macro samples 3 and 4

Moreover, it is not a gimmicky type of macro mode. It is even better and more detailed than most of the macro modes found on other smartphones with a separate macro sensor.

Even the Mate 30 Pro doesn't have a Macro mode in favor of its secondary 40MP Cine camera.

3. It has plenty of modes - The Mate 30 has up to 30x digital zoom, clean type of Portrait mode, robust Pro mode, and Huawei-exclusive Light painting modes.
Ultra-wide to 30x digital zoom
Ultra-wide to 30x digital zoom

The zoom works best up to 5x. But, it has up to 30x digital zoom that you can use to see things from afar. While it isn't as detailed as the P40 Pro zoom, at least it is there and it isn't that bad for the price.
Portrait shot with bokeh effect
Portrait shot with bokeh effect

Also, despite the lack of a ToF 3D camera, it can take Portrait shots with neat background blur and nice edge detection. It can produce shots with a nice-looking bokeh effect.
Silky water
Silky water
Light graffiti
Light graffiti

As mentioned, the Mate 30 has Huawei-exclusive Light painting modes. My personal favorites are the Silky water and Light graffiti modes. The Silky water mode is great for running water shots. On the other hand, I like the Light graffiti mode more than the Traffic trails for light trail shots or even lighting shots.

This camera also has a Star trails mode with unlimited exposure for tracking stars. 

4. The Night mode just works - Like most Huawei flagships, the Mate 30 has a stellar Night mode. 
Night mode 1
Night mode 1
Night mode 2
Night mode 2
Night mode ultra-wide 1
Night mode ultra-wide 1

It takes low light images with crisp details and wide dynamic range in the dark if you will use its handheld AI-assisted Night mode. The exposure time is a bit long at around 4 to 6 seconds, but it is worth the wait. This is not unlike other Night modes with overly cartoonish output as well.


For me, this Night mode is on par with most 2019 flagships except the Mate 30 Pro and the new 2020 P40 phones.

The ultra-wide cam also has a Night mode, but don't expect it to be as good as the main cam. It is still considered as decent, but it has visible noise with a slightly dimmer exposure.
24MP selfie cam
24MP selfie cam

5. Decent selfie camFor selfies, it sports a 24MP snapper with AI HDR, Flash, Filters, Portrait with up to Beauty level 10, and Night modes.
Selfie camera modes
Selfie camera modes

It doesn't have the 32MP cam of the Mate 30 Pro, but it can still shoot reasonably good selfies. The field of view is wide enough to fit up to 4 people with ease and its colors aren't overly white, unlike other selfie cams.
Daylight groufie
Daylight groufie
Indoor groufie 1
Indoor groufie 1
Indoor groufie 2
Indoor groufie 2
Low light Portrait mode
Low light Portrait mode
Low light with screen flash
Low light with screen flash

There is a bit of softening and missed focus at times, but when you hit the right spot, it'll deliver nice-looking selfies. It also has a respectable blur and beauty effect using the Portrait mode and a strong screen flash to help users take viewable selfies in low light.


Quick thoughts

The Huawei Mate 30 has the ability to take 2019 flagship-grade images using its primary camera in different lighting conditions and its ultra-wide cam is no slouch except in low light. This handset also has plenty of camera modes. In particular, I enjoyed using its Macro and Light painting modes.

Overall, despite being in the shadows of the Mate 30 Pro, the Huawei Mate 30 is a good photography phone in its own class.

I won't be surprised if this phone can still hold its ground even against newer similarly-priced devices.
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