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Huawei P40 Pro: First Camera Samples

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Huawei
A week back, Huawei unveiled the company's newest camera-focused flagship 5G devices, the P40 series.
Huawei P40 Pro
Huawei P40 Pro

Related: Huawei P40 Pro Unboxing and First Impressions

One of them is the Huawei P40 Pro, a device highlighting an Ultra Vision Leica Quad Camera system.

This setup stars a brand new and customized 50MP f/1.9 RYYB Ultra Vision Wide camera with massive 1/1.28-inch sensor size, 2.44μm pixel size, 4-in-1 fusion technology, and ‭ISO 409600.
Ultra Vision Leica Quad Camera
Ultra Vision Leica Quad Camera

This is currently the largest camera sensor found on modern flagship smartphones. Yes, it is even bigger than the 1/1.33-inch sensor size of Samsung's 108MP sensor. Since it uses an RYYB sensor, it designed to capture more light and details than the basic RGGB lens of Samsung.

DxOMark: Huawei P40 Pro leaves every top camera phones in the dust

Moreover, the main cam is paired with the first 
Full Pixel Octa PD Autofocus on a smartphone and OIS.

It also has a 40MP f/1.8 SuperSensing Cine ultra-wide secondary camera,  12MP f/3.4 RYYB 5x Optical Telephoto periscope camera with OIS, and a ToF 3D Depth Sensing fourth camera.

The P40 also uses an advanced Color Temperature Sensor with 8 color channels for up to 45 percent better color precision.

To recall, this is powered by Huawei's upgraded ISP (image signal processor) and NPU (neural processing unit) designed to swiftly process huge amounts of information and enhance clarity, dynamic range, bokeh effect, and more at pixel-level at day or night.

For videos, this phone can record up to 4K 60fps with AIS stabilization.
Dual-cam in front
Dual-cam in front

For selfies, P40 Pro uses a 32MP f/2.2 main camera with autofocus and a secondary IR Depth/Gesture Camera. 


The secondary IR Depth/Gesture Camera is designed to help take selfies with a "pro-level" bokeh effect.

The P40 also has an array of AI tricks to even enhance your photos and videos. You can learn more about it here.

That being said, here are the first few shots that we took using the Huawei P40 Pro.

Camera Samples

Daylight main cam
Daylight main cam

As expected, the Huawei P40 can take images with super crisp details. It did very well even if my subject is under the direct hit of the sun. The colors are on point as long as dynamic range and contrast.
Daylight ultra-wide
Daylight ultra-wide

The 3:2 ultra-wide 40MP secondary camera produced similarly sharp images with a wider field of view. Unlike other ultra-wide cams, it isn't overly wide. It could be a good thing for those who want wide shots with less distortion.

Colors are also similar, but the depth effect on the primary camera is superior.
5x optical zoom
5x optical zoom

Here, I used the 5x Optical Telephoto camera and I'm very impressed. Details are really crisp, noise is almost non-existent, colors are still on point, and it isn't overexposed. The background blur is incredible for a smartphone as well.
Close-up, main cam
Close-up, main cam

I tried the primary camera on the Jollibee Funko again. This time, I moved closer. I changed the angle as well to take a slightly against the light image.

It resulted in an image with a slightly dimmer exposure. But, this is still considered a very good image with plenty of details and fantastic depth.
Well-lit, normal vs 100 percent crop
Well-lit, normal vs 100 percent crop

Here, I took a photo of our sleeping puppy. The image is a little bit overexposed, but fortunately, it retailed the details. Just check the 100 percent crop on the left side.
Ultra-wide to 50x zoom 1
Ultra-wide to 50x zoom 1
Ultra-wide to 50x zoom 2
Ultra-wide to 50x zoom 2

As expected, the P40 Pro's 50x maximum zoom is incredible. It can really zoom and the zoom quality is slightly better than P30 Pro zoom last year. Guess what? The colors are still consistent.

But of course, it won't still be super good. Noise will be present and texture rendering is far from great. The main purpose of this zoom is to allow users to see what they can't see with the naked eye.

For me, this camera did a fine job in that regard.
Indoor shot
Indoor shot

As expected, the P40 Pro can take images with a high level of detail in most lighting conditions. The colors tend to be a bit duller, but the shot that we took inside the house with artificial light is still well-exposed and considered as very good overall.
Low light main cam
Low light main cam
Low light ultra-wide
Low light ultra-wide

Next is we tried it in low light. Both the main cam and the wide cam performed well even in the dark. The exposure is just brighter on the primary camera due to its larger sensor size. The wide cam has to be the nicest in its class yet. Colors and shadows are still okay and it is far from being a noisy image.

Also, for me, it shoots nicer point-and-shoot low light images than most the Night mode of most high-end phones.
Low light main cam vs 100 percent crop 1
Low light main cam vs 100 percent crop 1
Low light ultra-wide cam vs 100 percent crop
Low light ultra-wide cam vs 100 percent crop

As mentioned earlier, they take images with crisp details even in low light. The color accuracy is just off for the main cam this time. The ultra-wide cam did a better job.
Low light main cam vs 100 percent crop 2
Low light main cam vs 100 percent crop 2

But most of the time, the main cam will do a good job. It's amazing to know that a mobile camera sensor can take images like these even without the use of the Night mode.
Auto vs tap to focus (80 percent crop)
Auto vs tap to focus (80 percent crop)

Usually, it is hard to tap to focus on bright street lights in the dark. But the P40 Pro nailed this scenario with ease. Even when cropped to around 80 percent, the details are still quite sharp. I'm impressed.
Low light main cam w/o Night mode
Low light main cam w/o Night mode
Low light main cam w/ Night Mode
Low light main cam w/ Night Mode

Interestingly, the low light shot without Night mode is even brighter than the shot with Night mode. It won't automatically mean that it is better though. Details are sharper, colors are truer, and highlights/exposure are more controlled on the shot taken with Night mode.
Low light ultra-wide w/o Night mode
Low light ultra-wide w/o Night mode
Low light ultra-wide w/ Night mode
Low light ultra-wide w/ Night mode

For ultra-wide shots, the default cam takes images with a 3:2 aspect ratio. When you use the Night mode, it'll be back to 4:3 ratio. Anyway, the Night mode enhanced its brightness, details, and dynamic range.
Mid-range smartphone vs Mate 30 Pro vs P40 Pro in near a pitch-black situation
Mid-range smartphone vs Mate 30 Pro vs P40 Pro in near a pitch-black situation

The low light performance of this device is incredible. Even without a flash and Night mode, it can see well in a near pitch-black situation. The Mate 30 Pro did well here with warmer colors, but the details are even sharper on the P40 Pro. Colors are more accurate as well.
Daylight selfie with Beauty and Portrait effects
Daylight selfie with Beauty and Portrait effects

This phone delivered the nicest selfie cam on a Huawei smartphone yet. It takes selfies with crisp details in different lighting conditions and it has one the best selfie bokeh effect yet for me. The shots that I took are quite wide and the default face beauty is not too much.
Detailed selfie without the Beauty effect
Detailed selfie without the Beauty effect

If you turn off the Face beauty mode, you'll see selfies with an incredible level of detail. It respects your skin tone too and it won't make your display too white.
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie

Even if you are in a situation with artificial lighting, you will still get really good selfies.
Low light selfie
Low light selfie 

In low light, the selfies that you will get will be softer. But, it is still sharper with better colors than most selfie cams out in the market in the dark. It also has a Night mode for selfies and you can turn on the screen flash as well.

For videos, I'm also impressed as it can take up to 4K 60fps at the back and the selfie cam. You may check the samples in our unboxing video here.


Quick thoughts

Huawei must be really proud of the camera capabilities of this handset.

At PHP 50,990, the camera experience is amazing so far as it has super-fast and accurate focus speed, crisp details in most lighting conditions, sharp details in bokeh shots with natural-looking blur, powerul zoom performance, accurate low light shots. It also takes really nice selfies and videos.

In low light, there are times where colors won't be that consistent. But, this is just nitpicking on my part. Huawei is the king of low light in the mobile photography world.

From memory, it is a major leap coming from most flagship camera phones I've tested yet including the Mate 30 Pro.

I can't wait to compare it with other more expensive flagships phones.
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