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Huawei's P30 Pro raises the bar for low-light photography



I know what it is, but let me assure you this is April April 'gag: Huawei's P30 Pro has the best low-light camera, better than Google's Pixel Night Sight, and it sets a new benchmark for night photography. It's so good that it will make the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phone owners question their fealty. Huawei has taken the most challenging situation for any photographer and made it as easy and casual as snapping a shot in broad daylight.

It will still be a few days before I can publish my full review of the P30 Pro, but I spend This past weekend comparing its camera to Google's Pixel 3 and struggling to believe my eyes. The Pixel 3's Night Sight mode is algorithmic magic, granting that camera something to superhuman night vision. It requires up to six seconds of exposure time, during which you have to hold the phone steady to obtain a sharp image. Huawei has a similar night mode, but it's completely unnecessary with the P30 Pro: this camera shoots better low-light photos than Google Night Sight without the need for a long exposure.

Let's just dive into some examples. This first one includes the output from the default Google Pixel camera to give you an idea of ​​what the human eye sees. It is also an accurate representation of what you will be able to use on an iPhone without the help of either the flash or RAW image processing. Even to the pre-sunrise darkness in the room, my eyes couldn't discern any color. Google's Night Sight image is the best, in the name of a smartphone, before the P30 Pro could achieve in the circumstances. And the P30 Pro makes that shot look like a splotchy mess.


Click image to expand

Taking a closer look, it's apparent that the pixel also suffers from a great deal of image noise and graininess, above and beyond the ill definition of what it actually displays. Cameras would give you either a blank black canvas or completely fail to identify the colors. The Pixel shot is impressive by any other standards. The P30 Pro is simply in another league, and the quality of its photo does not explain

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Google Pixel 3 Night Sight vs. Huawei P30 Pro at default settings

This next scene corroborates my findings from the first comparison. The basic pixel photo gives a good sense of how dark the corridor was (and don't worry, I turned on the light before walking down those stairs). With Night Sight enabled, the Pixel puts up an admirable fight, but there are so many photons that work with that end result comes out looking tragically ugly. The P30 Pro shot is perfect, as it obscures some detail with noise-reducing blur – especially the fine detail of the window's ornamentation, which the Pixel does a better job with – but it's self-evidently a much better photo overall. You can discern actual steps in the Huawei image, as well as details like the cable running along the wall. The P30 also makes a more accurate white balance calculation in this instance, though in my full testing the Pixel appears to have the upper hand in that respect.


Click image to expand

I should make the point that the P30 Pro doesn't win every side-by-side contest with the Pixel's Night Sight. Going outdoors, I found little difference between their results. But that is, in itself, a huge achievement for Huawei, which is doing a single quick exposure on Google requires multiple seconds worth of steadiness to accomplish. Few other phone manufacturers are even trying to do stuff like this. Huawei's P30


The lesser light is in an image between the P30 Pro and Night Sight when there is more light to play around with.


Click image to expand. Pro advantage grows. The following example, featuring an unlit bathroom, where my eyes can detect shapes, but the P30 is unbelievable by actually focusing and producing a very respectable image. With 30 seconds of editing in Google Photos, I can make it look like it was tasks in daytime. The Pixel attempt, by comparison, is out of focus. The Pixel, like the vast majority of mobile and even pro DSLR cameras, can achieve focus with so little. The sample image below is the best of multiple tries I made to get to the pixel to focus


Click image to expand

I'm guessing that Huawei's trick for low-light focusing is to use the depth sensor it has put on the back of the P30 Pro, which is mainly for improving the phone's portrait mode and helping with augmented reality applications, but can also provide useful data when taking regular photos. Many cameras use focus assist lamps (or just turn on the flash) when trying to focus in low light, but Huawei makes the apt point that is not available when you want to capture a delicate moment such as your baby sleeping at

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Google Pixel 3 Night Sight versus Huawei P30 Pro at default settings

It's hard to find the words to articulate just what Huawei has accomplished with its nighttime photography coming out of the basic, default camera. This company has made its own long-exposure night fashion superfluous. Ironically for the product's name, I do not need to use the pro mode of the P30 Pro's camera, because the default is so damn good.

Am I saying that the P30 Pro has the best smartphone camera overall? Not yet, wait for the full review. The P30 Pro has a lot going for it, including a very impressive 10x zoom capability, and you can keep track of more of my samples and testing in this Twitter thread .

Photography by Vlad Savov / The Verge


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