Huawei says the P30 Pro smartphone will feature “revolutionary camera technology that no company has ever used before,” and promises it will have a similar impact to the introduction of its monochrome lens on the P10, which improved overall picture quality, particularly in low light. This is quite a promise from Huawei, given the amount of highly capable smartphones with innovative cameras out at the moment, but as it showed at MWC 2019 with the Mate X, the firm is currently riding the crest of a very high wave, so we’re inclined to accept its bold claim.
Speaking to selected journalists recently, Huawei called the new camera “an important DNA change for the P-Series,” and drew our attention to various teasers — especially a close-up shot of the moon. Apparently, this mysterious picture was taken with a new P-Series phone, without any additional lenses or modification, and by Huawei CEO Richard Yu himself. The company also stated the P30 Pro will have four camera lenses, revealing this prototype’s design has not made it past that stage. However, it may end up being used for the standard P30.
Rumors have already circulated regarding the addition of a zoom lens on the P30 Pro. It was reiterated what the mobile industry has always struggled with: That it’s impossible to put a traditional optical zoom in a slim smartphone. However, by using artificial intelligence, the image signal processor (ISP) and a new piece of technology, it can produce a commercially viable alternative where quality is not affected as it is with digital alternatives. Huawei has already used this approach to drastically improve lowlight photography.
The answer? A periscopic system, which extends “up and down” inside the phone, rather than in and out. We’ve seen systems similar to this already. Oppo has recently unveiled its own 10x zoom system, and has previously made a 5x zoom system too, while we spoke to DynaOptics back in 2014 about a 3x periscope-style zoom under development at the time. The new tech “will change the way we take pictures,” on our phones, said Huawei. While we now know the zoom feature will arrive on the P30 Pro, we do not know the zoom level yet. Rumors suggest it will be 10x.
Huawei will not settle for using an unmodified existing system. Huawei, “wants to continue leading in camera tech,” regardless of whether it’s in zoom or low-light photography, and added its zoom technology would be a “breakthrough,” and a market first.
New features are great, but they also need careful implementation so we can all take full advantage of them. Huawei intends to introduce a feature similar to Night mode, in that it’s a simple process to take amazing zoom pictures, without needing technical knowledge or to delve into the manual settings like a pro. This approach is the opposite of that taken by HMD Global and the Nokia 9, which revels in its complexity and deep-level editing.
The Huawei P30 series will be announced on March 26 in Paris. We’re gradually learning more about the phone, and continue to be excited about how it will improve on the already fantastic P20 Pro’s camera.