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Huawei takes mobile photography to new heights

Huawei continues its winning streak with mobile photography by reengineering the smartphone camera on the P30 Pro, launched in South Africa earlier this month after its global debut in Paris at the end of March. According to the company, the smartphone is aimed at ‘artsy icons and style leaders’.

The 6.4-inch top-of-the-range P30 Pro features a first of its kind 5x optical zoom on smartphone that features four rear Leica cameras including a 40MP wide angle, 20MP ultra-wide angle, and 8MP telephoto lens, along with a new Time of Flight (ToF) sensor.

The ToF camera is new to smartphones – previously seen on the now-discontinued Xbox Kinect camera – and measures distance rather than light, allowing for more artistic shots and multi-layer bokeh effects.

The new ‘superzoom’ lens is capable of 50x digital zoom, 10x hybrid and 5x optical, which allow for zooming into buildings from a distance while the camera stabilises to focus on text that is not visible to the naked eye before the effect is applied. It also works in video mode up to 15x zoom, without jittery results.

The P30 Pro is also capable of shooting images in low-light that are ridiculously good, on its default settings, when compared to that of an iPhone or Samsung. We were blown away by night shots on the P20 Pro last year, but its next-generation handset takes things up a notch.

The selfie-camera has been bumped up to 32MP, which works in super low light with HDR, capable of fixing the backlight so the resulting image is not overexposed.

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer division said the P30 series is a fundamental breakthrough after decades of digital camera technology development. “It will rewrite the rules and reshape everyone’s perception of mobile photography.”

The P30 Pro is powered by a Kirin 980 octa-core processor with a dual neural-network processing unit, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and runs on Android 9 Pie.

The 6.47-inch handset features a curved OLED display with a minimal dewdrop notch, a 4200mAh battery, and no headphone jack. Just like the Mate 20 Pro, it also features an in-screen fingerprint reader. The supplied 40W supercharge plug is capable of taking the phone up to 75 percent battery life in 30 minutes, with quick wireless charge support. It’s available in black, aurora and a new ‘breathing crystal’ colour.

The premium P30 Pro was unveiled alongside the standard P30, which is physically different to the former. It is characterised by a flat display, i.e. non-curved edges, a smaller 6.1-inch screen, triple rear-cameras, and a 3650mAh battery. It is powered by the same processor but has 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and no wireless charging functionality. However, it does include a headphone jack and in-screen fingerprint sensor. Available colours are black and aurora.

Huawei also has an entry-level variant, the P30 Lite, and if previous sales figures are anything to go by, they’ve been extremely popular in South Africa. According to Huawei, sales of the P20 Lite were up 150 percent during the initial sales period last April, when compared to the P10 Lite.

The cheapest of the trio in the P30 range has a 6.15-inch flat LCD display, triple rear cameras (24MP wide angle; 8MP ultra-wide; 2MP depth sensor), a 32MP selfie-camera, fast charging, headphone jack, and a fingerprint sensor at the back. It is powered by a Kirin 710 octa-core chipset, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage with a 3340mAh battery.

The premium P30 Pro will cost R18 999 and the standard P30 will retail at R13 999, while the entry-level P30 Lite comes in at R5 999.

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Nafisa Akabor
Nafisa Akabor

Nafisa Akabor is a freelance technology journalist.

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