Huawei P40: First pictures look amazingly sharp
Huawei releasing a new flagship smartphone has been synonymous with a jump in terms of mobile image quality for a few years now. According to our camera smartphone charts, no other flagship phone was able to match the Chinese manufacturer when it comes to the camera. While both Samsung and Apple came close, Huawei usually beat them across the past couple of smartphone generations.
When the Huawei P40 arrived at our editorial office, we immediately went out and tested the camera in various scenarios.
For this year's model, Huawei uses a triple-camera on the back that has been optimized in cooperation with Leica. The main sensor is a 50-megapixel lens with a size of 1/1.28 inches. It is complemented by a wide-angle lens with 16 megapixels and an 8-megapixel telephoto camera. This is quite a flexible ensemble, as the last four pictures in our gallery show: From a panorama shot of an entire public square all the way to many small details, it is possible to capture high-quality pictures of many different scenes from the same spot.
On our photo tour, we encountered colorful spring flowers, antique masonry, majestic rivers and modern art. The first picture featuring flowers already shows one thing: Colors look well-saturated and many details remain intact after zooming into the picture. Depth of field effects inside the image are usually calculated correctly for a clean final result. The artificial intelligence is called Master AI and quickly recognizes scenes, enabling it to choose the correct settings for most situations.
Interestingly, we discovered a way to very easy to see the transitions between the different optics when zooming in, since blocking the wide-angle or the standard optics shows us when the software switches between the optics. However, there is no effect up until 10x zoom when blocking the telephoto lens. Thus, the advertised 3x zoom appears to be a theoretical value without any practical implications. The camera only switches to the telephoto optics at 10x zoom. When zooming back out, it stays on the telephoto optics for a long time and only switches back to the standard optics at 3x zoom.
Huawei's strategy appears to be using the telephoto lens as an additional source for image data that can be used to process zoomed-in pictures, while instead relying on the higher resolution and better light yield of the main optics. Of course, we will check with the manufacturer and append the details to our in-depth review of the Huawei P40.
Our overall impression of the Huawei P40's camera pictures continues to be an excellent one: The sharpness is great, colors look vivid and the Master AI is able to find the right settings for many different situations. We are excited to find out how the camera fares in our review.