Huawei P40 Pro vs. P30 Pro camera comparison: Abandoning Google is not worth it! [UPDATE]
The Huawei P40 Pro can score points in our current review with its very good cameras. However, the Huawei P30 Pro achieved visible improvements in terms of camera performance compared to its predecessor, the P20 Pro, thanks to the new RYYB sensor - especially in the dark. This raises the question: Is the photo quality of the 2020 Huawei flagship smartphone much better than its predecessor? We take a closer look at the main cameras of both Huawei models using various photo subjects and lighting conditions; we also take a quick glance at the different wide-angle lenses.
Update: Photos with a 5x and 10x zoom have been added
Camera setups of the Huawei smartphones compared
The Leica quad-camera setup (firmware: 10.0.0.190) on the back of the P30 Pro consists of four lenses: A 20 MP ultra wide-angle lens (16 mm, f/2.2), the main camera with a resolution of 40 MP (27 mm, f/1.6, 1/1.7" sensor, RYYB filter, OIS), an 8 MP telephoto lens (125 mm, f/3.4, OIS) and a TOF camera.
The main camera of the P40 Pro (standard wide-angle, 1/1.28", 1.22 µm, f/1.9, RYYB color filter, octa-PDAF, OIS) features the brand new RYYB sensor with a resolution of 50 MP (firmware: 10.1.0.114). With a size of 1/1.28", it is larger than on the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and offers much larger pixels (1.22 µm). In addition, there is a 40 MP ultra wide-angle lens (1/1.54", f/1.8, OIS), a 12 MP camera (5x periscope zoom, f/3.4, RYYB, OIS) and a 3D depth camera.
As expected, the differences between the two main cameras of the two Huawei models are small in daylight. The smoothing effect of the Huawei P40 Pro is somewhat more pronounced and appears less over-sharpened in direct comparison to its predecessor. The achieved dynamic range in the photos is also a bit better on the 2020 flagship smartphone from Huawei, but the subjects are reproduced too warmly - we like the P30 Pro better in terms of color accuracy. But what's much more important is the lack of sharpness at the edges of the photos taken with the P40 Pro. There are probably shortcomings with the built-in lens here, which has a visibly lower sharpness in the edge areas of the picture in particular; this would explain the differences in comparison to the P30 Pro.
The lack of sharpness at the edges of the photos taken with the P40 Pro continued in the dark. Especially with wide open apertures, the optical resolution of lenses deteriorates, which would explain the increasing blurriness with night-time photos in the edges of the P40 Pro's pictures. But the focus in the center of the picture is achieved better with the P30 Pro in very dark environments (subject: Books, photo No. 2) than with the P40 Pro. In return, the current flagship smartphone from the Chinese manufacturer scores points in terms of lighting. The brightness in the pictures is visibly better, and there's also less image noise on the foreground. Progress can definitely be seen in the P40 Pro in this regard.
Wide-angle lenses compared
Larger differences can be assumed with the wide-angle cameras - based solely on the datasheet. The differences are also very pronounced in everyday life, especially in the dark. The Huawei P40 Pro is in a different league here. The RYYB sensor allows for visible improvements in low light. But also in daylight, the P30 Pro's photos have fewer details and, like with the main camera, look a bit over-sharpened.
At a 5x magnification, the P40 Pro shows a bit more sharpness and also better dynamic range than last year's model. The P30 Pro reveals slight weaknesses in color management too - the P40 Pro achieves somewhat more color-accurate images. At a 10x magnification, slight sharpness advantages are also visible in daylight with the current flagship smartphone from the Chinese manufacturer, but these are relatively small. Both Huawei smartphones are also on par in the dark, whereby the P40 Pro's photos often show very unnatural structures in the 10x-zoom range. Compared to the predecessor, the P40 Pro's pictures have considerably less image noise when using a 5x zoom, and the lighting and sharpness are often somewhat better in the dark as well. However, both zoom cameras can hardly convince in terms of quality in dark environments.
Verdict - The Huawei P30 Pro is still able to compete
If the two Huawei smartphones, the P40 Pro and P30 Pro, are judged solely on the quality of the main camera, the results of our comparison are somewhat surprising: In daylight, the differences between the two P models are small. Nevertheless, we like the pictures of the P30 Pro better since the lower sharpness at the edges of the pictures taken with the P40 Pro stands out negatively here. These discrepancies in sharpness further increase in the dark, so that overall, the previous year's P30 Pro model can definitely keep up with the current P40 flagship, even if the brightness is somewhat worse and the image noise is more pronounced.
But the Huawei P40 Pro is able to convince in terms of wide-angle photography: The P30 Pro can only keep up with the quality in daylight here. The P40 Pro's lens is much more light-sensitive and sharper in the dark.
The current smartphone model is not always necessarily better. Only those who really want to use the wide-angle camera often in the dark will achieve significant added value with the P40 Pro.