Every new smartphone comes with some kind of built-in camera, and these days, most of them are pretty decent. But if you’re looking for one of the best smartphone cameras going around right now, Huawei’s P40 series is objectively one to keep an eye on.
The series includes two different variants in Australia: the base model P40 and the P40 Pro, both of which have powerful photography and videography features, along with long-lasting battery life and AI integration. The P40 Pro camera system currently holds the highest-ever DXOMARK score for a smartphone.
“At 128 points, the HUAWEI P40 Pro achieves an impressive new top score in the DXOMARK camera ranking, leaving even the best competitors in the dust,” the DXOMARK site reads. “Its Photo score of 140 is also an impressive new record, based on an impeccable performance across all sub-categories.”
The P40 series also won the TIPA award for Best Photo Smartphone for 2020.
This is what to know about the P40 smartphone camera systems.
Huawei utilises Leica lenses in its smartphones and has been doing so since 2014. Founded in Germany in 1869, Leica is a world-renowned name in cameras and lenses. It provides four components to the partnership: sensors, lenses, image signal processors (ISP), and tuning.
The exclusive partnership means Huawei is the only smartphone brand you’ll find with Leica lenses, which is a huge differentiating factor in a crowded market. Because the aim is to emulate actual Leica cameras, you end up with a truly unique smartphone photography experience.
3 or 4-camera systems
Each model has a different system, with the base model P40 packing 3 cameras and the P40 Pro with 4.
The base model P40 has a 50-megapixel Ultra Vision Camera capable of taking in a huge amount of light and detail for clarity. It’s composed of a 1/1.28 inch Ultra Vision Sensor, RYYB colour filter array and Octa PD Autofocus.
It also has an 8-megapixel Telephoto Camera with 3x optical zoom, 5x hybrid zoom and 30x max zoom, and a 16-megapixel Ultra-Wide-Angle Camera.
The P40 Pro kicks things up a notch with 4 cameras: the same 50-megapixel Ultra Vision Camera, a 12-megapixel Telephoto Camera (5x optical, 10x hybrid and 50x max zoom), a 3D depth-sensing camera and a 40-megapixel Ultra-Wide Cine Camera for ultra-low-light, ultra slow-motion, telephoto and 4K time-lapse video.
“The industry-leading 1/1.28 inch sensor with 2.44 μm super large pixel size now appears in a smartphone,” the Huawei site reads. “Plus with the RYYB colour filter array, it brings massive light, high dynamic range, and low noise.”
“Supporting 4-in-1 pixel binning and Octa PD Autofocus, the 50 MP main camera redefines super clarity shooting with precise details regardless of the scene complexity and light conditions. The HUAWEI XD Fusion Engine powered by the upgraded ISP and NPU is fully competent to swiftly process the huge amount of information and enhance extraordinary clarity at pixel-level for every picture, day or night.”
Both models have a 32-megapixel front-facing camera, with the Pro featuring auto-focus and IR depth cameras.
Huge zoom functionality
All of the P40 models feature some level of zoom, with the Pro packing the bigger punch.
“The SuperZoom periscope design is known for putting several lenses into the compact body,” the Huawei site reads. “Thus you can see things clearly from right before your eyes to somewhere out of sight. The innovative RYYB sensor brings 40% more light for great clarity even in low light. And the enhanced AIS plus OIS ensure unrivalled zooming up to 50x.”
You can see a great example of this feature on the Huawei website. Just scroll down to the photography section.
The microphone also goes with the zoom, allowing you to capture what’s in the frame while cutting out unwanted background noise.
The P4o Pro’s 50x zoom is capable of even taking shots of the moon if you utilise a tripod. Huawei first introduced this feature in last year’s P30 Pro. Because Huawei is so ahead of the curve when it comes to its cameras, the P30 Pro is still an incredible choice if you’re also after access to Google Play and other well-known apps.
Artificial intelligence is commonplace in smartphones these days and the P40 series is no exception. It uses a motion-detecting algorithm that can read posture and facial motion to track multiple people in the same image at the same time, as well as learning from how you use it to select the best 1 to 3 images from moving pictures. AI is also used in the portrait mode of all models.
“HUAWEI P40 has 45% better colour precision and is capable of accurate analysis and segmentation of environments and people,” Huawei says on its website. “With pixel-level enhancement, it restores the original look with great lighting, natural colour and sharp details.”
The AI capabilities even extend to the Gallery Edit feature, which helps you remove people from the background of an image by combining several frames of a moving image into one. The same technology can also be applied to things like unwanted reflections.
If video’s more your jam, the P40 Pro has a huge suite of features for just about anything you’re looking to create, from ultra-low-light, ultra slow-motion (at up to 7680 fps), telephoto and 4K time-lapse video capture. Recording 4K video at 60 fps is capable on both the rear and front cameras.
The dual rear cameras will also allow you to see the same scene from two different perspectives at the same time, which is handy for identifying the best possible shot in a flash.
Huawei is currently selling the P40 Pro with savings of up to $200 in celebration of its EOFY sale, which you can view here.
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