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Huawei P30 Pro 50X Zoom In Action - Is It Actually Good?

The Huawei P30 Pro offers up to 50x zoom which is a huge amount of reach for a smartphone but is the quality actually any good? Plus, how does it compare with other smartphones? Let's find out.

|  Huawei P30 Pro in Camera Phones
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Huawei P30 Pro Telephoto Zoom
 

The Huawei P30 Pro has an impressive line-up of specs and one of the main features that takes centre-stage in the advertising Huawei has done, so far, for the smartphone is the 50X zoom. 


5X, 10X & 50X

Along with the 50X zoom, you also get a 5x optical zoom and a 10x hybrid zoom (thanks to the 8MP f/3.4,125mm equivalent 'periscope' lens).

Of course, a 50X zoom built into a smartphone sounds impressive but as it's a digital zoom, not optical, how good is it really? Well, the answer to that is that is might sound impressive but in reality, it's best avoided. This is because anything beyond the 10x hybrid zoom is digital so detail does fall off fast with the shot of the tree (shown below) at 50x zoom showing high levels of purple fringing and a significant loss in detail. It's also pretty hard to keep the P30 Pro steady when using the 50x zoom so if you do want to try it, pop the smartphone on a tripod. 

It's worth mentioning that the P30 Pro does come with optical image stabilisation which helps massively when it comes to ensuring images are sharp and the smartphone will also tell you to 'keep still' while it sharpens images, too, after capture. 

1/799 sec | f/2.2 | 2.4 mm | ISO 50

Zoom range on the Huawei P30 Pro

 

The lens does produce better quality images with the 5x optical zoom than the P20 Pro did, though, and the 10x hybrid zoom is also good - maintaining plenty of detail in images. Plus, if you look at the three images with the Eiffel tower in them (click on the photos to view high-res versions), you really do begin to see how much reach the Huawei P30 Pro gives you and detail is still good enough at the telephoto end for buildings to be sharp and colours accurate. 

Ultra-Wide | f/1.6 | 5.6 mm | ISO 50
Ultra-Wide 
Wide  | f/3.4 | 14.5 mm | ISO 50
Wide
Telephoto | f/3.4 | 14.5 mm | ISO 50
Telephoto

 

Overall, the P30 Pro gives you a smartphone with a good 5x zoom, a really decent 10x zoom but a 50x zoom that, most of the time, is best avoided. Still, we should applaud Huawei for their efforts in regards to increasing the reach of smartphones and introducing new technologies such as the periscope lens to flagship smartphones.

 

Huawei P30 Pro vs Huawei P20 Pro 

P20Pro P30Pro | 1/80 sec | f/5.6 | 28.0 mm | ISO 100
 

The 8MP f/3.4, 125mm equiv lens improves on the 80mm equiv lens found in the Huawei P20 Pro and, as already mentioned, produces better results with the 5x optical zoom offering better colour accuracy and sharpness. Click the images below to view high-res versions. 

To see more comparisons of the P30 Pro and P20 Pro, have a read of this: Huawei P30 Pro Vs Huawei P20 Pro - The Battle Of The Android Flagships

 

5x | f/3.4 | 14.5 mm | ISO 100
Huawei P30 Pro 5x Zoom 
5X | 1/100 sec | f/2.4 | 2.4 mm | ISO 64
Huawei P20 Pro 5x Zoom 

 

5x | f/3.4 | 14.5 mm | ISO 80
Huawei P30 Pro 5x Zoom 
5X | f/2.4 | 2.4 mm | ISO 100
Huawei P20 Pro 5x Zoom 

 

5x | f/3.4 | 14.5 mm | ISO 50
Huawei P30 Pro 5x Zoom 
5X | 1/167 sec | f/1.8 | 4.0 mm | ISO 50
Huawei P20 Pro 5x Zoom 


Zoom range on the Huawei P20 Pro
 

Huawei P30 Pro Vs Samsung Galaxy S10 

Another flagship we can compare the Huawei P30 Pro's zoom with is the Samsung Galaxy S10 with its 12MP telephoto PDAF f/1.4 lens, 0.5-2x optical zoom and digital zoom up to 10x. Optical Image Stabilisation is also built in to help keep shots steady. 

The Samsung Galaxy S10 does a decent job at capturing images but the Huawei P30 Pro has better colour reproduction, sharpness and actually, more optical reach. 

5x | f/3.4 | 14.5 mm | ISO 50
Huawei P30 Pro 5X Zoom
Telephoto | 1/223 sec | f/2.4 | 6.0 mm | ISO 50
Samsung Galaxy S10 2X Zoom

 

1x | f/1.6 | 5.6 mm | ISO 50
Huawei P30 Pro Wide (1x)
1X | 1/170 sec | f/1.8 | 4.0 mm | ISO 50
Samsung Galaxy S10 Wide (1x)



Final Thoughts

With Huawei, Samsung and the likes of Oppo offering superzooms in smartphones now, it probably means that many more will follow in their footsteps with their own periscope lenses or, indeed, some other design we're yet to see. However, to really grasp the interest of photographers, the manufacturers really do need to make the long reach of the smartphone lenses worthwhile using. As we've said, it's great that 30x, 50x etc. zooms are available but when they're digital and quality isn't great, it's kind of an anticlimax when you pick up and use the smartphone. Having said that, the quality of the images the 3X, 5X and even 10X zooms are capturing are very good and are definitely a tool photographers can use. 

We can clearly see the direction Huawei, and other manufacturers of smartphones, are going in which is definitely an exciting one for photographers and with so much progression in just a few years, it will be very interesting to see what they bring to the smartphone world next.

 

More Comparisons 

We compare the portrait modes found on leading smartphones to see which is the best, and how they compare to using a mirrorless camera. Plus, we've also tested the night shooting modes on premium smartphones from Google, Huawei, Samsung, OnePlus, and Sony. 

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