Hybrid and Digital Zoom
Note: This article was first published on 30th March 2018.
Exploring the Huawei P20 Pro's new camera features
I've written at length about Huawei's new P20 Pro smartphone (you can read my hands-on here, plus my full review) and its Leica-designed triple camera setup, but after spending some more time with the device, I want to highlight two camera features that have really impressed me: hybrid and digital zoom and handheld long exposure mode or "Night Mode".
5x Hybrid Zoom and 10x Digital Zoom
The P20 Pro has an 8-megapixel f/2.4 lens that enables up to 3x optical zoom. This by itself is already better than almost every other telephoto smartphone camera out there. However, Huawei has also been able to use AI to push that zoom length even further.
First of all, here's a shot that was taken from my Paris hotel room window at 1x zoom (i.e. normal focal length).
Here's the same scene at 3x optical zoom.
This next shot is taken using Huawei's 5x hybrid zoom. This uses a combination of data from all three lenses to enable a higher level of zoom without losing detail like you would normally get with digital zoom.
And finally, this shot is taken at the maximum 10x digital zoom. Huawei's 10x digital zoom is software-assisted to help keep the shot sharp and clean. While it's grainier than the other zoom levels, it's still surprisingly usable and you can make out the words on the billboard and shop signs quite easily.