Huawei Mate 50 Pro: This impressive camera beats the iPhone 14 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra at their own game

Huawei Mate 50 Pro: This impressive camera beats the iPhone 14 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra at their own game

Camera specifications:

Before we look at the actual photos, here’s a quick look at the camera specifications of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro, and Galaxy S22 Ultra:

The Mate 50 Pro has four camera modules on the back neatly arranged in a square, but one of them is actually a 3D ToF (time of flight) sensor for depth measurement and use for one-off selfies.

The highlight of this camera is the main camera with variable aperture. Samsung toyed with the idea a few years ago on the Galaxy S9 that could shoot at either an f/1.5 or f/2.4 aperture, but Huawei has ten steps that go from f/1.4 to f/4.0. Although the main camera is listed as 24mm, there is a significant difference in the actual perspective compared to the wider 23mm lens on the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

You should not forget that Huawei uses its own sensor technology: unlike most camera sensors that use RGB

The Ultra Wide Camera lives up to its Ultra name with an ultra-wide field of view.

But the real shocker is the periscope zoom camera. At just 3.5X zoom, this camera zoom might look weak compared to the 3X + 10x dual zoom setup on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, but wait till you see the pictures.

Finally, the 13MP front camera is the widest we’ve seen on a flagship phone in recent years. This is great not only for wider selfies but also for video calls. In the event that you don’t want to get an ultra-wide perspective, you can easily use one of the toggle switches to switch to a more telephoto view.

Outdoor daylight test

In daylight, the Mate 50 Pro took pleasing photos that hit a good middle ground between the over-saturated and often overexposed Galaxy and sharp iPhone

How do you get a better picture from both the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Galaxy S22 Ultra? Well, simple, you just have to match their strengths and do better in their weaknesses.

And that’s exactly what the Mate 50 Pro does. The Mate was a very consistent performer, so we never worried that one photo might look great and the next bad. It produces images with pleasing colors that by default are more saturated and punchy than in reality, but don’t over-saturated like the Galaxy does (you do, however, have a “vivid” color option in the menu, if that’s your cup of tea).

It also beats the galaxy at its weakest point: detail. The Galaxy often produces softer images that lack clarity, and as you can see in the crop below, Huawei captures a lot of detail.

Compared to the iPhone, it has slightly flatter colors, but it also has cleaner details, while you can spot some noise on iPhone shots.

Low light test

We didn’t expect Huawei to beat the Galaxy and iPhone SO so easily

Shooting in dark conditions or at night is undoubtedly the most challenging situation for a smaller sensor like the ones used in smartphones, so we had some expectations in that direction.

But the pictures we got from the Huawei Mate 50 Pro camera blew us away! We did not expect this!

And what we mean by “this” is just a level of sharpness and a lack of noise that we typically associate with dedicated cameras, not smartphones. Huawei managed to achieve this kind of quality without forcing us to wait a long time for an exposure, it snapped a photo in an instant and the results are fantastic.

Just look at the lanterns in the first photo: you can even see the bulb inside the first lantern on the photo from Huawei! The photos from the Galaxy and iPhone look like they were taken on a phone a few generations behind, with that overexposed image on the iPhone and that muddy capture from the Galaxy.

In the next scene, we were shocked by the complete absence of noise in the night sky and just looking at the details in the trees at the bottom of the Huawei phone! In contrast, the iPhone applies artificial oversharpening and has nowhere near the amount of detail, while the Galaxy completely messes up the image.

It’s important to mention that we shot all phones using the auto setting only, hit the shutter button and move on. And all those night photos were taken on Huawei using the widest f/1.4 aperture. That wide aperture captures more light, then you combine this with the RYYB sensor that Huawei is using, which is also optimized for light capture, add some top notch processing on top, and you get these results.

We are very impressed with the Huawei Mate 50 Pro at night, this looks like the new standard for night photos.

Zoom comparison

Can Huawei’s 3.5X zoom beat the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 10x zoom at its own game?

*All photos were taken at 10x mode.

When we first read that the Mate 50 Pro features a 3.5X periscope zoom camera, we were ready to dismiss it in the far-reaching zoom game. After all, what can a 3.5X lens do against the powerful 10X zoom on the S22 Ultra?

Well, it turns out that this 3.5X zoom lens on Huawei is very different from the 3X zoom lens on the iPhone, and it can actually match and even beat the 10X zoom on the Galaxy!

The amount of detail on the Huawei is amazing considering this is just a 3.5X lens that shoots at a 10x zoom level. Just compare it to the 3X lens on the iPhone and how much noise it gets. The Galaxy also lets in more noise, so Huawei is ahead in this regard, but the Galaxy still seems to retain some detail if you look at the disco ball. However, the images are surprisingly close.

conclusion

So at the end of the day, the Huawei Mate 50 Pro came out of the blue for us and surprised us with its picture quality.

It strikes a nice balance between the iPhone and the Galaxy, but really takes a huge leap forward in night quality. And we haven’t even touched on the Mate 50 Pro’s portrait mode (spoiler: it’s also incredibly good!).

Huawei deserves a lot of credit for what they’ve done with this camera. Despite severe sanctions from the US, it continues to innovate and manufacture premium phones. Do we recommend the Mate 50 Pro just because of this? Not really, living without essential apps is an unnecessary struggle, but this phone is a good reminder of how more competition is what drives the industry forward, and hopefully the Mate 50 Pro is a one-off like that.

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