Explaining the tech behind Huawei P20 Pro's triple camera

10 April 2018
We go over what Quad Bayer is and how it helps the Pro shoot better HDR photos than any other phone.

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Now imagine if they make a full 35MP sensor with no quad-bayer filters. Is able to recore 8K, and take very detailed 35MP photos. As well as a large size (1/1.20 or 1/1.30" is very good)

Sucks they sticked to the 12MP output.
It sucks a lot, as it doesn't provide any more detail than what a 25MP DSLR sensor can get.

25MP DSLR > 48MP phone

Here in 2021, after more than three years since Huawei kickstarted the Quad Bayer camera trend with this particular smartphone, I still don't think that Huawei backed the right technology. Even the Nokia 808 PureView and the Nokia Lumia 1020 with their native RGB sensor can still produce far more realistic photo quality than this smartphone with no oversharpening effect at all.

  • lumos

so many negative comments. well in my personal camera experience with pixel 2, s9+,lg v40, htc u12+,note 9 and p20 pro(yep, no apple... hate that crappy company), i can sincerely say that i am quite impressed with p20 pro's results. all the time i prefer its images than the rest. can't say the same for the front camera tho. i don't usually record vids at 4k, so the p20 pros 1080p vids are sufficient to me. with all that, maybe all these negative talks is simply because their phone's cameras does not have the same impressive hardware capabilities.. lol. jelly much?

  • wac

Funny, how after all these years, Nokia 808's sensor is still twice the size of P20 Pro's

  • Stan

AnonD-521587, 08 May 2018anyone know who sources the sensor for the huawei p20 pro? ... moreSony has the larges sensor market share, and supplies sensors to almost an entire smartphone market, almost an entire point-and-shoot camera market, and entire advanced P&S market, as well as to Sony and Nikon ILC divisions.
And this is just for the products that are in the end targeted at consumers.
They also make image sensors for self-driving tech as well as for medical instruments.
Sony Imaging has no connection financially to Sony Mobile. The latter has some priority access to some sensors within the former, but for the most part they have to 'buy' sensors from their imaging division.

People should such stories with caution. These manufacturers organise press and launch events and woo journalist to write great stories.

I have been told by various people the Huawei takes great photos, but when I look at the same photos, I don't agree with them. All phones can take great photos during bright sunny days, but the challenge is taking photos in low light or at night and when say people are dancing.

It is also about accurate colour representation. Most phones do some processing to enhance the photos, but do they get it right? You can notice this when colours are slightly off.

I can see minor defects in the way the Huawei takes photos.

I personally think the LG takes better photos, but then LG's press department are not so good at promoting their products!




AnonD-521587, 08 May 2018anyone know who sources the sensor for the huawei p20 pro? ... moreit is from "leica" . don't you see that name in back of the phone and lot of places ????

  • AnonD-766086

Olly, 06 May 2018The PR that comes with the P20 is utter nonsense the camera... moreAwwww...

  • Anonymous

AnonD-521587, 08 May 2018anyone know who sources the sensor for the huawei p20 pro? ... moreThe semiconductor makers usually work as a separate company than the consumer product makers. They can find as much client as they can and laugh at their brothers during the holding's annual internal reports.

  • AnonD-521587

anyone know who sources the sensor for the huawei p20 pro? most people will say sony but why would sony give another company a bigger sensor and not keep it for themselfs?

it doesn't seem to be a sony sensor but would be nice to confirm.

  • Olly

The PR that comes with the P20 is utter nonsense the camera is average at best Day time photos are of a less quality than Samsung S9 Samsung s8 and Samsung s7.night mode photos are better but its day time photos that count claiming 40mp is utter nonsense the default is ten megapixel, photos are too soft too fake looking and you can not correct them .how Huawei can charge so much for something that delivers so little in terms of camera quality or lack of and is so overhyped by its marketing dept the camera on this phone is nothing even remotely close to being of DSLR quality it's not even Samsung S8 daylight quality and so over priced

  • Anonymous

Great article, very clear and concise explanation.

Re all the below comments about sharpening and noise reduction looking good on phone but nothing else. What happened to the old school film cameras where the photos are developed by 4 by 6 inches? Do reviewers judge the camera and lens by looking at the developed photo / film under a magnifier or microscope before commenting on the camera quality? Or they would develop a 12 by 18 photo before commenting?

AnonD-754421, 25 Apr 2018Sadly, because of the 1.5MP photo. You said it yourself and... moreGood mention of "DSLR grade quality photos" PR campaign. I laughed so hard at it. Today smartphone photography is not about pursuing quality anymore, the time of Nokia/Lumix is forever gone. It's about finding the best software algorithm to make it appealing to the mass. And ridiculous numbers (f/1.5 vs f/1.8 for "noise-free" low light photos- wow such a big improvement!). DxOmark seems to be complete joke at this and cannot be trusted at smartphone cam preview anymore. I never considered a phone as something more than a backup for catching moments (even Nokia 808).

  • AnonD-754421

tonymancs, 12 Apr 2018Too much technology and AI and stuff and still very mediocr... moreSadly, because of the 1.5MP photo. You said it yourself and it's what most people are ever gonna see. They can't tell sharpness from sharpening and often when the little thumbnails look sharp, it's good enough for FB and Ins and people (most who never visit a tech site) are going to buy into their (Chinese made)"Leica ‘Vario-Summilux'", their (hardly usable) "40MP", their "5DIV grade ISO102400" hype, with their wallets. It's just sad how time and again deceptive marketing is so effective to the masses.

  • AnonD-754421

Anonymous, 16 Apr 2018I promise you: The difference is phenomenal once you have t... moreIt's totally not, a guy shot with the Pixel2XL and the P20Pro side by side and was not impressed, he posted his samples to the bloated DxO review's comment section and many share his sentiment. Besides that Anandtech's P20Pro samples are crappy and the night shot comparison from this very site shows that its processing has major limitations, the 40mp output is crap and it sacrifices actual detail at native resolution for perceived sharpness on small screens.

AnonD-290431, 13 Apr 2018all these camera thing are just gimmicks and no actual func... moreS8 camera is batter than iPhone X, seriously no joke.
P20 Pro are bad at video recording, like cheap phone.

Daylight shot heavily purple fringing effects on the image is a bit let down with 3 camera sensor, the more sensor should be refined but this one is a waste.

Anonymous, 16 Apr 2018I promise you: The difference is phenomenal once you have t... moreSo where's all that greatness? I can't see it in the review.
The low light pictures are overprocessed with too much sharpness and not much fine detail.
The camera and the AI seems to be great but the final result is not nearly as impressive as all the hardware and software seemed to be showing...

njsilva84, 13 Apr 2018You didn't understand a thing about the explanation of the ... moreWhy make things more complex when you can make a camera work with hardware rather software.

Nokias pureview is a mobile phone with a camera that even though its a single sensor its works extremely well.

I do understand the concept but there could be an easier way

  • steenulnits

AnonD-290431, 13 Apr 2018all these camera thing are just gimmicks and no actual func... moreIf you have been through the Nokia 808 and the Lumia 1020, you know what I am talking about.