Finally, we've arrived at the most important feature of the phone, as everything reviewed about this phone earlier was a build up for this. The rear triple Leica camera system on the Huawei P20 Pro is the signature feature which truly differentiates this phone from the rest. With the highest DXOMark score ever recorded on a smartphone(109), it has the world's first three camera system, having a 40 MP RGB camera together with a 20 MP monochrome camera and an 8 MP telephoto camera with an aperture of f/1.8, f/1.7 and f/1.6 respectively. It's incorporating Huawei's previous dual cameras with a dedicated RGB sensor and a monochrome sensor aiming to capture better quality photos with a telephoto sensor.
What Huawei is doing is having everything on the phone which would help in taking great photos and videos. While some might argue that the triple camera system is a gimmick and Huawei has gone for the overkill, it enables you to take great photos even with 3x optical zoom. You still have OIS with the zoom which means that the photos and videos will come out steady and clear.
The first-hand experience of the camera setup is great. Huawei has launched a new stabilization mode called the AI-assisted stabilization (AIS) which uses the phone's AI chip to stabilize shots and videos, even in low light. Huawei claims that you can take shots up till 8 seconds without a tripod and the results are impressive. The AI engine drives the camera hardware and ideally selects the best settings for each situation which means that user won't have to be confused about switching between three cameras. The AI engine has been further enhanced from the Huawei Mate 10 and now possess the ability to detect more scene types and change settings while you're using the camera, intelligently switching between modes for different objects in the view. When there's a person in the scene with a face, the camera switches to portrait mode automatically and then changes back to a different mode for objects such as food, plants and animals. This makes the use of triple camera system make sense as the AI powered chip makes the best use of the camera settings and enables users to take perfect shot without having to do anything except for pressing the shutter. There's a new 3D lighting feature in Portrait Mode through which you can change the direction and the angle of light coming towards your face and hence create lighting conditions to suit your selfie needs. The lighting effect created using this mode looks quite real and frankly, Huawei deserves a thumbs-up for this innovation.
For low lighting conditions, there's a night mode which takes a series of photos in the row and uses the AIS to put them together and create a well exposed shot. The AI crops the shots needed to minimize shakiness from the hands, creating a stable shot as the output and giving the phone the ability to perform good in low light even while on the move. The results are amazing as compared to some other phones which would struggle in low light. The HDR carries out color correction and fixes highlights ensuring shadows are maintained and not blown out. From a 4 second exposure, the camera system can get to an effective 1000,000 ISO. The stabilization also works with the video with a constant cropping and movement being applied to the recorded video.
The Huawei P20 Pro gets 98 more points at the DxOMark video recording score than any other smartphone. The phone features video recording up to 4K at 30 fps which is inferior to the Apple iPhone X's 4K at 60 fps but due to the AI stability option, the videos come out to be excellent. The autofocus is better than I've seen on any other device which Huawei has achieved by combining laser, phase detection, depth and contrast, creating a 4D Predictive Focus. This means that the camera is able to keep track of subjects and refocus constantly as needed. The camera also supports slow motion mode at 120, 240 and 960 fps. At 120 and 240 fps, you can film a normal video and later use a slider to set the area to be played in slow motion. At 960 fps, you have to be precise about what you're shooting and it only shoots a video up to 10 seconds at only 720p. Furthermore, Huawei's own Ultra Snapshot Feature is found on this phone which allows you to wake up the device and capture a photo in just 0.3 seconds. Now that's pretty impressive!
The front camera of the phone is a large 24 MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and autofocus. The camera takes beautiful selfies with lots of details and shoots videos at Full HD with the ability to autofocus in case of moving objects. Overall, the front camera compliments the rear, being one of the best I've seen so far in 2018.
One thing to keep in mind is that the software that plays a key role in making the camera system for the Huawei P20 Pro intelligent is not final and will get updates soon. With any AI software, it takes time before the software can learn user behavior and reacts to it in the best way possible. Even if the camera software might glitch or freeze sometimes, it'll only get better in the long run and more usage of the device.