Product Snap Verdict
Huawei and Leica have collaborated to give the Mate 10 Pro a high-quality camera system that makes use of AI technology to deliver great results in a range of conditions. In addition to the automatic shooting option that is bound to be most widely used, there are advanced controls and the ability to record raw files in addition to jpegs if you want.
For Huawei Mate 10 Pro Camera
- Dual-camera system
- Large aperture
- Leica involvement
Against Huawei Mate 10 Pro Camera
- Screen tends to oversaturate colours
- No MicroSD card port
- The supplied case is needed to give better grip
What is the Huawei Mate 10 Pro?
The Mate 10 Pro is the flagship phone in Huawei’s 2018 line-up and runs on Android Oreo. It has a 6-inch screen with a resolution of 2160×1080 pixels. Most importantly for photographers, however, it has a dual camera system developed by Leica.
Huawei Mate 10 Pro Camera Specification
The good news for photographers is that the Huawei Mate 10 Pro camera system has been co-engineered by Huawei and Leica. That means the German camera manufacturer’s know-how and image quality and processing experience have been applied to the phone.
Like the Mate 9, and as is becoming more common, the Mate 10 has two camera units, each with a Leica Summilux-H lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.6 and an effective focal length of 27mm.
This compares with dual f/2.2 27mm lenses in the Mate 9. That might not sound like much of a difference in aperture, but moving from f/2.2 to f/1.6 is actually a whole stop, so it allows double the amount of light to reach the camera’s sensors. This has a couple of benefits. Firstly, the camera will be better able to focus and secondly, image quality will be improved in low light conditions as you can use a lower sensitivity (ISO) setting, ISO 1600 instead of ISO 3200 for example.
Behind each lens lies a different sensor, one is a 12Mp device with an RGB filter array to capture colour images while the other is a 20Mp unit that records monochrome (black and white) information.
Leica has a history of using a monochrome sensor with its Monochrom cameras. The thinking is that without the RGB colour filters the camera is able to gather more light for images with a wider range of tones and, without the need to interpolate colours, there’s greater detail.
Although the Mate 10 can be used to produce black and white images, the primary reason for combining the monochrome sensor with a colour chip is to enable the phone to merge the results for images that have more detail.
Of course, having two cameras also serves another purpose, it helps with gathering subject distance and scene depth information. This, in turn, enables the Aperture mode (also known as portrait or bokeh mode) that attempts to replicate the appearance of shooting with a large aperture lens on a camera with a larger sensor.
The two cameras also enable the Mate 10’s 2x hybrid (digital) zoom.
On the back of the phone is an 8Mp f/2.0 camera for shooting selfies.
Huawei Mate 10 Pro Camera Pro Mode
Like the Mate 9, the Mate 10 Pro native camera app has a Pro mode that gives access to key controls that will be familiar to keen photographers, including metering mode, sensitivity (ISO), shutter speed, exposure compensation, focus mode and white balance.
Sensitivity can be set to a maximum of ISO 3200 while shutter speed can be varied between 30-1/4000sec and there’s an exposure compensation range of +/-4EV.
By default, images are saved as jpegs, but it’s also possible to save them as DNG format raw files simultaneously. Oddly, the Mate 10 has a microSD port while the Mate 10 Pro doesn’t. However, the Mate 10 is available with a maximum storage capacity of 64GB whereas the Mate 10 Pro has up to 128GB storage.
It’s also possible to shoot 4K (3840×2160 pixel) movies at 30 frames per second in MP4 format.
Huawei Mate 10 Pro Kirin 970 Processor
Huawei has also introduced a new processing engine for the Mate 10 series, the Kirin 970. This should allow faster, more complex algorithms to be applied. It also enables the camera to recognise 2005 objects per minute, which is helpful for ensuring that the correct camera settings and processing parameters are applied. A sunset, for instance, requires different processing from a portrait or a shot of food.
According to Huawei, the Mate 10 Pro is 5x faster at object recognition than the iPhone 7 Plus which can recognise 487 objects per minute. It’s also thought to be about twice the speed of the iPhone 8 Plus.
Focusing is achieved through laser, depth, contrast and phase detection.