Like the P20 Pro, the Huawei Mate20 Pro has a triple camera system. However, instead of a Leica Vario-Summilux-H1.6-2.4/27-80 ASPH, the Mate20 Pro has a Leica Vario-Summilux-H1.8-2.4/16-80 ASPH. And, according to Dr. Florian Weiler, Project Manager of Leica’s Optical Design the new camera beats the existing one for image quality.
That’s a bold claim because the Huawei P20 Pro has led the way for image quality since it was announced earlier this year. Even Apple’s recently announced iPhones have failed to match it.
What’s the Difference?
The Mate20 Pro’s matrix camera is created by combining a 40Mp f/1.8 wide-angle camera, a 20Mp f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle (16mm) camera and an 8Mp f/2.2 telephoto (80mm) camera. That means there’s an effective focal length range of 16-80mm.
With digital zoom technology, this can be taken to 16-270mm.
The P20 Pro’s camera, however, combines 40Mp f/1.8 wide-angle camera, an 8Mp f/2.4 telephoto camera and a 20Mp f/1.6 monochrome camera. This gives a focal length range of 27-80mm, producing a much narrower field of view at the shortest focal length.
Another key difference is that the Mate20 Pro’s 20Mp camera has a colour (RGB) sensor. This replaces the P20 Pro’s 20Mp monochrome camera. The ultra-wide angle camera has to be colour otherwise the periphery of wide-angle shots would have no colour information.
The monochrome camera in the P20 Pro is used to give images extra definition. However, according to Dr Weiler, colour (RGB) sensors have now improved to the point that they can provide the level of detail definition that required to enable the Mate20 Pro to beat the P20 Pro for image quality.
However, it’s not just the sensor that’s responsible for this improvement. Leica and Huawei have put lots of work in on the image processing.
According to Dr Weiler, the companies’ engineers have developed improved algorithms and made huge strides in the high dynamic range (HDR) processing. This technology works in the background so users are unaware that it’s in-play when they take a shot, but it helps to deliver better quality images. It means more detail is preserved while noise is kept under good control.
And on top of that improved image quality, there’s a wider zoom range, making the camera more versatile.
Speaking at the Huawei Mate20-series launch, neither Dr Weiler nor Clement Wong, Huawei’s Vice President of Global Product Marketing, were willing to disclose their plans for future products. However, Dr Weiler was unable to hide his excitement at the progress that has been made for the Mate20 Pro’s camera.
The restricted space available within a phone is a major challenge to camera designers and creating a suitable ultra-wide camera is a big step forward.
Dr Weiler said that he’s looking forward to developing the camera system further.