Huawei P50 Pro review: between premium experience and regrettable compromises

The P50 Pro inaugurates a circular photo block comprising no less than four modules. This is associated with an image processing engine called True Chroma, which is designed to restore all the shades of color, or almost, that the sensor / lens association loses when shooting. The latter is notably applied to the main module of the device equipped with a 40 megapixel sensor, wide-angle optics equivalent to 23 mm (f / 1.8) and an optical stabilization system. A second camera, 40 Mpx this time (26 mm, f / 1.6) and monochrome, is not official, but is used in conjunction with the main sensor. It aims to provide it with more information when capturing in low light, or to better achieve portraits.

To this duo is added a 64 Mpx sensor with its periscope equivalent to 90 mm (f / 3.5), allowing to obtain a 3.5x optical zoom effect, and a 13 Mpx sensor with an ultra large – angle (equivalent to 13mm, f/2.2). The Leica stamp is still present and it is to the German that Huawei claims to owe its optics. Leica filters are also on the menu for the more creative. Let us add that a laser autofocus accompanies them, as well as a double led flash.

Main module: 50 Mpx, f/1.8, eq. 23 millimeters

Like the vast majority of its competitors, the P50 Pro uses the pixel grouping to provide 12.5 MP shots. The latter offer a high level of detail, both in terms of textures and contrast, even if it is slightly less than with a Pixel 6 Pro, for example. The smartphone, however, puts a little less on sharpness than the Find X3 Pro has a sensor of the same definition, and opts for a slightly less vivid colorimetry, probably more natural too. We appreciate the level of detail still visible on the periphery of the image.

Oppo Find X3 Pro 12.5MP, ISO 302, 1/198 sec)
Huawei P50 Pro (12.5 MP, ISO 64, 1/100 sec)

At night, the colors remain natural, but a certain smoothing is visible, especially on the cover of the book. Nevertheless, details, such as the lion’s mane or the blue lines of the map, are noticeable, while digital noise is almost invisible. This is much less the case with the Find X3 Pro, which also has a more orange and less natural colorimetry.

Oppo Find X3 Pro (12.5MP, ISO 3801, 1/17 sec)
Huawei P50 Pro (12.5MP, ISO 2000, 1/12 sec)

50MP mode

You have to go through the “high resolution” mode to capture shots in full definition, that is to say 50 Mpx. This did not reveal any particular interest during our tests, an area of ​​the same size extracted from our scene not allowing us to obtain more details. It’s almost the opposite…

Huawei P50 Pro (50 MP)
Huawei P50 Pro (12.5MP)

Huawei P50 Pro (50 MP
Huawei P50 Pro (12.5MP)

Ultra wide-angle module: 13 Mpx, eq. 13mm, f/2.2

We’ve opted for the comparison below with Samsung’s slightly less defined Galaxy S21 Ultra. The difference is slight when it comes to sharpness, with both slightly lacking in sharpness. We especially notice a noise contained on the Huawei model. It makes it possible to master — at least in part — the preliminary exercise of managing reflections on playing cards: their patterns are not entirely legible, but appear more than on many shots taken in our laboratory. The elements of the scene are also rather contrasted, which promotes their readability.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (12 Mpx, eq. 13 mm, f/2.2, ISO 80, 1/100 s)
Huawei P50 Pro (13 MP, eq. 13 mm, f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/120 s)

At night, this module struggles much more. If it displays contained digital noise, its colorimetry notably drifts towards yellow. A trend we didn’t see on our test scene, but showed up outdoors. It is all the more regrettable that the difference in hues manifests itself when you go from wide-angle to ultra-wide-angle. For the rest, the level of detail is limited, the fault of a significant smoothing.

Samsung Galaxy 21 Ultra (12 Mpx, eq. 13 mm, f/2.2, ISO 2500, 1/20 s)
Huawei P50 Pro (13 MP, eq. 13 mm, f/2.2, ISO 1600, 1/15 s)

3.5x periscopic module: 64 Mpx (results in 16 Mpx), eq. 90mm, f/3.5

Each brand offers variable magnification effects, some like Oppo betting on 52mm equivalent optics (Find X3 Pro, 13MP sensor), and others like Samsung with its Galaxy S21 Ultra favoring 3x zoom (72mm equivalent , 10 MP sensor). It is therefore difficult to compare totally different definitions and focal lengths. As an indication, here are its results compared to the Find X3 Pro.

Oppo Find X3 Pro (13MP, ISO 230, 1/50s)
Huawei P50 Pro (16MP, ISO 200, 1/60s)

Oppo Find X3 Pro (13 MP, ISO 3633, 1/17 sec)
Huawei P50 Pro (16 MP, ISO 3200, 1/17 sec)

Huawei’s model has the merit of offering useful optical stabilization to avoid camera shake. He opts for a very gentle treatment of the contours, unlike his sidekick who prefers to put on a sharpness that may seem artificial. The colors are vivid, but we regret a not quite perfect white balance – a pinkish tint is visible. A bit of smoothing is added, especially on the cover of the book.

These observations are valid for daytime shots, but at night it is obvious that the level of detail drops drastically. Excluding night mode, the contrast is given pride of place, which makes it possible to obtain readable shots if not really usable. We agree, however, that the P50 Pro does better in this exercise than many smartphones offer equivalent or lower magnifications.

Front module, portrait and video mode

The P50 Pro offers a portrait mode available on the front and back. The clipping is precise and rather comfortable with messy hairstyles. Snaps are good and note that beautification effects, which result in skin smoothing, are turned off by default. For the case of selfies (captured in 13 Mpx), they are rather detailed as long as the light is there. We still regret that the ToF sensor, present on the P40 Pro, has been abandoned on its successor.

In terms of video, Huawei is content to offer 4K shooting up to 60 fps with electronic stabilization. Effects dual view are available, as well as timelapse and other creative effects. In photography, Leica filters are also available.

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