Camera Comparisons

Picture Set 1: A Flag

While waiting for a bus to Newgrange and Tara, above the hotel across the road was a flag flying high in the wind early in the morning. This was a great opportunity for the zoom so show its prowess against the green, white, and orange.

Photo Comparison - Flag
  1x 2x 5x 6x 10x
Huawei P30 Pro    
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom  
Individual images are sizable (3-5 MB) and may take time to load when clicked on

For the Reno 10x Zoom, both the 1x and 2x zoom pictures give a washed out image of the flag compared to the 6x and 10x, mostly due to the rest of the scene. Both the 6x and 10x images get good detail on the flag itself, though the pigeon and top of the flag pole are both blob-ish.

On the Huawei P30 Pro, the 1x picture has better color contrast of the flag, almost whiting out the cloud behind it, and keeps the full scene bright. Moving into 5x zoom, most of the building is blacked out however the flag definitely looks to have some depth. The 10x picture with the flag at full blown looks great for similar reasons.

In this case, I’ll give the verdict to the Huawei.

Picture Set 2: Newgrange

Newgrange is a site near Dublin and the River Boyne famous for being an ancient, 6000 year old burial ground, which was abandoned and only rediscovered a few hundred years ago. The site contains a mixture of rocks and stones from up to 100 miles away, probably transported up the River Boyne and then log rolled up on top of the hill. The whole structure is about 200,000 tons and is designed such that on one particular day of the year, the sun will rise and enter through a sun box to light the central chamber for seventeen minutes. The site is a protected world heritage venue with only limited numbers for access every day. The subject for our photo is the main entrance, focusing on the light box.

Photo Comparison - Newgrange
  1x 2x 5x 6x 10x
Huawei P30 Pro    
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom  
Individual images are sizable (3-5 MB) and may take time to load when clicked on

The wooden steps are a new addition, given that the site was abandoned and façade was recently rebuilt, however the central stone with the swirls is original to the site. The Newgrange site and surrounding area is actually the home to 2/3 of Europe’s stone age artwork.

In the Reno photo set, the 6x zoom looks sharp, with all the brickwork clearly visible and detailed, and gives a level of contrast that the standard 1x doesn’t provide. At 10x there’s a mix of sharper detail such as on the single brown stone above the sun box to the left, however the finer detail of the white stones to the left of the sun box is slightly out of focus, perhaps showing that the focal length of the hybrid zoom is not perfect if the subject has some depth.

This is in contrast to the P30 Pro, which shows a good amount of detail in this area in both 5x zoom and 10x zoom. The standard photo is quite clear to begin with, but it looks like on the 10x that there is some blurring going on in the finer detail in the wood by the software part of the zoom.

In this shot, from this distance at least, I prefer the 2x and 6x zoom presets of the Oppo, but the Huawei still has the edge on the 10x detail.

Picture Set 3: Cows Cows Cows

The Newgrange site is surrounded by a rolling landscape that gives a breathtaking view of the Irish countryside. Naturally with that we get to see some of the farming cattle that graze in a few fields. This was a good test of how much detail we can get at the maximum 10x zoom on both devices.

Photo Comparison - Cows
  1x 2x 5x 6x 10x
Huawei P30 Pro    
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom  
Individual images are sizable (3-5 MB) and may take time to load when clicked on

If we go straight in at the 10x for both smartphones, the results aren’t good. Neither of those pictures are in any way ‘instagrammable’, as shown by the blurring and lack of detail, but perhaps this also exposes some of the limitations of the stabilization at-a-distance. To be honest, going to the 5x/6x images, the Reno has this at 6x as well. The P30 Pro at 5x zoom manages the color and the detail a lot better. But the 2x preset on the Reno does give a nice scenic image, showing the trees and hills in the distance.

Picture Set 4: Slane Castle

On the road from Newgrange to Tara is Slane Castle, which also houses a distillery for Irish whiskey. These pictures were actually taken from inside a parked bus as part of the tour I was on, and in both cases was in a great position for the 10x zoom.

Photo Comparison - Slane
  1x 2x 5x 6x 10x
Huawei P30 Pro    
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom  
Individual images are sizable (3-5 MB) and may take time to load when clicked on

The Reno 10x zoom image is washed out and blurry, perhaps indicative of one of the complaints registered with the pre-production devices by a number of media at the time: the 10x zoom needs some software work to focus properly. But even at 6x, for whatever reason the Reno doesn’t seem to be able to pick up detail on the stone building, and lacks any detail in the trees behind the castle.

The P30 Pro at 10x is also washed out to a certain extent, although in such a way that might be correctable with color balancing. There is a lot more detail on the zoomed images from the P30 Pro, but it still isn’t great. It was slightly windy on the day, showcasing that a zoomed image that might use a mix of HDR+ technologies to help get a better photo isn’t great when the wind is blowing for trees.

Picture Set 5: Statue at Tara

Ireland’s ancestral capital, where over 170 kings were crowned, is in Tara, about 25 miles north of Dublin. The manmade mounds in the area showcase an engineering feat of the age, and on these mounds the druids would crown the next local king in line, with furrows dug for banquets and festivities. The legend says that on top of the mound, on a clear day, you can see most of the counties of Ireland from a single spot.

Situated just outside the mounds is a more modern church, with a state of the Patron Saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, just outside. This statue is weathered, to which at one point in its history it only had its middle finger left in its upright hand. The statue was sufficiently tall that a good zoom lens was necessary to see the detail.

Photo Comparison - Statue
  1x 2x 5x 6x 10x
Huawei P30 Pro    
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom  
Individual images are sizable (3-5 MB) and may take time to load when clicked on

In both cases, the 1x zoom wasn’t great to showcase the detail, and the 2x preset on the Reno didn’t improve that any. It was the 5x/6x and 10x zoom pictures that were ideal in this scenario.

On the Reno, the 6x image strikes me as standing out from the background – it’s very clear that the statue is in the foreground and the sky (an almost consistent blue) is the background. It makes the statue pop out a little more. The Reno is able to keep the details in the shadows on the shoulder, marking out the symbols in that area as well as on the hat. At 10x the hat and beard become a little blurry, similar to what we saw on the Slane Castle images.

For the P30 Pro, the 5x preset doesn’t feel like it has enough zoom at this distance. Without cropping the photo, the statue feels a little too far away. Perhaps as a result of this, the shadows on the P30 Pro are darker than that of the Reno, and it’s hard to see some of the detail unless we apply some post processing to the photo. At 10x I feel that the image is a little blurry again, particularly on the hat, but also the beard, and the dark shadowy areas again end up losing detail by just being too dark.

For this one, I’ll hand it to the Reno.

Picture Set 6: A Bike at Trinity College Dublin

Moving into Central Dublin, I spent some time in Trinity College Dublin. Despite being a place of education, there is tourism abound, and there are plenty of things to do both inside the college and outside and around, particularly if you like to drink. As I was taking a break on some steps, I noticed that one of the students had parked a bike some distance away, and there was a sign on the bike advertising it for sale. One of the use cases for these zoom lenses is the ability to read at a distance, so I took the opportunity to test how well these smartphones do in this regard.

Photo Comparison - Bike
  1x 2x 5x 6x 10x
Huawei P30 Pro    
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom  
Individual images are sizable (3-5 MB) and may take time to load when clicked on

The main photos to compare here are the 10x zoom ones. This comparison is a tale of two different visuals. The P30 Pro gets more detail on the bike itself, making it clear and providing detail to the surroundings. However the sign on the bike is not clear, and barely readable without zooming further and focusing on the text.

By contrast, the Reno 10x Zoom makes the text easily readable. It states ‘For Sale, 70’s Raleigh Scorpio’, with a phone number and email address (which I removed). However, the detail on the bike is not great. The wheels and frame are blurry, the white handlebars are blown out a bit, and the grass behind is like a green smear, lacking any sense of clarity.

In this case then, the Huawei succeeds in image quality, however the Reno was better for text black-on-white text quality.

Picture Set 7: Clock Inside St. Stephen’s Shopping Centre

One of the locations near Trinity College Dublin is St. Stephen’s Shopping Centre. While the shopping options are fairly bland and miserable, the location is unique in the fact that it feels like a giant greenhouse. From the top floor, viewing the whole of the architecture of the location is breathtaking (if you like complex architecture). It’s a shame then that it feels little more than a second rate outlet mall, and could be something better. Nonetheless, the target of my photography was the big clock inside.

Photo Comparison - Clock
  1x 2x 5x 6x 10x
Huawei P30 Pro    
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom  
Individual images are sizable (3-5 MB) and may take time to load when clicked on

At 1x, the automatic exposure setting of the Huawei makes the scene a lot darker than it needs to be, which follows on from a few of the comparisons made in this piece so far. Nonetheless, both cameras show some good detail here, and the 2x preset mode on the Reno provides a nice framing of the clock with some of the surrounding light fittings.

At 5x/6x zoom, the Reno unfortunately zooms in a bit too far here. The 5x of the Huawei is perfectly framed for the distance, while we end up clipping the top and the bottom on the Reno. That being said, both of the photos have their plus points – I feel like the Huawei manages to differentiate the detail in the ceiling without being too blurry, while the Reno seems to have a better contrast balance on the clockface itself.

At 10x zoom, this is ultimately too close to make a worthwhile shot. However the Huawei image does look more in focus as we’ve seen in previous comparisons.

Testing 10x Hybrid Zoom Closing Thoughts
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  • NICOXIS - Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - link

    Is it true that Samsung bought the company that provides there periscope zoom modules? Reply
  • NICOXIS - Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - link

    *these Reply
  • halcyon - Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - link

    Yes, Samsung bought Corephotonics (of Israel) for $155M in January:

    https://en.globes.co.il/en/article-samsung-buys-is...
    Reply
  • BedfordTim - Thursday, May 23, 2019 - link

    They bought CorePhotonics who do the Oppo zoom module. The supplier of Huawei's is different and possibly Sunny Optical. Both appear to be switchable telephoto modules with software providing a zoom effect hence the presets at the actual focal lengths. Reply
  • siberian3 - Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - link

    In other News Huawei was ban from accessing the next Android version from
    Google because the ban that the US Gov just impose.Goodbye to the chinese mobile giant you will remembered
    Reply
  • hecksagon - Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - link

    They are not blocked from the next android version, just blocked from previewing the code before it gets published to the Android Open Source Project. Once its published they are free to access it.

    Their home market (China) does not have much of a Google presence. The play store is already inaccessible, with many third party app stores taking its place. Likewise, the other Google services have their Chinese equivalents. ARM did just pull their license so they can't develop new SOCs in house, but that doesn't stop them from sourcing from Samsung or Mediatek. Other hardware components also have Chinese sources available. BOE specifically is expected to overtake LG Display this year as the second largest mobile OLED manufacturer.

    They have the entire Chinese government backing them and have a large domestic market. They will survive as a company longer than the current US administration will be in power.
    Reply
  • s.yu - Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - link

    Unfortunately I have to agree with you. Huawei is a despicable company deceiving people in China and out, they've never cared to be actually decent and are brazenly unapologetic when they get exposed for their lies, yet they're hailed as heroes in China. But this trade war is not enough to rid the world of this deceptive and shameless entity. Reply
  • Darcey R. Epperly - Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - link

    Your comment matches also to the US foreign politics. Reply
  • heffeque - Saturday, May 25, 2019 - link

    Totally.
    NSA has been spying the whole world for decades, in part thanks to backdoors on american companies, yet it's bad when other countries do it? I'm confused by people who accept one and disregard the other.
    Reply
  • techgadgetgeek - Sunday, May 26, 2019 - link

    Totally agree with you. Double standards and hypocrisy that not too many people see. Reply

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