Friday, 18 May 2018

7 Days in Amazing Jiangsu with Huawei P20 Pro . Camera Review

The stars were aligned - I just got a Huawei P20 Pro and a 7 day trip to Jiangsu, China to put the phone's camera through its paces in many situations. For this review, the photographs are posted "as is" straight out of the phone. I did not post edit the JPG photographs at all (except for adding my watermark). All photos were shot hand held.

I was already a Mate 9 and Mate 10 Pro user before the P20 Pro. Since buying the Mate 9, all photos in Johor Kaki blog are shot with Huawei handphone cameras.

In my hand, the Mate 10 Pro and P20 Pro felt similar in size and weight. The P20 Pro's fingerprint unlock is at the front bottom (unlike the Mate 9 and Mate 10). As I often photograph food, holding it up in one hand and camera in the other, I like fingerprint unlock for easy one hand operation.

The P20 Pro sports four Leica lenses: a 40 megapixel resolution colour lens paired with a 20 megapixel monochrome lens which together capture more details than its predecessors (and competitors). I use 40 megapixel resolution as much as possible as it gives the best results.

This shot of Humble Administrator's Garden 拙政园 in Suzhou was shot with Photo mode i.e. auto.

The P20 Pro has RAW, full professional shooting mode, which lets us adjust the exposure, ISO, shutter speed, etc but I prefer shooting with pre-set AI modes as I like the results and ease of use. I just focus on composition and let the AI do the rest.

The P20 Pro also sports a third 8 megapixel telephoto lens.  The P20 Pro offers 3x (optical) and 5x (hybrid) zoom at 10 megapixel and 7 megapixel.

This is the Medicine Buddha Pagoda of Shengshou Temple in Taizhou, picture taken at 1x.

Medicine Buddha Pagoda at 3x zoom.

Medicine Buddha Pagoda at 5x zoom.

I like the flexibility of telephoto shooting a lot and it became my standby mode during my Jiangsu trip. However, telephoto is available only at 10 megapixel and 7 megapixel. I wish telephoto is available at at least 20 megapixel for greater details as most of my pictures were shot with telephoto mode.

Spotted this stretched limousine outside Jinshi International Hotel in Nantong city. The 18:9 aspect ratio frequently comes in handy but is only available at 7 megapixel.

View of Slender West Lake 瘦西湖 in Yangzhou at 18:9 aspect ratio and 3x optical zoom.

There are many AI modes to play with. This is Stage Performance mode shot at 3x zoom.

Stage Performance shot at 5x zoom hand held.

I shoot portraits a lot. This outdoor shot was taken with Portrait mode default Beauty level 5 (out of 10). P20 Pro's face focusing was noticeably faster than its predecessors. Fast focusing is crucial for candid shots of semi aware subjects. We can choose our focal point by tapping the screen on the spot we want but I never needed to use it as P20 Pro's AI chose it for me accurately before I needed to intervene.

Portrait mode indoors at Beauty level 5. The portraits never fail to please the subjects when I showed them their photos.

Aperture mode (F/4) indoors at Nanjing's Bao'en Temple 大報恩寺.

Shooting portraits with Aperture mode (F/4) gives a different look from Portrait mode. I actually prefer this and setting it at Beauty level 0 lets me capture more facial details.

The P20 Pro has a 24 megapixel selfie camera.

I rarely take selfies, it's not my strength... but for this review... . This was taken outdoors at the feet of the Grand Buddha at Ling Shan 灵山大佛 in Wuxi. Beauty level 0 - I don't just mean the camera mode 😝

Indoor selfie at 南京大排档 Nanjing Impressions restaurant in Nanjing.

HD video shot with P20 Pro at Qinhu National Wetland Park in Taizhou 泰州市. We were on a small, softly rocking wooden boat enjoying views of aquatic plants, waterbirds and looking for elk (deer).

As Johor Kaki is a food and travel blog, I take a lot of food pictures. This was stewed eels shot indoors at night. With the P20 Pro, I felt a great deal less pressure even when shooting food indoors. P20 Pro's low light performance is much better than its older siblings (Mate 9 and Mate 10 Pro) which I am well acquainted.

Stewed pork trotter shot indoors, daytime near an open window.

This 4 second exposure hand held shot was taken at Nanjing's Fuzimiao 夫子廟 without tripod 😱 This would be impossible with any other handphone on the market now.

I quickly found myself addicted to P20 Pro's hand held night mode (not available in its Huawei predecessors or any other handphone for that matter).

Using the hand held Night mode indoors at the amazing Great Usnisa Hall 舍利大殿 of 牛首山 Niushou Mountain near Nanjing.

Entrance arch at 常州东方盐湖城 Changzhou Oriental Salt Lake City.

After using P20 Pro's hand held night mode, I can't be happy with any other phone (until another model comes up with a comparable capability).

View from the foot of the 65 metre Grand Buddha at Ling Shan 灵山大佛 in Wuxi.

I often found myself using the hand held night mode even under the blazing sun as it does a great job bringing out details from under dark shadows.

An "untourist" shot of canal side homes in Suzhou taken with Night mode with the midday sun beating down mercilessly. I love the details it captures.

The P20 Pro packs a huge 4000 mAh battery in its 7.8mm thin body. Leaving the hotel with a full charge in the morning, I took nearly 800 shots before needing another charge. I use battery sapping AI modes a lot, especially the hand held night mode.

📷 My travel mates were awestruck with the Jiangsu photos they saw on my Huawei P20 Pro screen. Angry lor, everyone said my camera is good, no one said my photography skill is good 😂

My review of the Huawei Mate 9 👈 click

Disclosure: The P20 Pro was on loan from Huawei. No monetary or other benefits were involved in this review. ok... I did get a cup of coffee... ☕

Friendly advice: Never loan a P20 Pro. Now, I am struggling to resist ditching my 6 month old Mate 10 Pro and upgrading to P20 Pro. Once you've tried it, it's hard to live without P20 Pro's low light performance, 3x and 5x zoom, and handheld night mode.

Date: 18 May 2018

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I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't. All comments with genuine identities are published.

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