Huawei & # 39; s reintroduction of the 40MP smartphone camera was a surprisingly impressive unveiling back with the Huawei P20 Pro. The company improved the performance in low light of the formula in the Huawei P30 Pro and thus laid a new bar for high resolution mobile photography. Now there is a new champion of the number of pixels in the city – the 64MP Realme XT.
These two smartphone cameras are very different in many ways, with different sensor sizes, lenses, and post-processing of images. They are also clearly focused on very different price points. However, there are some important similarities based on the prevailing trends in mobile photography. Both phones reach their seemingly huge number of megapixels through the use of "Quad Bayer" filters and a technology called pixel binning (or Tetracell, if you ask Samsung).
In short, pixel binning takes a sensor with a lower resolution, cuts each pixel into four and uses a re-mosaic algorithm to construct a higher-resolution image. The level of detail is not as good as a traditional Bayer filter camera and the smaller pixel sizes can reduce light absorption, resulting in more noise. However, these sensors claim to take good photos in low light by combining the light from these four pixels together again. Although more resolution on paper sounds great, there are limitations to what can be achieved in a small mobile form factor. You can read more about this on the link below:
Read more: Don't fall for the camera hype of 100 MP
The question I want to answer today is how well the Realme XT's 64MP camera performs: whether or not it can reach the promised level of detail and whether the huge number of pixels closes the gap with one of the market leaders.
Camera specifications and predictions
|Realme XT||Huawei P30 Pro|
|Main image sensor||Samsung ISOCELL GW1||Sony IMX650 (RYYB filter)|
|Resolution||64MP (9280 x 6944)||40MP (7296 x 5472)|
|Sensor size||1 / 1.7 "||1 / 1.7 "|
|Pixel size||0.8 µm||1.0 µm|
|Lens aperture||f / 1.8||f / 1.6|
Both smartphones use advanced image sensors from Samsung and Sony. On paper, the large 1.7-inch sensor size suggests a similar level of light absorption. However, the P30 Pro from Huawei includes a new RYYB color filter compared to a traditional RGB filter, which, according to the company, allows 20% more light absorption. Similarly, the P30 has a slightly larger f / 1.6 aperture, versus f / 1.8, which should help illuminate the sensor a little better.
The biggest difference is in the resolution of the sensors and the pixel size. Despite the same large 1.7-inch sensor size, the Realme XT splits this into more individual pixels to reach its higher resolution. That means more cell walls on the sensor and smaller pixel sizes. The Realme XT pixels clock in at 0.8 µm compared to the 1.0 µm of the P30 Pro. In theory, this will make the Realme XT lighter and therefore have trouble getting the most out of its gigantic resolution. Although Samsung's ISOCELL technology promises to limit the noise problems that are usually associated with small pixel sizes.
The two cameras offer an almost identical field of vision. The difference between 64MP and 40MP resolutions is not as large as the figures suggest. See the image below for comparison.
40MP versus 64MP, what has more detail?
The main reason to buy a phone with such a high-resolution sensor is to capture high levels of detail for digital zooming and cropping. We start by investigating the 64 MP sensor of the Realme XT with about 100% crops and compare the level of detail with the 40 MP sensor of the Huawei P30 Pro. This first shot examines details that are captured in excellent outdoor lighting.
The first clear difference is that the Realme XT gives us a bit more a zoom factor with a 100% crop, thanks to the higher resolution. Details are captured pretty well thanks to the good lighting. Note the strength of the denoise algorithm that fills the window details and some sharpening that creates hard edges. It is definitely not a crystal clear 64MP image.
Detail shot is very similar to the Huawei P30 Pro, although we do see some lens distortion artifacts sneaking on the highlights. Despite the lower resolution, the P30 Pro does better to capture the fine details in the window. Generally it is a softer image, but the two are pretty close here. The Realme XT is well above its price tag.
Unfortunately, this second example emphasizes the limitations of the Realme XT. With less ideal lighting conditions, details are blurred and blurred remotely. The image acquires an almost paint-like appearance, due to the heavy use of denoise and sharpening to solve the supposedly very noisy image. This can be seen most clearly in the tree details and roof structures.
We have criticized Huawei in the past for a similar approach, but the presentation is much more realistic with the P30 Pro. Although it is certainly not perfect. This is a great example of a camera with a lower resolution that captures more details thanks to superior light recording options.
In this last example I want to show that the Realme XT can actually produce better images than the P30 Pro when the lighting is less than ideal. Although the Realme XT shows considerably more noise in the shadows, the subject is focused well and the white balance is just right. In the meantime, the P30 Pro is again bothered by lens distortion and the image is rather spotty and unclear.
After a long period of experimenting with both phones, I discovered that their high resolution recording modes are both hit and miss. Both phones excel in excellent lighting conditions, but struggle indoors and in low light. The Huawei P30 Pro is the least temperamental of the two, but there is a reason why both phones lower standard resolutions.
The 40MP P30 Pro usually records more details than the 64MP Realme XT, but not always.
Ultimately, the sensors are simply too small to fully utilize their resolution. There is very little factual difference between 40 and 64 megapixels in the form factor of a smartphone. Although it is the Huawei P30 Pro that reaches the top in this shootout.
Pixel binning versus full resolution
Out of the box, the two telephones have their lower pixel-embedded resolutions as standard. This is 16MP for the Realme XT and only 10MP for the Huawei P30 Pro. So how does this decrease in resolution affect image quality?
To start with, the two telephones use slightly different binning techniques. The Realme XT combines four pixels in one that should produce better photos in low light. The P30 Pro uses its pixels to take photos with multiple exposures and combines this data into an HDR-like image with a lower resolution. This produces quite different results with recordings with lower resolutions.
When the lighting is less than ideal, we see the Huawei P30 Pro capture remarkably more details on the leaves and the glass in this photo. Shooting at 10 MP further increases the sharpness and contrast between light and dark. Fine details stand out even more and produce a very detailed image for such a seemingly limited resolution. Although the processing may be a bit heavy.
For comparison, the Realme XT wipes out the blade details in both 64 and 16MP modes. Switching between the two hardly makes a visual difference. The pixel-embedded option actually seems a bit noisier, but the overall level of detail is surprisingly comparable.
The P30 Pro shoots multiple exposures, while the Realme XT is very similar to binning on and off.
If we go to a scenario with less light, we again see a slight reduction in detail and brightness with the 16MP camera mode of the Realme XT. Take a closer look at the glass panels and the hanging canvas. Reducing the 64MP image seems to retain more detail and a sharper image, although a little more noise is also noticeable.
Huawei's approach to pixel binning provides a much more noticeable difference between the two modes. The 40MP cut is a bit noisy and struggles for detail. But combining 10MP shots with multiple exposures not only makes the scene clearer, but also captures much more details. Pay close attention to the pattern on the woodwork and the glass panels.
Sharpness and noise
Although both camera sensors are clearly very capable, post-processing results in noticeable differences with the final image, especially when cropping. Realme & # 39; s approach certainly boosts color saturation, but there is a less subjective problem that deserves attention.
My observation is that the Realme XT compensates much more for problems with the camera settings. The images require a heavy denoise pass followed by a heavy dose of sharpening in an attempt to restore details. With a full picture this is not very noticeable. But cropping in the image reveals the problem as an almost painted-looking effect.
In this first example, note the smooth texture effect of the leaves, followed by strong highlights on the white and around the edges. This excessive sharpening makes the branches stand out, but it is a very unnatural appearance. A comparison with the more realistic, soft appearance of the Huawei P30 Pro reveals how strong this processing is.
We have embarrassed Huawei for similar problems in previous-generation products, but the latest phones have improved a lot.
The Realme XT compensates for problems with camera settings with aggressive denoise and sharpening.
The second image shows another example of this sharpening. The treetops contrast sharply with the skyline with minimal mixing of light. Similarly, the TV antennas look very black and we can see aliasing artifacts from the grinding pass. The P30 Pro may look a bit more faded, but the softer presentation is much more realistic.
Noise is an equally consistent problem for the Realme XT regardless of when shooting in 64 or 16MP modes. In the first example, pay attention to the detail on the glass windows and the brickwork at the bottom right. The XT produces a speckled noise effect which makes it difficult to distinguish the smallest details. Meanwhile, the P30 Pro captures almost all brickwork lines, despite its lower resolution image resolution.
This noise pattern appears even more noticeably with less light, as in the second image. Note that the shadow of the lamp has no consistent course when shooting with the XT. The sound also extends straight across the wall. The P30 Pro is much smoother in comparison, without being dependent on heavy finishing. This emphasizes the limitations of the smaller 0.8 µm pixels of the Samsung GM1 versus the slightly larger 1.0 µm RYYB Sony IMX650 pixels within the flagship of Huawei.
Low light performance
It becomes quite clear where the differences lie between these two cameras. The last example I want to show is how important camera pixel formats and types are when shooting in the harshest conditions in low light.
Again, there is very little difference between the two Realme XT recording modes. Both are very dark and noisy, and you certainly cannot distinguish the text from the book.
The 40MP P30 Pro recording is certainly no better. The noise level seems even higher than that of the XT. However, the 10 MP pixel-inside mode shows a day and night difference. This is not made with night mode, it is simply the result of the larger pixels, the RYYB sensor and the multiple exposure algorithm that does their magic. Not only has the sound almost completely disappeared, but the text in the book is also legible.
It is certainly not the number of megapixels that count here, but how good those individual pixels are.
Are 64 megapixels required?
The introduction of the first 64MP smartphone camera would always be controversial, and many rightly wondered if this is all a marketing hype or whether mobile photography really offers benefits. Unfortunately, Realme XT usually seems to be the last.
In defense of the phone, the 64MP camera can take stunningly detailed photos when the lighting conditions are absolutely perfect. The sensor never maximizes what we expect from such a high resolution, but at best it can match the renowned 40MP sensor of the Huawei P30 Pro.
Unfortunately, the high resolution quality decreases quickly if you have strayed outside of the small lit sweet spot. The denoise and grinding processing of the camera also ruined the prospect of 100% crops. In most scenarios, there is hardly any noticeable difference between shooting in 64 or 16MP. The first is certainly not worth the huge file sizes that can reach up to 20 MB.
In most scenarios there are minimal difference recordings at 64 or 16MP.
The pixel binning capabilities of the Samsung GW1 do not meet the hype. Images with low light have too much noise and limited details. Our comparison with the Huawei P30 Pro shows what can be achieved with a high-resolution sensor. Realme and the GW1 clearly have another way to catch up with the premium layer.
As we noted in our Realme XT review, the 64MP camera does not give us enough reason to justify that high-resolution sensor. However, the camera can take some excellent photos and shocks that are far above the Rs. 15,999 ($ 225) price point. The Samsung GW1 sensor and Realme XT are decent mobile shooters, don't believe the 64MP hype.