Huawei P30 Pro vs Pixel 3 XL: the ultimate comparison of cameras in low light

The Huawei P30 Pro is so good in low light, so you can photograph a black cat in a dark room (if the cat cooperates). Surprisingly, that does not mean that the P30 Pro is the new undisputed champion in low light.

For this comparison compared to the comparison with Google Pixel 3 XL Huawei P30 Pro, I used both phones in automatic mode to create the same scene from about the same angles. I have not done any editing, but the images have been downsized to save bandwidth. Full-size images are available on Google Drive.

Is the Huawei P30 Pro camera worth the hype? See for yourself.

Let's take a good look, starting with the area where the P30 Pro performs best: very little light.

Very low light: no competition

The ability of the P30 Pro to shoot in the dark is nothing short of amazing. In fact, the darker it gets, the more astonishing the results compared to other smartphones out there.

The Pixel 3 XL is considered the gold standard in image quality, but in almost dark conditions it cannot really compete with the P30 Pro.

P30 Pro standard mode
Pixel 3 XL standard mode

P30 Pro standard mode

I shot the pictures below in my dark kitchen. There was a bit of light in the room from the window and the LEDs on the devices, but not enough for my eyes to distinguish anything more than faint shapes. The pixel image is completely black; meanwhile the P30 Pro delivers a usable image even with the purple hue.

Pixel 3 XL standard modeHuawei P30 Pro standard mode
Pixel 3 XL standard mode

Huawei P30 Pro standard mode

Every time I took a photo in the dark, the Pixel 3 begged to switch to Night Sight – in fact, a long exposure time. With Night Sight, the Pixel 3 XL comes closer to the P30 Pro, but the Huawei phone is still much better.

Pixel 3 XL Night SightHuawei P30 Pro Night mode
Pixel 3 XL Night Sight

Huawei P30 Pro Night mode

Here are a few more examples of low-light shooting recorded in standard mode.

Pixel 3 XL standardHuawei P30 Pro standard
Pixel 3 XL standard

Huawei P30 Pro standard

Pixel 3 XL standardHuawei P30 Pro standard
Pixel 3 XL standard

Huawei P30 Pro standard


Magic, right? So how does it work? Turns out there is a trick, but it only partially explains the magic. The trick is that Huawei has built in the long exposure recording in the standard recording mode of the P30 Pro. In other words, when you take a photo in very dark conditions, the phone actually captures the light after you press the shutter button. In very dark conditions (such as my kitchen in the picture above) it takes 3-4 seconds. With "normal" low light (in a bar or on the street & # 39; at night) the image is captured almost immediately, in less than a second.

Handy Huawei P30 and P30 Pro: zoom in on the future

The phone does not say that it is a long exposure exposure, but you can verify this by moving the phone just after you press the shutter button. Also try to photograph a moving subject. Here is an attempt to photograph my cat in a dark room. Like cats do, he refused to remain silent during the recording, resulting in this translucent effect.

Notice how you can see the window through the cat

With the proviso that you may need to keep your phone still for a few seconds – and you won't be able to photograph moving objects in very low light – the standard shooting mode on the Huawei P30 Pro is extremely impressive. I only realized after about two hours that the phone was used in low light, and in most situations the image is captured so quickly that you do not know it happened. That speaks of the quality of the new RYYB sensor and the complex algorithms that are used to squeeze every last bit of light out of a scene.

Although Huawei has built in a long exposure time in the standard recording mode, the camera of the P30 Pro still contains a special night mode. It captures data for up to 7-8 seconds, yielding comparable results with the standard recording mode. There is no real reason to use it from what I have seen.

Here are a few more photos I took with the P30 Pro (it makes no sense including the Pixel 3 XL versions, they are completely black and unusable).

Although Night Sight helps, the Pixel 3 XL gets more light from a scene, but the P30 Pro does better in almost all cases. Usability is also much better on the P30 Pro: you don't have to switch to night mode or even to think about it – the camera does the work in the background.

"Normal" low light: even agreement

Shooting photos in the dark is phenomenal, but you don't need this super power 99 percent of the time. What about "normal" low light? It appears that the Huawei P30 Pro and the Pixel 3 XL are much more even. Here are some comparisons.


Google Pixel 3 XLHuawei P30 Pro
Google Pixel 3 XL

Huawei P30 Pro

Winner: Huawei P30 Pro Both images are good, but the P30 Pro image is brighter and a little brighter.


Google Pixel 3 XLHuawei P30 Pro
Google Pixel 3 XL

Huawei P30 Pro

Winner: Pixel 3 XL Again good results, but the Pixel 3 XL gets better thanks to the much more lifelike representation of the light on the wall. The P30 Pro, on the other hand, blows out the light.


Google Pixel 3 XLHuawei P30 Pro
Google Pixel 3 XL

Huawei P30 Pro

Winner: Pixel 3 XL The image on the Pixel side is a bit sharper and the colors a bit more pleasant.


Google Pixel 3 XLHuawei P30 Pro
Google Pixel 3 XL

Huawei P30 Pro

Winner: Tie I call this a draw: the P30 Pro blows out the lights, but the colors are a bit nicer. The Pixel 3 XL offers better details and a more accurate light rendering, but the yellowish hue is a bit off. Neither of the telephones gave an accurate representation of the color of the wall, but the P30 Pro came closer.


Google Pixel 3 XLHuawei P30 Pro
Google Pixel 3 XL

Huawei P30 Pro

Winner: Huawei P30 Pro The light in the P30 Pro image is more accurate; details are a bit sharper.


Google Pixel 3 XLHuawei P30 Pro
Google Pixel 3 XL

Huawei P30 Pro

Winner: Pixel 3 XL The Pixel 3 XL can easily carry it, although it is possible that the P30 Pro does not focus properly.


Google Pixel 3 XLHuawei P30 Pro
Google Pixel 3 XL

Huawei P30 Pro

Winner: Huawei P30 Pro It is the time of the P30 Pro to win easily. For these photos I quickly threw up the phones to catch this girl on a scooter – the Pixel 3 XL apparently wasn't fast enough.


Google Pixel 3 XLHuawei P30 Pro
Google Pixel 3 XL

Huawei P30 Pro

Winner: Huawei P30 Pro As the light becomes thinner, the edge of the P30 Pro becomes stronger.


Google Pixel 3 XLHuawei P30 Pro
Google Pixel 3 XL

Huawei P30 Pro

Winner: Huawei P30 Pro I will give this to the Huawei phone, despite the purple lens border on the top.


Final count: Huawei P30 Pro 5 wins – Pixel 3 XL 1 win – 1 tie.

Photography with very little light aside, I call this Huawei P30 Pro vs Google Pixel 3 XL a draw. In my experience, the Huawei P30 Pro offered the best results when the light was dim, but the Pixel 3 XL came to the top in many "normal" situations in low light. In addition, the Pixel seemed to be better able to handle bright lights, without blowing up highlights or prominent lens flares (perhaps the always-on HDR helped). You can view more full-size image examples in this Google Drive folder.

Low light photography is important, but it is only one aspect of a smartphone camera. We will talk more about the full features of the Huawei P30 Pro – including that powerful zoom – in future posts and our upcoming review.

Revisited Google Pixel 3: what is being stopped and what hasn't happened after five months

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