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Huawei confirms P30 series will have periscope zoom camera, new Leica camera hardware

Huawei confirms P30 series will have periscope zoom camera, new Leica camera hardware

At Mobile World Congress 2019 Huawei wanted to share. First it shared a supposed mock-up P30 handset with Digital Trends – important information because that site’s photographs depict three cameras, not the four we were expecting.

Next, Huawei confirmed to Pocket-lint that the P30 series will feature a zoom camera – being the first device to market with a periscope lens solution, which we now know will be revealed in full on 26 March in Paris.

Pocket-lint was one of a handful of publications invited to a behind-closed-doors ‘open discussion’ session at MWC 2019. It was hosted by Clement Wong, Huawei’s VP of global product marketing, in an on-the-record session. Although Wong refused to budge on certain details when pressed, we did manage to extract some interesting details about the new camera setup.

“Instead of treating [the P30] in a similar way as we did before [from P9 to P10 to P20] – increase the number of cameras, or [add/remove] the black and white module – we’re going to introduce some really revolutionary technology,” said Wong. “But it’s not an obvious change unless you use the camera.”

Which, to us, suggests the quad camera solution – as leaked by the company’s own CEO, Richard Yu, in a shot of the moon on Weibo – might be realised with a three lens setup, treating the periscope as a multi-capable lens and deriving the ‘quad’ term from that. This would also corroborate with Digital Trends’ hands-on pictures of the mock-up device, which depicts three lenses – although this looks different to the triple camera P30 Pro leak revealed by WinFuture.

Wong continues: “One of the things you’re going to see is an amazing zoom. The picture of the moon [referring to Yu’s Weibo post] was taken without any external camera. It’s a revolutionary zoom technology in that way you take pictures.”

Obviously Huawei isn’t the first to realise such technology. We’ve already seen 5x in the Oppo Find X, while a 10x module was shown off at this year’s MWC too.

So will Wong tell us just how capable this zoom is?

“We can tell you about the structure: you can say periscope. It’s not new technology, it’s been around for a long time. But the key is: who can make it commercial and high quality?

“On top of that we use AI [artificial intelligence], DSP [digital signal processing], ISP [image signal processing], we can make it even better. And the number… we can’t tell you about the number.

If it’s truly a first then, based on the fact Oppo already has a 5x camera in the market, Huawei’s solution has to be greater – suggesting the 10x zoom, as widely rumoured.

Wong wasn’t finished there, though, citing low-light photography as the other major area that Huawei is looking to best.

“What if technology can empower the good low-light quality? We can crack it. Not only the camera system but also the Kirin chipset will play a big role. That’s the ‘magic’ inside; the recipe. A lot of companies [can use the same sensor as others but] cannot make a good picture because of that recipe. We’ve been improving a lot since P6 and, of course, Leica collaboration has a lot of influence. The lens, the chipset, the software and of course the camera system [all make a difference]. This time [for P30] we combine [all that] together.

Does that mean the P30 series will depend only on software improvements to better its solution?

“No,” says Wong. “The low-light [improvement for P30] is not just software. If all companies were only using…AI or merging fusion technology – which we did previously – then how do we further improve that? We definitely need some [camera] hardware changes, that is what I’m saying.”

So there we have it: the Huawei P30 series is confirmed to have a periscope zoom lens and be built on new camera hardware. But precisely what that will mean – from the zoom capability, to the sensor sizes and resolution, to the number of physical lenses used in the design – is something we’ll have to wait until the Paris reveal to see. But we’re now not expecting the quad camera solution to use more than three lenses.

Credits to Pocket-lint

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