With cellphones, there are very few things consumers actually care about. Things like price and battery life are important, but often it’s the camera that we are most concerned about.
We took the two biggest Android phone rivals on a trip to Port Elizabeth and Tsitsikamma and pitted them against each other, head to head, with straight-out-of-the camera results. No professional trickery, no special modes, no Photoshop. Sure, the Huawei has a ISO higher than a professional camera and a night mode that’s hard to beat but the Samsung has the ability to make even my face look like an angel’s, however, we know that, when the wine hits the glass and when the tunes begin to play, we just open up that camera in “normal” mode and shoot from the hip.
For comparison purposes, the Samsung S10 + shots will be on the right and the Huawei P30 Pro’s on the left.
We eat with our eyes and we ’Gram with them too. Don’t pretend we don’t order food based on what it looks like and, in this case, the cameras make the food look good.
Winner: Samsung - the warmer hues of the fish batter make the dish look all the more appetizing.
When it’s time to catch some waves, in every sense of the expression, you want a camera that doesn’t lag behind. Moving water is one of the trickier subjects but we don’t spot blur on either picture.
Winner: Tie. There is a lot of depth in those shallow water pixels
FOREGROUND, MIDDLEGROUND, BACKGROUND DETAIL
A picture paints a thousand words but when you are painting a scene on your cellphone camera, you want to see all of it, in pristine detail, at every depth, all at once.
Winner: Tie. The man wearing the yellow cap and wetsuit in the foreground is more detailed in the Samsung picture but, on closer inspection, you can see the man with his shirt off in the sea has a moustache in the P30 Pro picture.
Until recently, night shots could best be described as smudges. However, double apertures, ridiculous ISOs and AI chips have taken care of the problem.
Winner: Huawei. You can still see every blade of grass and also the stars in the sky.
There is seldom one light source in a picture and, generally, one is brighter than the others. So, we chose this night shot, with multiple lights, as our test.
Winner: Huawei. Not only does it not blow out the spotlight but the plants and natural light come alive.
We like nice things and we like to take photos of them. Photographing objects is different from photographing people and landscape. So Tsitsikamma’s 50’s-inspired diner, Marilyn’s, will do just nicely.
Winner: Tie. The P30 Pro has more detail but the Samsung has more warmth.
I enlisted the help of an influencer for this test, as her selfie and pose game is far superior to mine. Here is fashion blogger Lihle Nkosi, knowing how to work all her angles, on the Port Elizabeth boardwalk.
Winner: Huawei. Although the pictures were not taken at the exact same time – a girl only has so many hands – the P30 Pro offers a punchier option.
INTO THE SUN
Yup, I don’t even remotely have Nkosi’s skills but here’s my mug anyway. We know a good time can come at any time of the day and, until now, all you would get if you shot into the sun was a silhouette.
Winner: Tie. Huawei wins on the technical side - it gives far more detail. But, personally, I love the sun-washed effect of the S10+ picture. If I was going to post either of these, it would be the one that makes me look like I am in a music video.
Back to the more professional offerings. Here, Nkosi has been joined by travel expert Refiloe Kobeli. We love posting images of fun with our friends. When it comes down to it, pictures of people are the cornerstone of our cellphone photo lives.
Winner: Samsung. The colour just pops a little bit more, giving a fresher look to both models.
It’s a question as old as time: are you a realist or a romantic? Do you want to see the world in all its gory autheticity or do you prefer a bit of a beauty filter? Huawei wins out on points, beating out Samsung three to two. Huawei undoubtedly offers the best detail – especially at night – but the warmer, more vivid, colours of the Samsung are wonderfully enticing. In the end, the contest comes down to what you prefer.
• McKeown was a guest of Huawei and South African Tourism in PE and Tsitsikama