Are digital cameras still relevant for everyone? Huawei P20 & P30 Pro discussion.

Over the last few years most of my work was done with some variant of the Canon 5D full frame DSLR. Whilst this is a heavy hulking beast of a camera - it’s also a workhorse that provides beautiful imagery. The ample body has a very ergonomic layout - with plenty of customisation that can be done to the controls, which makes it very easy and fast to work with.

A common theme for me was that this camera was my default choice for any work, however for travel photography and social events - it was way to bulky for me to comfortably carry around. This prompted my decision to invest in mirrorless cameras: which were smaller and fit in your pocket (mostly.. maybe with cargo pants..) but even then there were many times where I had not brought it along due to it’s size.

Fast forward to the last few weeks - my wife and I had an adventure planned in Japan. Now this is not the kind of holiday we do every month, and Japan is a VERY interesting and pretty place, so I agonised over my equipment choices: Should I take the 5D? compromise with the A6000?

Ultimately i decided to go with the Huawei P20 Pro. But that’s not a camera! you might be saying, and you are arguably correct. However if i think about it: I had a 27mm f1.8 camera, and an 80mm f2.4 camera with optical image stablisation. The B/W camera is not mentioned since it’s way to buried in menus to be useful, and realistically most times shooting using the main sensor (and converting to monochrome) does a better job.

By far the most useful range in a camera is the 24-70mm space and I was pretty covered. Throw in all the HDR, image stacking and other digital wizardry that the phone is capable of and here are some results. All the photos are shot using the Huawei P20 pro and edited using Snapseed on the phone itself. I was able to take most shots i had in mind and had a decent keeper rate in even challenging light and autofocus conditions.

To wrap up - to cherry on the cake is that most of these images will only ever be seen on social media on mobile devices. The quality is way high than what is necessary for that, so much so i’d be pretty confident in having any of these shots printed in A2 or higher size.. So why bother with anything else?

What do you guys think? Leave a comment below.

So what’s next?

Huawei have just announced the new P30 family of phones and to be quite honest many of the features which reviewers are praising (battery, low light performance, overall performance, etc) are already top notch with the P20 pro and (in my humble opinion) not worth the upgrade. I would hazard and even say that the much vaunted 5x periscope camera (125mm) is going to be less useful than a native 80mm on the P20. Time will tell.

However there are 2 killer new features which I am really looking forward to:

  1. Optical Image Stabilisation on the Main sensor. This will make it much easier to use Light Painting and Night modes, or any other in camera images stacking which have become so powerful

  2. Ultra wide angle lens. This was something that I really missed in japan and it’s not something you can recreate digitally like lens blur or zoom (just crop! :))