In the world of mobile technology, there are big names that dominate the market. Apple, Samsung and Huawei in the western world are the big brands that consumers are looking for. The latest and most powerful smartphones from Huawei and Apple offer excellent performance and have two of the best cameras that can be placed in these technological pieces.
But is the Huawei Mate 40 Pro better than the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max in this requirement? We made some comparisons.
It was in October that Apple and Huawei presented their range tops, the best in the market in various aspects. Performance, ecosystem, sound, screen, security, autonomy and photography. In none of these aspects is there anything we can say is negative.
Many may say that they are too expensive, but the truth is that the price is subjective and depends on the financial availability of each consumer, their priorities and their own requirements. There are many euros that have to be spent to have these pieces of technology, but they are values that follow the market trend itself.
Both have the particularity of offering their own ecosystems. The most mature Apple, with more years on the market and with more than given evidence of its robustness. Huawei's is quite recent, still gaining consumer confidence, but which has proven to be quite solid and with useful services and at the level of those that have been on the market since the beginning of smartphones.
It is true that the road is still long, but in the present we can see a successful future.
Without exploring much of the specifications of each smartphone here, today we are going to focus on cameras and, essentially, on the world of photography.
The smartphones that we bring to the comparison today are in the ranking of best smartphones for photography launched in 2020. Incidentally, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro is even considered the best for this purpose. At Pplware, we are well aware of the capabilities of Huawei smartphone cameras built in partnership with Leica.
On the Apple side, the iPhone 12 Pro Max model is also the best of the line recently presented by Tim Cook and which, a few days ago, received an interesting novelty that we have already had the opportunity to explore, the ProRAW.
But let's get to the details.
Huawei Mate 40 Pro
- 50 MP with f / 1.9 aperture - 23 mm wide angle (Omni-directional PDAF, OIS)
- 12 MP with f / 3.4 aperture - 125mm telephoto periscope (PDAF, OIS, 5x optical zoom - up to 50x)
- 20 MP with f / 1.8 aperture - 18mm ultra wide angle (PDAF)
- Video: 2160p @ 30 / 60fps, 1080p @ 30/60/120/240 / 480fps, 720p @ 60 / 30fps, HDR, gyro-EIS
- 32 MP with f / 2.4 aperture - 18mm wide angle lens (AF)
- IR ToF 3D
- Video: 4K @ 30 / 60fps, 1080p @ 30/60 / 240fps
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
- 16 MP with f / 1.6 aperture - 26 mm wide angle (PDAF, IBIS)
- 12 MP with f / 2.2 aperture - 65 mm telephoto (PDAF, OIS, 2.5x optical zoom, up to 12x digital zoom)
- 12 MP with f / 2.4 aperture - 13mm ultra wide angle
- 3D TOF LiDAR
- Video: 4K @ 24/30 / 60fps, 1080p @ 30/60/120 / 240fps HDR, Dolby Vision HDR (60fps), stereo sound recording
- 12 MP with f / 2.2 aperture - 23mm wide angle (gyro-EIS)
- SL 3D, (depth / biometric sensor)
- Video: 4K @ 24/30 / 60fps, 1080p @ 30/60 / 120fps
In view of the exposure of the general characteristics of the cameras of each model, it is necessary to show the results of a few days to be photographed. For these tests we tried to simplify in order to show which photographic results can be achieved by anyone.
For example, in the case of Mate 40 Pro, the camera application has a manual capture mode where all the parameters of a photo can be adjusted. In addition, the user can capture photographs in RAW or JPEG, but with 50 megapixels, instead of the standard mode. The iPhone, as we know, no longer allows this level of adjustment in the various capture parameters, but it also offers RAW and ProRAW modes.
From the outset, one aspect that distinguishes these smartphones is the zoom range. The Huawei, in a real way, allows shooting at a distance up to 5 times, compared to the main sensor. We are talking about optical zoom. The iPhone goes up to 2.5 times. From then on, up to 12 times zoom, it is done digitally.
Where Zoom takes us ...
The Huawei Mate 40 Pro clearly takes advantage of the zoom topic. The zoom up to 50 times that is available, in my opinion is of little use for most smartphone users. You can read more about my opinion when I compared the zoom of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra with that of the Huawei P40 Pro + and in this case we still have a zoom that goes 100 times. However, there is no doubt that it is incredible that a small piece of technology can go so far.
But for comparison purposes, we focused on photos with optical zoom. The hybrid zoom of the Huawei and the maximum digital of the iPhone are more or less at the same distance, so we also have examples.
The Mate 40 Pro has an optical zoom of 5 times, achieving with the camera of 12 MP with aperture f / 3.4 (telephoto periscope). This Zoom offers extraordinary results, with great detail and maintaining the texture of the elements.
The iPhone offers 2.5 times optical zoom with the 12 MP telephoto camera with f / 2.2 aperture. With this model I was able to capture a flock of birds flying and the detail achieved is absolutely fantastic.
Whenever photos are shown side by side, those on the left were taken with the Huawei smartphone and those on the right by the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Huawei Mate 40 Pro
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
It is necessary to consider that the focal length of the wide-angle and telephoto lenses of the two smartphones is different, so what is captured by the camera will have a different scope.
In general, all photos captured with optical zoom reveal a great quality and the same happens with the hybrid zoom of Huawei. However, the digital zoom of the iPhone up to 12 times is quite weak and in the last example, using the 5x zoom when compared to the Huawei zoom 5x, it is visible soon a lot of detail information is lost.
At night and in the dark
The two models under analysis offer night modes that take photos in low light environments at a lower speed, in order to ensure that all details are recorded. Both allow you to use the night mode automatically, where the software detects the scene. Or, the user does this management manually.
For example, in the photos that follow, night mode was used on and then off, adjusting the focus point on the Christmas tree. Then, in the following photos, the night mode was disabled and the focus point was automatically set by the smartphone.
Observing, both are able to offer absolutely incredible results. Night photos with immense detail, even in the smallest details.
The iPhone captures more light and offers a more attractive black result. Look at the sky in the first two photos, where the Mate 40 Pro is affected by light pollution to present the sky. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a darker sky. However, in a closer look, you can see a projection of the lights in the sky, captured by this iPhone's night mode. This does not happen either with the normal mode, nor in any of the Huawei examples.
Although this problem is noticeable in the image above, we still reduce the remainder of the photo, through software, giving a better understanding of what is captured.
In terms of details, texture and colors, there is nothing negative to point out to the two models. The important thing to remember is that the user has a wide range of adjustments when taking their photos in night environments, with or without light.
Now in more detail
Now let's focus on the details and photos taken closer to the objects. In these first examples, there are still photos taken at night or in darker environments. In this specific case, the main cameras were used with the scene recognition mode activated.
In general, the iPhone 12 Pro Max achieved better and easier results, with a closer and more accurate focus. The Mate 40 Pro, however, does not fail to guarantee a good detail and light capture.
Then I leave some examples captured with the Huawei Mate 40 Pro in environments with more light, but under the same premise of photos taken to objects closer.
And the examples obtained by the iPhone 12 Pro Max:
In portrait photos, the most important thing to notice is whether the blurred outlines are done excellently and that there are not too many beauty filters applied, not least because in other details we already know that everything is done in an exemplary way.
On the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the three photos below were taken with the most common modes with the 12 MP cameras with f / 2.2 aperture and 16 MP with f / 1.6 aperture. The iPhone captured the images with and without applied blur effect and there is no doubt ... the software only spoils the excellent results.
Let's see the examples:
With the wind that was felt on the day the photos were taken, the hair was not properly combed. But the fact is that the iPhone's camera did not ignore them and even those who are farthest away are focused, being part of the front plane of the photograph. However, in the first two images it is noticeable what happens when the effect is applied. The background is blurred with more intensity, essentially destroying the contours of the hair.
The Huawei Mate 40 Pro no longer has this problem when applying the filter that blurs the background. Although we see some hairs are blurred by the blurred effect, it ends up being done in a much smoother way than on the iPhone.
Some more pictures… with the Huawei Mate 40 Pro
And still the selfies:
A few more photos… with the iPhone 12 Pro Max
And still the selfies:
After all these examples, it becomes evident that we are facing two very powerful photographic smartphones. It is aspects like this that we highlight here that make the price of these tops of the range justified and that distinguish them in the midst of such fierce competition.
Each of them is still capable of standing out in some way, but it is the Huawei Mate 40 Pro that takes a leading position in most of the points assessed. In addition, the Huawei application offers the user more ways to explore, in addition to a full manual mode.
You can find all the original photos here.