The manufacturers of smartphones with photographic ambition seem to be very clear about their strategy. A few, such as Google or Nokia, opt decisively for computer photography, while others, such as Huawei, Samsung or OnePlus, although they also resort to computational processing, have opted to integrate several specialized cameras to solve different shooting scenarios.
HONOR belongs to this last group, but the Chinese brand has just shown us that it is not satisfied with following the steps that others take. And is that his new HONOR 20 Pro comes stomping thanks to its four rear cameras. Yes, there are other smartphones with four cameras. This is not new. What makes this gadget different is that one of them is a camera for macro photography. And also that the main camera and the telephoto lens use a four-axis optical stabilization scheme. As you can see, on paper this mobile looks good. Let’s see what we can expect from him.
HONOR 20 Pro: technical specifications
Although the juiciest innovations introduced by this smartphone are associated with the rear cameras, it is worthwhile to pause for a moment to take a look at its front camera. This unit uses a 32-megapixel sensor with a photodiode size of 0.8 μm and an optic with an aperture value f / 2.0. HONOR has not revealed who is the manufacturer of this sensor, but it is possible that it is Sony. In any case, the interesting thing about this sensor is that it allows this camera to do something that we have seen before in other smartphones: it manages to combine four photoreceptors to implement a larger virtual one. In this way, you can collect more light and throw less noise in complicated capture scenarios, such as night photography or poorly lit interiors.
In any case, the surprises that seem more interesting on paper reside in the cameras housed in the back of this mobile phone. I propose that we start by reviewing the main camera. This unit uses a 1/2-inch sensor manufactured by Sony that has a resolution of 48 megapixels and is backed by an optic with aperture value f / 1.4 and a four-axis optical stabilization system. This opening is the largest we have seen on a smartphone so far, and this stabilization scheme promises us, in theory, more defined images and with less motion blur in compromised situations. In the next section of the article, we will investigate more in these two characteristics of this camera.
The next camera that is worth stopping is the wide-angle camera, which is anchored on a 16-megapixel sensor and an optic with an equivalent focal length of 13 mm and aperture value f / 2.2. The angle of capture of this camera is 117 degrees, a very interesting value that should allow this mobile to feel comfortable in landscape and interior photography, among other possible capture scenarios. When we have the opportunity to analyze this smartphone thoroughly we will check if this camera is up to our expectations and does not introduce distortion in the edges of the image, which is one of the most frequent weak points of cameras of this type.
The third rear camera, the telephoto lens, incorporates an 8-megapixel sensor and an optic with an equivalent focal length of 80 mm and aperture value f / 2.4. This hardware puts in our hands an optical zoom of three increases that can make the difference when we need to get closer to the reason we are photographing, and that allows us to rub shoulders in this field with this HONOR 20 Pro with the best smartphones with a photographic vocation that have reached the market During the last months. In addition, the telephoto lens has the same four-axis stabilization system incorporated in the main camera, a very attractive feature due to how easy it is to introduce motion blur when using an important zoom.
The fourth camera of this mobile phone complements the other three very well because it is a unit for macro photography equipped with a 2-megapixel sensor and an optic with an equivalent focal length of 27 mm and aperture value f / 2.4. This camera is ideal for photographing objects that we want to place very close to the objective to collect the maximum level of detail. The reduced resolution of the sensor seems to reflect that this unit will work in tandem with one of the other cameras, but we will have to wait until we can analyze this smartphone thoroughly to see if it is or not.
A very ambitious main camera: 4-axis OIS and aperture f / 1.4
There is no doubt that two of the most interesting innovations of this mobile phone are the four-axis optical stabilization incorporated in both the main and telephoto camera and the opening value of the main optics. Optical stabilization is a very interesting resource that reduces the possibility of a photograph being ruined due to the motion blur that our pulse can introduce without our noticing, especially when we use an important zoom.
The manufacturers of smartphones are gradually improving the stabilization of their terminals to ensure that their benefits are as close as possible to those of cameras that have advanced stabilization systems. And it is great news because it is one of the areas in which they still have a margin of significant improvement. However, stabilization does not make a difference just by using the zoom; It is also crucial when we need to increase the exposure time because our pulse is much more likely to introduce motion blur.
In the image below these lines, you can see the appearance of the optical stabilization mechanism installed by HONOR in the main camera (the upper one) and the telephoto lens (this is the lower camera). The camera placed to the right of the telephoto lens is the unit for macro photography, which, as you can see, does not have this optical stabilization scheme. An interesting note: the Kirin 980 microprocessor of this smartphone works in tandem with optical stabilization because it is responsible for executing a processing algorithm designed to finish fine-tuning the captures, thus minimizing motion blur.
A feature of the main camera’s optics of this mobile phone that we cannot ignore is its aperture value f / 1.4. To date, this is the largest aperture available in a smartphone’s camera, and it’s important because it can have a direct impact on the amount of light received by the Sony sensor surface installed in this camera. An optics with a greater aperture allows more light to pass through the lenses, and, at the same time, it can contribute to the background blur having a greater uniformity.
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However, in practice, it is prudent to “do not throw the bells on the fly” and wait until we have the opportunity to thoroughly analyze this smartphone so we can check if the optics of this camera is really up to expectations. Of course, if finally, it is the performance of this terminal in night photography and poorly lit spaces could be great. Soon we will leave doubts.
Macro camera, the best complement of telephoto and wide angle
The macro camera that complements the main camera, the wide angle and the telephoto lens gives this mobile phone unprecedented polyvalence until now. Some smartphones are skilled at allowing us to focus with precision objects placed relatively close to the objective, but this HONOR terminal, according to the Chinese brand, manages to focus at a distance of only 4 cm. And if this really is so it is possible that it is consolidated as a very attractive tool for all the fans that we like macro photography.
The challenge that lies ahead is to demonstrate how both the 2-megapixel sensor and the optics of this camera with aperture f / 2.4 perform. And is that in this type of photography is crucial to capture the maximum level of detail possible, and, at the same time, introduce the minimum chromatic aberrations and keep the distortion under control. There is no doubt that this phone will have the support of some processing algorithms designed to squeeze the potential of this camera, but it is something that we cannot know for sure until a unit falls into our hands. We hope that this moment arrives very soon so that we can send you our evaluations.