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2018-07-23: Huawei P30 Pro first impressions

I have split my first impressions of my new phone's camera with a seperate headline below and updated it.


2018-07-19: Rhodes & Symi Gallery and Huawei P30 Pro Sample Gallery

It's been a while since the last update... sorry for that. I've been quite busy with my other hobbys during the last months and simply did not find the motivation for photography and/or this homepage. But of course I haven't been lazy in the meantime - I think I literally wouldn't be able to be. I have taken care of my cars and motorbikes, took my first steps in electric mobility, bought a new phone and, last but not least, there's been a lot of work - I still have a normal job in a normal office, photography is still mostly a hobby. Having said that, I am quite lucky with my job especially in one regard: I get a lot of paid vacation ;-) I love travelling and have tried to do exactly that for the last years, whenever I didn't have to work, and that's what I did a few weeks ago: I visited the Greek islands of Rhodes and Symi, drove around in my rented car as usual, walked the old cities, went scuba-diving and lay on the beach. While certainly not as fascinating and varying as Tenerife or Lanzarote in terms of nature and landscape, but a lot more uniform in vegetation and general appearance, these still are easily worth a visit and adding to the nature, Greece has one of the oldest European high-cultures and these islands show this on every occasion. Unlike Germany, these islands haven't been completely destroyed during WW 2 and so you can walk streets and cities, which literally are thousands of years old. 

Of course I have added a new Gallery:

IMG_20190709_184500b_1600x1181.jpg  Rhodes & Symi 2019


2018-07-23: Huawei P30 Pro first impressions

This was my first vacation abroad for maybe 10 years or so, on which I took no camera at all, but only my new cellphone, a Huawei P30 Pro. I bought it exclusively for it's camera, had and tried it about two weeks before I went to Rhodes, and was so pleased with the results of the camera, that I decided to give it a try. Apart from having a generally good camera, it features three lenses: The usual 27mm equivalent you find on every smartphone, but with extraordinary low-light capabilities. Then there's a 16mm equivalent ultrawide, like my old LG G6 had one too, which was even wider (around 13mm equivalent, I think), but with the difference, that the one on the Huawei is fully corrected and non-distorting (not bending straight lines on the edges of the image like the LG). I would have been fine with my old phone in this regard, though. And then there's the real novelty: A 135mm equivalent lens. It's the first time, any manufacturer has implemented a real tele-lens in a phone and today there's only one other (also chinese) manufacturer, who has done this, called OPPO. Apple tells you, that their best phones had a "tele", but these are around 50mm equivalent lenses and so calling these "tele" is simply a lie. These are "normal" lenses, the standard lens on every camera from the 1950s to the 1980s, before zooms where developed. And the Huawei can give you intermediate zoom-positions, too: Until 2.9x zoom (around 79mm), it uses the 27mm lens and digital zoom. Since it usually creates 10MP images from a 40MP (!) sensor to generate cleaner, sharper images (so-called "pixel-binning", where 4 pixels are combined into one, eliminating the effects of the Bayer-pattern, reducing noise and raising sharpness), and since the difference between 10MP and 40MP is exactly a 2x magnification of the image, pictures taken at around 50mm are nearly indistinguishable from regular 27mm ones in quality - the better the light, the less. They simply don't need much software-magic, but can instead rely on the full-resolution output from the sensor. Between 2x and 2.9x (50-80mm) the quality slowly detoriates because it is a real digital magnification, until from around 82mm (3x zoom) on, the phone uses the tele camera for the center of the image and then, because of the higher magnification of the 135mm-lens, fills the surroundings with digital maginifications from the main 27mm camera. It does this absolutely seemless, you never see any artifacts or breaks on the borderline or such. But it results in images, that, at around 82mm, have comparitively broad image-borders that are softer than the rest (because digitally magnified). From 82mm to 135mm these borders get thinner and thinner naturally, but worse and worse because of the rising magnification needed and the difference between the center and borders gets more obvious, until at, let's say, 125mm, you have a sharp image with a thin frame surrounding it, looking like painted with water-colors. You can also go to 270mm, the phone uses digital so-called "super-zoom" algorithms for magnifying the image from the 135mm lens then. This setting is still more or less usable, better than simply upscaling a digitial image, but of course worse than 135mm - I'd say on the quality-level of a very cheap consumer-zoom like the old Sigma 70-300mm 4-5.6 or the cheapest Canon 75-300mm-zooms at 300mm. Better than nothing, if you need it. I suggest using it mainly at 16mm (you don't need the range between 16 and 27mm in my opinion, even if the 16mm lens has a 20MP - sensor, so zooming to around 24mm is mostly lossless, as explained above: double Megapixels means 50% magnification, 4 times means 100% or double), 27mm to around 50-60mm (zoom is nearly lossless in this range, see above), 82mm and 135mm. Sadly it doesn't have any customizable, or at least exactly these, presets, only settings for 16mm, 27mm, 135mm and 270mm, so you have to zoom with two fingers on the touchscreen and try to hit the ratio you want.

I'll write a complete review of this phone (or at least the camera) soon, but this really is a phone that can replace a real camera if you want to travel light. For my preference and quality standards, I consider it having a good 16mm, an extraordinary 27mm and very good 50mm "lens" (I don't like and use the common 35mm focal length, even if the phone can do this losslessly, too) an 80mm with good center and softer borders, a very good 135mm and a relatively bad but usable 270mm lens. With that, you have a complete photography kit in the pocket of your jeans. You even have digital "aperture" mode where the phone simulates a Bokeh-effect like a thin depth of field of a fast lens on a fullframe camera, which works very realistic, because it has a fourth, so-called "time-of-flight" camera, that measures the time, the light traveles from different objects in the image and so knows, what in the image is how far away and should be blurred to what degree. You can adjust the type of unsharpness it adds to the background (like making blurred highlights into circles or sun-stars), as well as the aperture it simulates between 0.95 and 16. It focussed close with the tele-lens for small objects you can't get nearer to, because, for example, they fly away frightened then, and into real macro-magnifications with the wide lenses. You also have a "light-painting" mode, that lets you blurr flowing water while keeping the surroundings sharp, like with long exposures on a tripod, or create effects by moving lights in the frame, like a flashlight, during a long exposure - and while you need a tripod with a real camera to do that, the phone uses several pictures and digital stabilization for this, so that you can do it handheld - better than any real camera. Of course it can shoot at 20 frames per second and has RAW and can output full 40MP images from the main sensor, even if you don't need both in my opinion. Add to that a night-mode, that gives you incredible results even in total darkness, where the human eye cannot even see where you point your phone, with images so sharp, detailed and free of noise, handheld, that I doubt I would have been able to get with a fullframe Canon DSLR in much more reasonable light at night, at least not handheld, and you have everythig you really could ever need: Normal shooting with every lens you need, long exposure-effects, fast-aperture- / thin depth-of-field-effects (for portraits or objects), long-lens close focussing, real Macro, fast framerates, 4K video and slow-motion in Full-HD (even if I don't care for video) and incredible low-light performance. The nightmode works - I can't stress that enough - unbelievably good with the 27mm lens, but gives good results even with the other two lenses. You can use this mode in bright daylight too - resulting in a dynamic range, that as well will be hard to achieve with the best fullframe DSLRs or DSLMs. All handheld and in-camera. The only thing to remember is, that you have to hold your phone reasonably still for 3 to 7 seconds in night mode - so this isn't usable for moving objects.

The main problem is the buggy or at least inconsistent software - you really have to learn, how the camera behaves when, in order to get good results.

For example, the tele-camera can focus down to about 40cm in front of the phone technically, but the phone switches to digital magnification of the 27mm lens below 180cm (!) - god knows why and without telling you. The results of an image digitally magnified 5 times are ... well, only deletable. If you force it to use the 135mm by using the "Pro"-mode or a different camera app like Opencamera or by switching to 10x zoom, it works perfectly fine with the tele at close distances. It also always uses the 27mm (and magnifies the image if zoomed) without telling you, when you switch for example to HDR mode, while it clearly uses HDR mode automatically with the tele in AI-mode.

Then there's the image stabilisation: It combines optical and digital stablization, which often is a good thing, as explained above. The problem is, that with pure optical stabilization like on DSLRs or DSLMs, you either get a sharp shot or an unsharp, blurred one, if there was too much movement to compensate for the IS. If you see that it's blurred, you delete it and take the shot again. The Huawei uses digital stabilization then and nearly always manages to create a more or less sharp image by analyzing a few images it always takes in a row without showing you and extracting the details of each and creating the final image from these single ones. It kind of "rebuilds" one image from several ones. But during this procedure, the finest details are usually lost (because not captured in any of the blurred shots it took), so that you get a sharp looking image, which seems fine on the phones screen and you keep it and go on to the next photo, but on close inspection on a PC later, lacks any fine textures or detail and is hardly usable. What makes this a common problem is, that the phone is so light, that you simply aren't able to hold it as steady as a 1kg DSLR with a 4kg lens on it. Many users in forums complain about the so-called strong noise-reduction applied to the images, resulting in a "water-color"-effect they say, but this really is mostly a result of digital stabilization, especially with the tele-lens, naturally. If you own one, try it: Put the phone on a table and take the shot again. You will be surprised by the results.

There are a few more querks like this, but more about that in my upcoming review. 

Short: A great camera in a great phone, if you know and are able and willing to deal with it's bugs. 

So, treat the Gallery above as a sample Gallery for the Huawei P30 Pro, too ;-)

Have fun!


Welcome to my Homepage

This is a site dedicated to photography and everything related to it.

On this page and today, you find the different sections on the upper right, on top of the handsome guy shooting a beautiful place, as well as on the left side. As this site (hopefully) grows over time, some day I will replace the navigation - box on the left with links to old or obsolete "News" - pages posted here on the start-page. For now, you find the older updates under "Old news", you can only get to from this page and only on the navigation-bar on the left, not on the one on top. The navigation-bar on top will stay.


So...just another photo-site? No, not exactly, but yes, partly. Let me explain:

I'm a photographer. Not a professional, maybe not even very good. But as time went by, there have been one or two people, who actually liked some of my photos. A few of these few keep telling me, that I should show it to others. OK, among these are people, who may be very slightly biased - like my parents. But still ít seems to make sense, when having a hobby creating art, to show this art to people. This is the first reason for my Homepage: I can show you my pictures in my Gallery


Apart from that, you can always have a look at my unsorted and maybe not always well-selected most

IMG_5668_Crop_898x683.jpg  Recent shots

Or you can follow me on Instagram as "david08_de" as well!


And as I'm a photographer - not a professional, maybe not even good - but a hobbyist with passion for 25 years now, I've gained some experience over the years. Taking pictures over this long period, I realized three simple things:

Optical impression, the way pictures affect peoples feelings and moods, follows rules!

Photographic equipment is best, when it does what you want, while needing the least possible actions by yourself to do so!

The quality and characteristics of the photographic medium matter a lot more than the quality of cameras and lenses using the same medium.

But as simple as these three things seem to be, as complex are the things that are based on or related to these rules. This experience is the second thing, I want to share here.

Why? Because I often look at photos or forums on the web and think: "Ah, I do this exactly like you, but now I realize, why this doesn't look good!" or "Yes, I did this exactly like you for years, until I realized, that...", meaning: Because it would have saved me a lot of time and helped me a lot in getting a better photographer, if (and sometimes "when") someone told me such things. Why buy, develop, sort, scan and compare film with a color-reproduction, I don't want or like? Only because nobody told me how it looks before....

If you want to know more, please feel free to read the About - section. And if you are interested in the experience itself, please visit the Articles - section, where I write about all sorts of things related to photography, equipment, as well as picture-taking technique, or the Reviews - section, where I share my impressions about cameras, lenses and other equipment, always with the goal to tell you my personal impressions during my personal usage in my personal shooting-style and to create my personal-style photos.

In the future, I'll be permanently adding to all these sections and post any news and updates here on the main page.




A word about supporting this site

I don’t run this site to earn money. I have a real job to earn my living with, a completely normal job. Since everything I write about here I have bought myself, for myself and with my own money from normal shops or ebay-sellers to actually use it, how much and what I am able to write about , depends on the amount of money that I can save and invest in equipment with good conscience. I share all this, because I want to, not to sell it. But when you find this helpful, maybe even as helpful as buying a magazine or book, of course you can support me, if you want. Your benefit is, that you help me being able to afford things to write about here.

You can use the “Donate” – button on the left to directly send a small amount of money (or a big amount, if you insist). You don’t need a paypal account to do so, every method is possible. If you decide to donate 99 cents, I’m thankful for it, because 10 people being as kind as you, make one new filter tested!The default currency is US $, but it works well with € or nearly any other currency, too.

But even more simple and without any cost or other disadvantage at all it is, to simply use this link to Amazon (or the one on the left) before buying anything there. For you it’s exactly the same as going there directly by typing the web-adress in your browser, you just klick this link first! It doesn’t matter, what you buy or where in the world you buy it, be it underpants, a pen, a cupboard, a lens or a Leica M9, be it in Germany, the USA, the UK or Australia: Amazon’s servers simply realize, that you came there through the link on my page and I get a small percentage of anything you buy FROM THEM. There’s absolutely no cost or other disadvantage for you, Amazon simply pays for my “advertisement” through this. I originally didn’t want to ever do any advertising personally. But then I decided to break this rule for Amazon. I’m a completely satisfied customer and buy everything from them. It’s the only shop in the world I would personally and on my private basis really rate a complete 100% in every regard. They have perfect service, even do call you back, answer emails with real, personal writing, extremely fast delivery even on Christmas-day, always perfect and completely new items, are never considerably more expensive than the very cheapest internet-sellers, have an extremely fast refund-system without being picky or having ever displeased me in any way and sell every good I have ever wanted to buy. They work on a completely different level than any retailer I have ever tried, and deliver it directly to me, without robbing me time and money to drive to the city or mall. I wouldn’t advertise them, if I wasn’t convinced, that it is OK to do so.