Huawei and Leica, done. The German has been associated with Xiaomi for several months. The Chinese brand, known for the performance of its smartphones in photos, therefore continues its work inside, and now awakens Xmage, which corresponds to the combination of hardware and software in its terminals. With its Mate 50 Pro, the brand above all inaugurated the concept of variable aperture, between f / 1.4 and f / 4, applied to its wide-angle optics.
Main module: 50 megapixels, f/1.4-f/4, eq. 24mm
The Mate 50 Pro seeks to distinguish itself from ordinary smartphones through an original system: a variable aperture at the mechanical level, and not just simulated by software processing. If it is possible to adjust it manually, either in the “Aperture” menu, or in the “Pro” capture mode, it is possible – and more common – to take advantage of it every day, since the option is activated from immediately. Depending on the lighting conditions, the smartphone therefore navigates between f / 1.4, as in the case of our images recorded in low light, and f / 4, in direct sunlight. This aperture is also used to vary the background blur effects, many intermediate levels (at f/2, for example) are available.
Facing an excellent photophone, the Find X5 Pro also has a 50 megapixel sensor that delivers 12.5 Mpx shots thanks to pixel binding, the Mate 50 Pro hits the mark. Images are very detailed, textures are well rendered and colorimetry is very natural. The periphery of the image also has the merit of being sharp and less distorted. It is bad that the smartphone loses points in the sad details: in some standards, it stumbles and fails to faithfully restore the contours of small elements. This is the case with our colored marbles, which produce difficulties, or text lines.
These difficulties in handling the outlines of small elements are even more visible at night, and flat areas of color show some artifacts. Nevertheless, the overall sharpness is convincing and the colorimetry is natural.
50 megapixel mode
It is possible to take advantage of each of the photosites of the main sensor to get shots of 50 megapixels. Without the treatment carried out during the pixel bindingday and night, it is clear that this mode lacks interest, the shots lose quality.
Ultra-wide-angle module: 13 megapixels, f/2.2, eq. 13mm
If the most expensive smartphones, such as Oppo’s Find X5 Pro, opt for specific sensors in relation to pixel binding for their ultra wide-angle modules, the Mate 50 Pro prefers a “simple” 13-megapixel sensor, which scares us with the low quality. The results proved us wrong, because the sharpness is satisfactory to say the least, despite some elements suffering from less successful processing and some imperfections in the periphery of the image. The colorimetry is fair and the level of detail, despite a bit of smoothing, is high to say the least.
The lowlights are of course more difficult to manage for the smartphone, which nevertheless manages to offer results comparable to the Find X5 Pro – which however, remember, is content here with a 12.5 Mpx image. Smoothing can be seen, as well as distortion and color distortion in the corners of the image, although we can have a global distortion at the edge of our scene.
Finally, it should be noted that the ultra-wide-angle module is also used to take successful macro shots.
Telephoto module: 64 megapixels, f/3.5, eq. 90mm
The third photo module of the Mate 50 Pro is dedicated to the telephoto lens. Its 64 megapixel sensor is accompanied by an optical equivalent of 90 mm by 24×36 mm, and offers 3.5x magnification compared to wide angle. A rather interesting set, which allows you to export 16 megapixel shots, without the possibility of going up to 64 Mpx. Compared to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, which is claimed to rely on a 10-megapixel sensor with 3x magnification, the Mate 50 Pro performs well, at least during the day. Sharpness is lower than wide angle, but the images are very usable.
At night, however, the image is overwhelmed by a present smoothing, artifacts, less accurate contours and unnatural colorimetry. We will leave you with the comparison of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, whose 10 megapixels do not make the weight, in low light, with a higher definition. However, facing the Find X5 Ultra and its 2x magnification, the Mate 50 didn’t do too badly.
Front module, portrait and video mode
Two sensors on the front, but only one is functional. It is a 13 megapixel ultra wide-angle, which is here combined with a 3D ToF sensor used for depth of field. The quality of selfies is very good. Exposure and tone are respected and the level of detail is excellent. Like any good Chinese smartphone, you need to pay attention to the beauty tricks that can be activated by default and that will change your features by smoothing your skin, for example.
For portraits, the Mate 50 Pro takes advantage of the wide-angle variable aperture. For this, it is not enough to go to the dedicated mode, but go to the so-called “opening”. With 4 different apertures (f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8 and f/4), you can have more or less improved bokeh, without any software intervention, such as usual in smartphones. There is also a “virtual aperture” mode that ranges between f / 0.96 and f / 16. For the same value of the shot, it is better to choose for portrait mode at f / 1.4 or virtual aperture at f / 1.4 as well. At f/0.95, the background is too blurry to give any natural results. If you want to choose the physical aperture of f / 1.4, you need to get closer to your subject. Just like a real camera.
In terms of video, the latest Huawei allows capturing 4K at 60 fps max, at 1080p up to 480 fps or even at 720p at 3840 fps. The presence of optical stabilization (OIS) in wide angle and telephoto, assisted by electronic stabilization (EIS) allows the smartphone not to suffer from vibrations when filming. A person tracking feature is also integrated so you don’t miss your target.