The recently-launched Huawei P40 Lite is an impressive new entry to the mid-range smartphone market in South Africa.
Priced at R6,499, it offers excellent value with capable performance, and one component that makes it stand out from similarly-priced competitors – an impressive quad-camera setup.
This includes a 48MP main and 8MP ultra-wide lens, in addition to a 2MP macro sensor and 2MP bokeh lens.
We tested the P40 Lite’s camera system to see what kind of performance users can expect from the smartphone.
Our results showed that the P40 Lite shoots high-quality photos and videos in a wide range of environments.
One of the best measures of a camera’s performance is its ability to handle scenes with sharp shifts between dark and bright lighting.
Indoor environments often have softer lighting or allow for precise control of light sources, so we tested the camera in outdoor scenes with plenty of shadows and sharp light rays.
The main camera is capable of shooting at a resolution of 6,000 x 8,000 while in 48MP mode and can also add AI enhancements.
For our tests, we kept AI-powered improvements off and used the recommended 12MP mode, which delivers a 3,000 x 4,000 resolution.
The main sensor performed well in environments with sharp contrasts in light exposure and even handled the non-ideal scenario of shooting in the direction of the sun remarkably well.
Colours appeared vivid and punchy without losing accuracy, while plenty of detail was clearly distinguishable in both bright and dark spots of photos.
Textures of objects like tree bark, walls, grass, and leaves popped and were clear even when viewed from afar.
Below are unedited 12MP images taken with the P40 Lite’s main camera. Click on the photos to enlarge them.
While it doesn’t offer the same zoom capability as smartphone cameras with a telephoto lens, the P40 Lite’s 6x digital zoom is adequate thanks to the high pixel count of its main sensor.
The first three pictures show the same scene at 1x, 3x, and 6x zoom, while the following pair were shot at 1x and 6x zoom.
A feature which Huawei’s flagship smartphone cameras are reputed for is their incredible ability in low-light scenarios.
The P40 Lite’s main sensor sports a f/1.8 big aperture and ½ inch larger sensor, which are designed to let in extra light to cut down on noise and provide an improved dynamic range for sharper photos.
The P40 Lite employs AI Image stabilisation technology for its Super Night Mode, which means you don’t need to place the phone on a tripod or other stationary support structure to capture the long exposure shots needed to take detailed photos in low-light situations.
Users can hold the smartphone still for six seconds and the AI will compensate for any slight movements or shaking.
The following Super Night Mode pictures were taken at around 19:00. Note that this was before the moon appeared in the South African night sky.
These pictures revealed details in spots with bushes or trees, which were dark when viewed with the naked eye, in addition to showing clear lines on pavements and small shiny spots on roads.
Below are several photos taken with the P40 Lite’s Super Night Mode.
The P40 Lite comes with a 2MP Super Macro lens, which allows for snapping pictures of objects from as near as 40mm.
This is especially useful for taking detailed close-up images of objects to emphasise detailed patterns and textures.
We found this was particularly satisfying when shooting water droplets, coins, cloth materials, or even individual pixels on a computer display.
Below are images taken with the Huawei P40 Lite’s macro lens. Note that none of the images below have been zoomed, cropped, or sharpened in any way.
Selfie lovers will be glad to hear the 16MP front camera is excellent both in terms of colour reproduction and detail.
The unit uses AI to recognise lighting and shadows in the user’s surroundings in order to optimise photos to focus on the subject.
While there is no physical bokeh lens here, the front camera’s faux bokeh effect works well to create the impression of depth of field.
The selfie camera also supports night mode which takes only a second to capture, producing a crisper image than when using the standard photo or portrait mode.
More modes to try
The P40 Lite also offers a host of other photo and video modes which users may find useful and enjoyable.
Aperture Mode allows you to adjust the aperture from f/0.95 to f/16 to place emphasis on closely-located objects while blurring the background at various levels of intensity.
HDR mode enhances high dynamic range to enhance differences in colour and contrast.
Other modes include panorama, time-lapse, light painting, and pro mode, the latter of which enables full control over ISO, white balance and other settings.
Videos can be shot at 1080p HD at 30fps, while slow-motion video capture at up to 480fps is also available.
In short, the Huawei P40 Lite boasts powerful rear and front cameras to make it one of the best mid-range smartphones for photography at a price that won’t burn a hole in your wallet.