iPhone 11 Pro Max Vs. Huawei P30 Pro: Which One Takes Better Photos?

Dhir Acharya - Oct 18, 2019


iPhone 11 Pro Max Vs. Huawei P30 Pro: Which One Takes Better Photos?

When the Huawei P30 Pro was launched, it snapped better photos than all existing phones. But now that the iPhone 11 Pro Max is here, that may not be true.

When the Huawei P30 Pro was launched, it snapped better photos than all existing phone, and probably even better than the newly announced Google Pixel 4. The iPhone took better videos, but the P30 Pro had advantages with its quad-camera setup as well as features like 5x optical zoom. However, last month, Apple launched a new iPhone lineup, including the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. And although Huawei may add changes to the Mate 30 Pro, Apple has already done more than just closing the gap in photography between itself and the Chinese phone maker.

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In most areas, the iPhone 11 Pro Max has a clear win over the P30 Pro. But it’s not an easy one because Huawei’s candidate still wins in terms of features. In particular, the phone comes with 5x optical zoom, 10x hybrid zoom, and 50x digital zoom while the 11 Pro offers only 2x optical and 10x digital zoom. The standard iPhone 11, meanwhile, doesn’t have optical zoom.

However, to find out the real winner, let’s see both the phones in the following shootout, which was conducted by CNET.

Notes:

  1. The shootout is done using the iPhone 11 Pro Max, the most premium phone of the 11 lineup. However, apart from some zoom shots, the iPhone 11 could take the same pictures as the 11 Pro Max.
  2. The competition between the two companies isn’t done yet as Huawei is launching the Mate 30 Pro. But Apple is rolling out Deep Fusion, too, which will generate more detailed images with less noise.
  3. On the paper, the 11 Pro offers 4x optical zoom, the standard 11 offers 2x zoom. In practical terms, however, the Pro comes with 2x optical zoom and the standard iPhone 11 comes with 1x.

Portraits: iPhone pics are truer

The key difference between the iPhone and the P30 Pro is that Apple’s phone works to recreate what’s seen in the human eye while the P30 Pro works to improve upon that. Huawei’s candidate often generates photos that look like there’s a filter in them.

Of course, it boils down to your own preference. The Huawei P30 Pro seems to give your pictures with the sharpness and contrast ready for an Instagram post. However, photos by the 11 Pro Max often show more true-to-life colors as well as more detail.

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Portrait photos, iPhone 11 Pro Max (above) and Huawei P30 Pro (under)

As can be seen from these two photos, the one taken by the iPhone may look a little dull compared with that by the P30 Pro. But the P30 Pro’s photos are not as impressive once you notice how they look like they have been put through a filter. And if you look a bit longer, you will see that in the iPhone picture, the skin tone seems much more natural and the dynamic range is better too.

For the record, the subject didn’t move closer to the camera in the iPhone shot, the phone zoomed in automatically for Portrait photos.

In the following photos, however, both the iPhone 11 Pro Max and Huawei P30 Pro had trouble with the subject’s hair. But the photo taken by the iPhone looks warmer and more natural.

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Portrait photos, iPhone 11 Pro Max (above) and Huawei P30 Pro (under)

Below are pictures taken under the harsh sunlight. The P30 Pro’s photos not only have more muted colors, but the effect of the software also makes the subject’s skin sickly.

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iPhone 11 Pro Max (left), P30 Pro (right)

The two photos below look like they weren’t taken on the same day. With a closer look, you will notice that the P30 Pro has smoothed out some creases on his shirt.

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iPhone 11 Pro Max (left), P30 Pro (right)

Huawei P30 Pro doesn’t seem to keep it real

The difference in approach between the iPhone and the P30 Pro in photography is even clearer when it comes to regular photos. The pictures taken by Huawei’s phone are much more vibrant, but those taken by the iPhone are clearer and have more detail.

For example, the flowers in the images below seem outstanding in the P30 Pro’s shot at first, but the more you look into them, the more you’ll find that the flowers in the iPhone shot are more detailed. This is because the P30 Pro increases the contrast and adds blur for effect.

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iPhone 11 Pro Max (above) and Huawei P30 Pro (under)

Or in the following shots of a bowl of food. Once again, the P30 Pro’s photo shows more vibrant color and light, but in exchange for detail.

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iPhone 11 Pro Max (above) and Huawei P30 Pro (under)

The iPhone tends to produce warmer photos, but the white balance consistent is overall consistent. The P30 Pro, on the other hand, warms up its photos sometimes, but they mostly look far cooler than in real life.

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iPhone 11 Pro Max (above) and Huawei P30 Pro (under)

Huawei’s candidate captures amazing photos and generates some pictures with great focus. In fact, many people prefer photos taken on the P30 Pro, but the iPhone wins in terms of photo quality. P30 Pro’s shots are vibrant, but you can get easily with some simple tricks in editing tools or through Instagram filters. Meanwhile, you cannot get more detail through any editing tool.

Zoom

Both the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Huawei P30 Pro have great ultrawide-angle cameras, which has now become a common thing for all smartphones. The image below was taken on the iPhone.

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Ultrawide-angle photo, iPhone 11 Pro Max

Nevertheless, in general, the ultrawide-camera on the 11 Pro Max captures richer color while having fewer problems with exposure. For example, in the following image, there was too much light in P30 Pro’s shot, which will draw your attention before you notice more detail on either side. The photo taken by the iPhone, meanwhile, illustrates a dreamy blue sky.

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Once again, the software on the P30 Pro makes the photo sharp artificially and the photos are undersaturated. The iPhone takes deeper shots with more pleasant colors.

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However, sometimes the P30 Pro takes better photos than the iPhone, too, like in the example below where it shows better white balance and captures more detail on the mats.

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In terms of zoom, Huawei is the clear winner, which makes sense as the iPhone offers only 2x zoom while the P30 Pro offers 5x optical zoom. These sample photos were both taken at 5x zoom.

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Regarding ultrawide-angle cameras, both the phones do a great job, but the iPhone seems a tad better. But most of the time you won’t notice the difference in photo quality between the two phones.

Night mode

Last year, Huawei became the first firm to integrate a Night Mode into smartphones with the launch of the P20 Pro, which relies on software to make a low-light shot brighter while it’s being taken. Samsung and Google have since caught up with this trend, and it’s Apple’s turn now.

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While the iPhone is good at recreating the actual lighting conditions at night, the P30 Pro appears to capture more light. In the following photos, the Night Mode didn’t kick in. Huawei’s smartphone is the clear winner as it captured much more detail of the road as well as more light in the photo. Additionally, the noise reduction of the iPhone went a little too far. And then in the P30 Pro’s shot, you can see that it turned black into green in some areas. And either in Night Mode or standard, night shots taken on the P30 Pro seem to have artifacting, digital noise.

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However, when Night Mode kicks in, the iPhone captures more detail and lightens up the picture, and feels more natural. Also, you won’t see as many differences between iPhone’s Night Mode shots and P30 Pro’s regular low-light shots. But if we have to find a winner, the iPhone’s Night Mode still deserves a win.

All in all, in low-light conditions, Huawei’s phone captures light quite well, but it still goes overboard sometimes while the iPhone’s Night Mode helps capture more true-to-life photos.

The iPhone 11 has better cameras

The answer to who is the winner may depend on your own taste, whether you like photos that are truer to life or those that you may like more.

Though the Huawei P30 Pro takes sharper, more vibrant photos, the quality of the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s shots are higher with richer color and more detail.

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