Huawei Mate 50 Pro test: a success with a bitter taste

Huawei and Leica, it’s over. The German has been associated with Xiaomi for a few months. The Chinese brand, known for the performance of its smartphones in photos, has therefore resumed its work internally, and now evokes Xmage, corresponding to the combination of hardware and software in its terminals. With its Mate 50 Pro, the brand above all inaugurates 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. 24 millimeters

The Mate 50 Pro intends to distinguish itself from ordinary smartphones by an original system: a variable aperture at the mechanical level, and not simply 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 on a daily basis, since the option is activated from right away. Depending on the lighting conditions, the smartphone therefore navigates between f / 1.4, as is the case for our images recorded in low light, and f / 4, in direct sunlight. This aperture is also used to vary the effects of background blur, several intermediate levels (at f/2, for example) being available.

Faced with a very good photophone, the Find X5 Pro also has a 50 megapixel sensor delivering 12.5 Mpx shots thanks to the pixel grouping, the Mate 50 Pro hits the mark. The images are really detailed, the textures are well rendered and the colorimetry is particularly natural. The periphery of the image also has the merit of being sharp and not very distorted. Too bad the smartphone loses points on regrettable details: on certain patterns, it stumbles and fails to faithfully restore the contours of small elements. This is the case with our colored balls, which impose difficulties on it, or lines of text.

Oppo Find X5 Pro (12.5 MP, f/1.7, ISO 254, 1/462 sec)

Huawei Mate 50 Pro (12.5MP, f/2, ISO 50, 1/132 sec)

These difficulties in managing the contours of small elements are still visible at night, and the flat areas of color show some artifacts. Nevertheless, the overall sharpness is convincing and the colorimetry is rather natural.

Oppo Find X5 Pro (12.5MP, f/1.7, ISO 6848, 1/20s)

Huawei Mate 50 Pro (12.5MP, f/1.4, ISO 400, 1/25s)

50 megapixel mode

It is possible to exploit each of the photosites of the main sensor to obtain shots of 50 megapixels. Without the processing carried out during the pixel groupingday or night, it is clear that this mode lacks interest, the shots lose quality.

Huawei Mate 50 Pro

Huawei Mate 50 Pro

Ultra-wide-angle module: 13 megapixels, f/2.2, eq. 13 millimeters

When the most expensive smartphones, such as Oppo’s Find X5 Pro, opt for very defined sensors associated with pixel grouping for their ultra wide-angle modules, the Mate 50 Pro prefers a “simple” 13-megapixel sensor, which we feared would be of lesser quality. The results proved us wrong, since the sharpness is satisfactory to say the least, despite some elements of less successful processing and some imperfections on the periphery of the image. The colorimetry is fair and the level of detail, despite a little smoothing, is high to say the least.

Oppo Find X5 Pro

Huawei Mate 50 Pro

The low lights are of course more difficult to manage for the smartphone, which manages to offer results quite comparable to those of the Find X5 Pro – which however, remember, is satisfied here with a 12.5 Mpx image. Smoothing is visible, as well as distortion and color desaturation in the corners of the image, even if we can concede an overall distortion of the content around the perimeter of our scene.

Oppo Find X5 Pro

Huawei Mate 50 Pro (13MP, f2.2 ISO 1250, 1/11s)

Finally, it should be noted that the ultra-wide-angle module is also used to take quite successful macro shots.

Telephoto module: 64 megapixels, f/3.5, eq. 90 millimeters

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 to 90 mm in 24×36 mm, and offers a magnification of 3.5x compared to the 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 Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra, which admittedly relies on a 10-megapixel sensor with 3x magnification, the Mate 50 Pro behaves very well, at least in daylight. The sharpness is much less than at wide-angle, but the images are very usable.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra ((10 Mpx, eq. 70 mm, f/2.5, ISO 50, 1/100 s)

Huawei Mate 50 Pro (16 MP, eq. 3.5, ISO 125, 1/51 s)

At night, however, the image is burdened by a very present smoothing, artefacts, not very accurate contours and unnatural colorimetry. We will spare you the comparison with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, whose 10 megapixels can not do the weight, in low light, with a higher definition. Facing the Find X5 Ultra and its 2x magnification, the Mate 50 is not doing so badly.

Oppo Find X5 Pro

Huawei Mate 50 Pro (16MP, f/3.5, ISO 3200, 1/60s)

Front module, portrait and video mode

Two front sensors, but only one really usable. It is a 13 megapixel ultra wide-angle, which is here coupled with a 3D ToF sensor used for depth of field. The quality of the selfies is quite good. Exposure and tone are respected and the level of detail is very good. As with any good Chinese smartphone, you will have to pay attention to the beauty tricks that can be activated by default and which modify your features by smoothing your skin, for example.

For portraits, the Mate 50 Pro tire starts from the variable aperture on the wide-angle. For this, it is not enough to go to the dedicated mode, but rather to go to the one called “opening”. With 4 different apertures (f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8 and f/4), you can have more or less enhanced bokeh, without any software intervention, as is traditionally the case with smart phones. There’s also a “virtual aperture” mode that spans between f/0.96 and f/16. At the same shot value, it is better to opt for portrait mode at f/1.4 or virtual aperture at f/1.4 as well. At f/0.95, the background is really too blurry to offer any natural result. If you want to opt for the physical aperture at f/1.4, you will therefore have to get a little closer to your subject. As with a real camera photo.

On the video side, the latest Huawei allows capture in 4K at 60 fps max, in 1080p up to 480 fps or even in 720p at 3840 fps. The presence of optical stabilization (OIS) on the wide-angle and telephoto, aided by electronic stabilization (EIS) allows the smartphone not to suffer from tremors when filming. A person tracking feature is also integrated to allow you to never evaluate your target.

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