The regular P20 uses its dual camera configuration to offer 20MP maximum resolution colour images using some clever software, or up to a 2x “lossless” zoom when shooting in the regular 12-megapixel mode.
The triple camera inside the P20 Pro consists of a main 40MP f/1.8 sensor, 20MP f/1.6 monochrome sensor, and an 8MP f/2.4 sensor with a telephoto lens set at 3x, complete with optical image stabilization (OIS). The regular P20’s main camera features a 12MP f/1.8 sensor, paired up with the same 20MP f/1.6 monochrome sensor as the Pro. Both handsets also boast a 24MP f/2.0 selfie snapper and should perform identically there.
Meanwhile, the P20 Pro offers up the full 40-megapixel shooting option from its main sensor or uses pixel binning to combine pixels for better light capture when shooting at 10 megapixels. There are also options for a 3x optical zoom and up to 5x lossless Hybrid Zoom at 10 megapixels. Both cameras also feature the same variety of shooting modes, including Pro, Portrait, Aperture, Night Shot, HDR, and more. Although in the Pro mode the P20 Pro’s telephoto camera is disabled, reverting to software rather than optical zoom.
The big question is whether the Huawei P20 Pro’s triple camera design offers up enough of a photography improvement to justify its higher price tag?
Overall at 2x, there isn’t a lot to tell between the two in terms of zoom capabilities. Both employ some interesting software that looks better than a regular digital zoom. I’d hesitate to call it anything close to lossless, as the quality varies substantially depending on the textures of the scene.
There are some more noticeable exposure, colour, and noise differences between the two. The P20 Pro consistently provides a cleaner presentation when pixel peeping. The addition of the Pro’s 40MP shooting option also bests the company’s own software in some situations, making it by far the better choice for those who can master the flexibility.
In the camera department, it’s a headache to untangle all the different possibilities. The bottom line is that the P20 Pro camera is certainly better, but the regular P20 offers 80 or 90 percent of the experience and quality — as long as you don’t zoom in past 2x.