Huawei Ascend P7 Camera Impressions

May 10, 2014

In this post I want to talk about the Huawei Asscend P7 rear-facing and front-facing cameras. I have to say that as an enthusiast photographer, I am happy to see how mobile photography has improved over the years. Having said that, I had enough or those prime lenses on many Android phones (Apple’s too :) ) and wished that someone would come with a technology that will finally allow optical zoom in those mobile devices. No, I am not talking about the lossless digital zoom as in the Nokia Lumia phone. I’ve heard that there are some flexible lens technologies under development, but nothing for the consumer’s market yet.

Oh well, The Huawei Ascend P7 camera won’t take mobile photography to a new era, but it doesn’t have two very nice cameras/lenses nevertheless.  The Ascend P7 features two cameras:

Huawei Ascend P7 rear-facing and front-facing cameras

Huawei Ascend P7 rear-facing and front-facing cameras

  • 8MP front facing camera – 5-lens construction, including aspherical lens (reduce distortions), f/2.4 aperture lens, 1.4 μm pixels, blue flass infrared sensor (reduce purple fringing, object deformation and enhanced the image),
    Back illuminated sensor (4th generation BSI), panorama function, 10 level auto-facial enhancement in  beauty mode, mirror function (selfie preview: large image with small thumbnail at the top-right corner)
  • 13MP rear facing camera – 5-lens construction, Sony Back illuminated sensor (4th generation BSI), 28mm (equivalent) f/2.0 aperture aspherical lens + LED Flash

The camera has a 5 inch 1920×1080 pixels (Full HD) resolution and 445ppi, has a micro SD card slot, 4G LTE connectivity and IMAGESmart 2.0 software. The camera has an “Ultra Snapshot” function, enaat allow the user to get a photo quickly at 1.2 seconds after double-clicking the down volume button when the phone is in locked mode. That instead of spending time to unlock the screen first and launch the camera app.

The Panorama selfie feature will help you get gorgeous group selfie photos using the front camera. Huawei calls this “groufies”. The Ascend P7 supports 1080p full HD recording as well.

Another nice feature, although not original, is called “Voice photo”, which takes photos alongside 10-second audio. This create a short clip with the ambient sound that makes each photo more memorable, exciting and unique.

The Huawei Ascene P7 utilizes a a proprietary DSLR-level Image Signal Processor (ISP) that dramatically improves and enhances image quality and definition, reduce noise and helps produce a clear and vibrant image every time, especially in low-light situations.

I am very excited that Huawei have decided to give a great deal of importance to the front-facing camera, most companies didn’t do that. This is probably due to the popularity of selfie shooting, and I am sure that the other leading phone manufacturers will follow. Capturing a selfie with the rear-facing camera is very not convenient.  Some phones forced people to use the rear camera because the lack of front-facing camera or because the front-camera image quality was very poor. There were innovations in the past, like using an articulating camera, like the one on the Oppo  N1 smartphone. I personally prefer the rotating camera because you get to enjoy the full benefits of the main camera (which is in almost all cases technologically better and more advanced) and enjoy a flash for the front-facing camera as well, not just the rear-facing camera.

The Huawei Ascend P7 also feature a wide range of controls, including white balance and noise reduction settings, individual focus select point and exposure metering. The idea was to give photographers better control over the camera settings, a thing that is usually taken from them with many smartphones today. Yes, you do have plenty of image editing apps, but sometimes you just want to have the ability to control the camera like in a DSLR. The P7 takes you much closer to that.

The P7 also incorporates a watermarking and audio tagging feature, as well as built-in camera filters.

The P7 uses a 2500 mAh lithium polymer battery and uses a unique battery saving technology, and a smart power management function that further helps the phone to operate longer on a single battery charge. If you are worried that the camera..oops sorry.. the phone , will get, rest assured that with the thermal gel colling system the Ascent P7 will keep itself coo when running apps and games.

Image Quality, Hw Good is it?

The Ascent P7 camera looks great on paper, but I wanted to see how good the image quality really is. The first thing I did was to search for some Huawei Ascend P7 1080p sample videos. Luckily GSM Arena has uploaded some samples to YouTube, here’s a 1080p video sample.

I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, the video quality is very good, and the color reproduction is superb. I’ve seen sample videos from many smartphones, but it’s not obvious that you get such a natural color rendition from a camera phone.

The fast F2.0 aperture really helps in low-light shooting. This is also true to the front-facing camera, that uses a f2.4 aperture lens and also has a sensor with relatively large pixels (1.4 microns), allowing more light to be gathered in each photodiode site on the sensor, therefore enhancing the low-light capabilities of the camera.

On the negative side, I am quite disappointed now seeing a Xenon flash, which certainly help being many low-light scenes to life. There isn’t any 4K video recording and that the front-lens is not faster as the rear one.  I think that if we compare the P7 to other smartphones on the market, the P7 does offer a great photographic package overall, especially the front 8MP camera that I’ve sure will be favorable among the selfie lovers out there.

The use of 5-glass elements and asphetical lens in the front camera will help to minimize distortions, which is essential for selfie shooting with a wide-angle lens. With a wide-angle lens you can get more of your face and your surrounding in the photo, without needing the put the camera further away from you. The problem is that if the lens is very close to your face, distortions can occur, making you look.. well.. funny. Sometimes this is just what people are looking for, but in general, people don’t want to appear distorted, so the use of advanced optics will help minimize those distortions.

After viewing many sample images on leading phone review websites, I was very impressed with the image quality in both daylight and low-light.  The camera did overexposed as times, but the image turned out sharp, contrasty with accurate colors and very good color reproduction. The P7 handles exposure very well, even when shooting against bright frontal light source. The overall basic rendition gives the essence of a non-processed image, something that reminds me of an image that I get with my DSLR.  Images are not oversaturated at all, the color looks very natural for both blue and greens as you can see in this image on

Both cameras did a very good job rendering warm and natural face tones that compliment selfie/portrait pictures.

I think that Huawei went with a smart move focusing in improving the front-facing camera for the millions of selfie enthusiasts out there.  It did it with both an improved hardware and software, and I am sure that many people will appreciate this effort. It’s not a revolutionary camera, not at all, but it certainly an expected move, and I’m sure that other companies will follow this new ‘selfie’ trend as well with improved front cameras.

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