Huawei’s P30 Pro Gets One Step Closer To An All-Seeing Eye
Photography is most often a day job; at night, cameras are hindered by darkness that faces only weak adversary in moonlight, making for sad, grainy, colorless pictures. This has been the case for centuries. But, the phone company Huawei is working to change that with the release of its P30 Pro. Its camera is, in one word, revolutionary.
Its dual-sensor technology, whose implementation is already a mountain to climb for most companies, was not the end of the line for Huawei. They went a step further. Rather than using the “Bayer filter,” the RGB pixel setup universal for consumer cameras, they decided to develop their own. Huawei teamed up with esteemed optics manufacturer, Leica, to create RYYB color sensors: they replaced the green filters with yellow ones, an action justified by the fact that, in light, there is a greater range of yellow wavelengths, which is more information for their sensor to pick up.
This means they capture at a minimum 40% more light, leading to photos at any time being clear as day. With such a drastic improvement, Huawei hasn’t just increased the quality of late-night duck faces and food pictures; their new sensor has implications across the board. Bayer filters, which have rooted themselves in technology since the 1970s, must now be slowly phased out, meaning all sorts of image-processing programs, such as Adobe Lightroom (used for processing raw image data), must work to develop the processing necessary for RYYB images.
Huawei has been advancing camera technology for a while. Last year, their P20 had a camera with AI smart enough to recognize the context in the photo (flower, landscape, etc.), and the year before, they used the aforementioned dual sensors to capture depth-of-field for their P10, which had previously been an option only with expensive camera gear. While the RYYB sensor may be their proudest idea on the drawing board, it’s most certainly not the first.
Due to cameras’ incredible range of applications, it is hard to fully grasp the effects of this low-light advancement. Everyone will feel the shift, from the aspiring director filming a project indoors in dim lighting, to the dentist trying to inspect a spot in an image of a person’s tooth.
Even crime would find a harder time staying in the dark. Criminal activity is much more common in the nighttime when perpetrators find an easier time hiding; but, equipped with this technology, security cameras could clearly identify the culprits, and even, in a traffic violation, their license plates. And in the longer term, as cameras come closer to—and surpass—the human eye, they only add to the waves of technology making us nonessential. But even still, we’ll keep progressing. From the first controlled flame’s light until now, our vision has kept going farther and farther.
Written by Devaansh Mahtani & Edited by Alexander Fleiss & Derek Chiang