Huawei P50 Pro + to achieve 10-20x continuous optical zoom: a new era of mobile imaging

Just to set the scene, let’s see what we have to be thankful for when it comes to Huawei’s camera contributions to the world of smartphones:

And that only focuses on the camera technology. Otherwise, the list would have been longer if we had factored in things like the UTS fingerprint reader and reverse wireless charging.

So what’s the point I’m trying to make? Well, Huawei is raising the bar when it comes to smartphone photography. It has been for a long, long time. While some of these technologies would certainly have found their way into Apple, Samsung, Google, and other devices anyway, Huawei’s role was to disrupt the market and take it about two steps / years forward.

This is why the The Huawei P50 series could prove to be more important (to industry and the consumer) than you think.

Huawei P50, P50 Pro and P50 Pro +: What is the “new era of mobile imaging”?

It’s very easy to say that the camera is the priority of Huawei phones, but what parts of the camera experience are we talking about exactly? What will help are the trends seen on previous Huawei devices, or in other words – what Huawei has done so far with the “P” series, as well as some leaked information that we have.

Huawei P Series

  • Low light photography (night mode, RYYB sensors, large apertures, etc.)
  • Zoom – 3x, 5x, 10x, 20x, 30x, 50x, 100x with telephoto, periscope and dual-curvature telephoto lenses
  • Huge camera sensors to collect more light and create better depth in photos (bokeh)

Huawei Mate Series

  • Video capabilities – dedicated video / cinema camera; portrait video; low light video enhancements
  • Also, often all of the “P” series

Specifications of Huawei P50, P50 Pro and P50 Pro + cameras

  • Huawei P50: 50MP IMX 707 (4in1 bixel binning) 1 / 1.28, main sensor f1.7 + 3x optical zoom + ultra-wide
  • Huawei P50 Pro: Sony IMX800 1 / 1.18 sensor – main and / or ultra-wide camera + zoom
  • Huawei P50 Pro +: Sony IMX800 1 / 1.18 sensor – main and / or ultra-wide camera + zoom

We cannot confirm that the information is 100% reliable. However, it aligns with the previous rumors. In fact, the information from the Sony 707 sensor on the P50 is new, while the The Sony IMX800 leaks started in 2020.

Anyway … Here is what emerges from these leaked specs / rumors:

  1. No 1 inch camera sensor for P50 series
  2. Perhaps the best ultra-wide-angle camera on the market thanks to a huge sensor that catches a lot more light
  3. Huawei is hiding something special

Although the Sony IMX 800 is the largest sensor available on a smartphone outside of Japan, it is still not a 1-inch sensor, so Huawei cannot claim this record – it belongs to the Sharp Aquos R6.

Given that Huawei is supposed to jump on a 1-inch camera sensor and quietly upgrade its ultra-wide-angle cameras to the best in the market, what could this “new era of smartphone imaging” claim? ? related to?

Come closer: Huawei’s love of zoom

The “P” series pioneered 3x, 5x and 10x optical zoom cameras with double the “hybrid zoom” capabilities for lossless quality at higher magnification. So, unless the Chinese tech giant has something completely different to surprise us, we go for the zoom!

From all the images, renders and official video teasers of the Huawei P50 series, it’s pretty much certain that the phone we’ve been seeing all along is the Huawei P50 Pro. We can say that the bottom plate of the P50 Pro is extraordinarily large – as big as the top plate of the camera which houses a total of three sensors!

Therefore, it makes sense that the lower one is reserved for a special zoom system – perhaps a 5x periscope zoom camera, which is sort of confirmed by the official teaser video which says:

“VARIO-SUMMILUX-H1: 1.8-3.4/ 18-125ASPH.

In other words – f1.8-f3.4 aperture (ultra-wide periscope camera) and focal length 16-125mm (ultra-wide periscope camera). Keep in mind that this includes the main camera, as well as the mid-range zoom camera, but their specs are still under wraps.

Huawei P50 Pro +: A New Era of Mobile Imaging with 20x / 10x Continuous Optical Zoom?

As we know, the Vanilla P50 will be slightly degraded compared to the P50 Pro – it always has been. But what we also know is that for two years Huawei has always kept the best for its most expensive flagship – the “+” model – remember the Huawei P40 Pro +, and Huawei Mate 40 Pro +?

Obviously, Huawei has kept the Plus model a secret for a reason. Since the Chinese company is going to call this the “new era of mobile imagery,” we’re definitely going to have a big surprise.

What about “continuous zoom”? Too ambitious? Perhaps. Possible? If you are as ambitious as Huawei, you probably are! In fact, Sony has already done it! Well almost.

Sony’s Xperia 1III introduced a single optical element that physically moves inside the camera system, switching between two focal lengths – 70mm-105mm, or just 3x optical magnification – 4.4x. What this actually does on the Xperia 1III is eliminate the need for two telephoto lenses. Be careful, it does not offer continuous zoom between the two focal lengths, as some might think!

It’s rather confusing, for one important reason – Sony’s marketing material for the Xperia 1III actually shows a moving element in the zoom camera, like periscope lenses moving smoothly. However, the Xperia 1III goes from 3x to 4.4x like any other smartphone. We’re not sure what Sony did there, but it looks like they were about to zoom continuously but then they… right ?!

Either way, we believe a similar affair could take place inside the Huawei P50 Pro +. What exactly would the zoom look like? Well, a recent hot leak of Weibo said… 20x optical zoom in and 200x digital zoom.

Does this confirm that the zoom is going to be continuous? Another to run away points to “new 10x continuous telephoto zoom, liquid lens, Freeform Ultra-Wide Cine” certainly says it, but as you can see it mentions 10x continuous zoom and not 20x zoom. The same tweet indicates that the Huawei P50 Pro + could also be fitted with a liquid lens, making it possible to take macro photos without the need for a macro camera. Keep in mind that the source is not exactly established, so take it with a grain of salt.

Either way, Huawei will certainly need all the space in the world to achieve this, as the body of the smartphone is small enough to accommodate such ambitious technology. Again, remember that no one thought Huawei could bring 5x and 10x optical zoom to a smartphone either, but they did!

Either way, even the possibility of this technology becoming a reality makes the sounds really exciting! 20x optical zoom or continuous zoom at a shorter distance would be as close to dedicated camera technology as smartphones have ever come, and I’m so excited to see if that will become a reality.

Meanwhile, Samsung, apple, and Google will certainly have a lot to think about if Huawei manages to achieve this. As a Samsung customer, for example, I wouldn’t be happy to miss out on such an innovative feature.


  • Pixel 6 Pro / XL: 50 MP main camera, 5x periscope camera, ultra wide-angle camera
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max: 12MP main camera, 2.5x telephoto camera, enhanced ultra-wide-angle camera

Will big dogs change their plans because of Huawei? We have seen it happen before. While it is too late for the Pixels 6 Pro / XL and iPhone 13 Pro Max, we certainly think Samsung can’t wait to see Huawei’s new phone just in case, you know … it’s doing something crazy.

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