Chinese firm first to launch smartphone with periscope zoom and Leica quad camera

The Huawei P30 Pro is the first smartphone to have a 5x periscope-like optical zoom and four cameras on the back.

Stepping up the smartphone camera wars another notch, the latest flagship smartphone from the Chinese firm at the centre of a political storm looks to raise the bar not only for camera quality but also flexibility.

The previous Huawei P20 Pro had three cameras on the back with a 3x optical zoom. The £899 P30 Pro adds an extra depth-sensing time-of-flight (TOF) camera for improved portrait and augmented reality modes, joining the main 40-megapixel camera and a 20-megapixel ultrawide angle camera. The company says its new SuperSpectrum camera is capable of absorbing significantly more light for dramatically improved low-light performance, an area of smartphone photography the company dominates alongside Google.

But it is the new eight-megapixel SuperZoom camera, which like a periscope uses a prism to reflect light down the inside of the width of the phone to make room for the required series of lenses for a 5x optical zoom, that is the most interesting.

“We’re going to completely rewrite the rules of smartphone photography, and we can do this because we own the complete ecosystem within the smartphone. All the little elements, not just the camera,” said Peter Gauden, the company’s global senior product marketing manager, talking about the use of Huawei-made processors and other chips.

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