by Tony Karp

At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro

 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
The Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum. It's near Dulles Airport, in Sterling, Virginia. (Wide angle)

It's not that often that you get a chance to see into the future. For me, the last time was when I got my first digital camera, about twenty years ago. Auto-everything, 10x zoom, image-stabilized lens. Wow! Only two megapixels, but that was enough to see where things were headed.

My latest digital camera is a Sony RX100 M6. Very good, but not that much different from my first digital camera, as far as excitement goes. It's more evolutionary than revolutionary.

I just got a Huawei P30 Pro smartphone, and it's the future. Here's the bottom line: the P30 Pro can take pictures that the Sony RX100 M6 can't. Yes, the Sony is a fancy-shmancy camera, and the Huawei is a mere smartphone, but its four cameras can, in many ways, outperform a traditional camera.

The Huawei P30 Pro has:

+ A super-wide angle camera - 16mm equivalent. It's the widest lens I've ever used.

+ A main camera with a new type of sensor that can basically see in the dark. You can shoot just about anywhere.

+ A telephoto camera with a 135mm equivalent lens.

+ Enough smarts and AI to make it all work seamlessly together. In all the pictures I took on this venture, only a single one had the exposure wrong. All the others were pretty much dead on.

Without getting bogged down in specifications and pixel-peeping examinations, let's find out the real story. Field trip! Off to the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum, which is only about 10 miles from us, as the drone flies. It's a really tough photography environment, with things, large and small, crowded together, looking up and looking down. And it's poorly lit, mainly daylight coming through windows.

One other note. All of the pictures here are exactly as they came from the P30 Pro. No cropping or post processing.

 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
The museum is right next to the airport, so lots of airplanes. (5X tele)
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
The artist's muse waits patiently while I take another shot of the museum.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
This is the Enola Gay, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. I am old enough to remember listening to news bulletins on the radio that day. The plane in the foreground is a Lockheed P38 Lightning.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
A three-quarter view of the front of the Enola Gay.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
The nose of the Enola Gay. Looks a little bit like the Millenium Falcon.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
This is a Monocoupe 110 Special, an aerobatic stunt plane from the 1940s.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
A work from the museum's contemporary art collection.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
This is the hangar where they restore aircraft and make them new again. I wonder where everyone is.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
This is the space shuttle Discovery, which flew 39 successful missions.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
A slightly better view of the space shuttle Discovery.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
A close look at the space shuttle's nose, showing the heat-resistant tiles.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
A close-up of the tiles on the space shuttle.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
A tour guide explains the space shuttle for folks too young to remember it.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
This hallway is over three stories tall. You really need a super-wide lens to capture it.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
This is a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the world's fastest plane, seen from the side. It was buiult at the Lockheed "Skunk works" and has a skunk logo on its tail.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, more from the front, but still hard to photograph, even with the P30 Pro's super-wide camera.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
This is a US Navy N3N-3 seaplane. This is just one example of how good the color rendering on the P30 Pro is.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
The Huawei P30 Pro's super-wide camera makes it easy to take shots like this. I probably could have zoomed in a bit, to fill the frame.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
This is my favorite airplane. It's a Vought F4U Corsair and from this angle you can see its distinctive gull wings. Designed as a carrier-based plane, its wings fold upward so that more planes can be crowded together on a carrier deck.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
It's the Concorde! The last time I was here, I used a Panasonic FZ5, but I had to shoot it as a panorama to get the whole thing in. Here, it was easy with the P30 Pro's super-wide camera.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
This is the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer. In 2006, it made the first solo, nonstop flight around the world.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
This tiny thing is the result of a bet to build the world's smallest airplane.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
At the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum, the sky is full of planes.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
Another work from the museum's contemporary art collection.
 - At the Air and Space Museum with a Huawei P30 Pro -  - Huawei P30 Pro, Sony RX100 M6, Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum - - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
When travelling to new places, you should always try the native food.

Technical notes. I set the P30 Pro camera into the "Pro" mode in case I wanted to make adjustments to exposure, etc. In the end, I just let the camera do its thing so I would get some baseline of where the P30 Pro overexposed, underexposed, or got the white balance wrong. Surprise! Every shot was pretty much dead on, which also is a new thing for me.

On this trip, I also brought along my Sony RX100 M6 as a backup camera. I didn't use it. If you see the number of shots I made with the P30 Pro's super wide angle camera, you'll understand why.

If you look at the pictures above as the result of a magazine assignment, it's very possible that we've reached the point where this sort of thing can be done with a smartphone instead of a regular camera. I've been hearing this idea for years, but I think we may have reached the point where it's practical.

Add the fact that you now can have a very capable camera that's always with you. For me, it has expanded my photographic universe.

Alas, like any camera, the P30 Pro has its problems and frustrations (sounds like my wife's description of me). But that's for a future discussion. And my Sony RX100 M6 is going to be around for a while because it can do things the P30 Pro can't. Another thing for a future discussion.

Political note: I received my P30 Pro on May 8, 2019. Seven days later, Donald Trump signed an executive order that put Huawei into play as a bargaining chip in an ongoing trade dispute. The P30 Pro is not sold in the United States (I had to buy an "International" version with no warranty), but Huawei has to deal with American companies. No one knows how this lose-lose situation will end.

--

"You can have my Huawei P30 Pro, Mr. Trump, when you take it from my cold, dead hands."

- Paraphrase of a speech by Charlton Heston at the 2000 Republican convention.

Copyright 1957-2022 Tony & Marilyn Karp