I shoot all the images for LLG and my social platforms on smartphones; I simply don’t have the space or the muscles to cart around my huge DSLR camera kit for on the fly images in restaurants, hotels or when I am out and about on stories for the blog. Equally, when I am recipe testing or cooking at home, I don’t usually have the time or the space to set up my home studio with tripod and laptop relays.
It’s just much simpler to just point and shoot with the ‘phone in my pocket, hoping that I capture a good, sharp picture; because I’ve never had the patience to download images to my laptop, edit on PhotoShop, and upload again to my ‘phone, I rely a great deal on getting a great image straight out of the camera.
However, one of the biggest issues I face when taking images indoors and at night is light: most images are unusably dark as shot, and can therefore often look grainy and out of focus when lightened in post; trying to add light in the moment using a flash just casts a horrible white light over everything. Equally, when you want to get an image uploaded quickly, or you are are on a deadline, the last thing you want to do is have to play around with editing tools.
So this brings me to my latest tech acquisition – the Huawei Mate 10 Pro which came out in England on Friday, with an inspiring campaign entitled I am What I do, which showcases how AI technology can enrich people’s lives and help people do great and life enhancing things.
The smartphone uses AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning to tailor itself to individuals’ needs and behaviours and, as Huawei want the Mate 10 Pro to empower people through the use of its technology, I was given the opportunity to test the new phone to see how its technology could help enhance my life.
It looks beautiful, with its sleek, rounded corners, and 3D glass body with a barely-there bezel, HUAWEI FullView Display and HDR10 supported technology which aims to produce intensely vivid, and brighter colours, clarity and depth but I was mostly concerned to discover if it lived up to its billing as a kickass camera – one that really can stand up to a DSLR on the move.
It has a host of features that made me sit upright with interest: it contains a new Leica Dual Camera with SUMMILUX-H lenses, with both featuring an aperture of f/1.6 and, because it’s been built with the world’s first AI processor for smartphones, the new device is packed with intelligent photographic algorithms to help take the perfect image.
The Mate Pro 10 recognises the character of different scenes and objects, and automatically adjusts colour, contrast, brightness, exposure and more to produce vibrant, sharp, perfectly framed photographs. The different modes include Food, Flower, Plant and even Dog mode (HELL-O), while the bokeh effect automatically focuses the subject and blurs the fore- and background. It also has Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) built in to capture more light and help to keep everything in focus.
Last week I used the ‘phone to shoot in extremely low light at a Huawei supper party at Dirty Bones in Soho. The venue is exactly the kind of place in which I hate taking food photographs in the evening. It’s very dark, with absolutely no natural light, and light sources that cast shadow in all the wrong places. Usually I wouldn’t even bother trying to shoot an image for either the blog or Instagram because they would be muddy and grainy.
Was I impressed? Yes, I really was. Both the chocolate sundae image at top, and the Negroni below are straight out of the Mate Pro 10 with absolutely no editing whatsoever. They are as I took them. It’s hard to believe just how dark the room was when you look at these images; I was using the intuitive ‘Food’ setting, which is designed automatically to bring out the richness and colour of food and thanks to that and the OIS, the colour balance was perfect: no grain, no blur, no colour distortion, and a perfect bokeh in the background.
After supper I took the Huawei Mate Pro 10 for a walk along Regent Street to see the Christmas lights. Again, trying to photograph artificial lights at night usually results in a lot of blur and distortion, but I was very impressed with the clarity of the image, especially when you consider the sheer amount of competing light sources in the picture.
The next morning I used the Mate Pro 10 to shoot the view from behind several layers of reinforced glass from the 29th floor of the Shangi-La Hotel in The Shard. I’ve often photographed the view from the Shard but I’ve never been able to get a proper crispness and focus to my pictures until today, and I was extremely pleased with these, not least because the ‘phone really captured the colour contrast in a way that my usual ‘phone just could not (it bleached out the blue from the sky).
It’s also fascinating to know that, along with its Leica lenses, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro contains Kirin 970, the world’s first AI processor for smartphones with a dedicated Neural Network Processing Unit (NPU) meaning the phone thinks and learns like the human brain, helping to improve performance and efficiency.
And an added bonus is that for anyone struggling with battery issues whilst out all day, the phone has HUAWEI SuperCharge, which means a single, safe, 20-minute charge can supply a whole day’s power.
The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is available from www.carphonewarehouse.com/huawei/mate-10-pro
For more information about the Mate 10 Pro, please visit: consumer.huawei.com/uk/phones/mate10-pro