Since hitting the big time in the mobile photography game a couple of years ago, Huawei’s upcoming smartphones have seen intense speculation about their cameras in the lead-up to launch. That’s made ever more interesting this year by the company’s very public troubles with the US over technology licencing.

At this point, we’re pretty sure that Huawei is planning to launch the Mate 30 later this year. Whether it runs Android, Hongmeng, Ark OS, or something else is a bit beside the point for today – let’s talk cameras.

We’ve seen some wild speculation on this, ranging from four to six cameras, hexagonal arrays (hmmmm, that one might not be so weird), time of flight sensors and more.

That’s probably not it.

A new leak today claims a far more reasonable and restrained camera setup – three cameras (that we know of), with an interesting configuration that builds on the P30.

If this is to be believed, the main shooter on the Mate 30 will remain a 40MP RYYB sensor with possibly an f/1.4 aperture lens for low-light photography. That’s too be paired with another 40MP sensor at f/1.7 with an ultra-wide field of view (120°), and a third “tele” sensor at 8MP with 5x zoom. For still photography, this is interesting and promising for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the RYYB sensor Huawei brought in on the P30 Pro produced some truly stunning low light performance. It makes sense that they would continue with such a feature.

A second 40MP sensor for ultra-wide photography would also allow the pixel-doubling effect that’s been used so successfully in the company’s recent cameras to be used in wide-angle shots. Currently, these shots lose a lot in low light scenes.

Finally, an 8MP sensor for 5x zoom seems a little bit of a step backwards from the P30 Pro’s experiments with its periscope-style zoom lens. There’s also however speculation of “liquid lens” technology making the camera still capable of delivering 50x zoom but without the periscope. “Liquid lens” technology seems more aimed at autofocus performance, but maybe Huawei and Leica have something special to surprise us here.

And what of the P30 Pro’s rear-facing Time of Flight sensor? We wouldn’t be surprised to see it get the cut, as it seems to only really have been used for AR measurement 🤷‍♂️

On the video front, there’s mention of “cine lens” features above on two of the cameras. This was spotted in a patent a couple of weeks ago by LetsGoDigital, and generally refers to lenses with surgical qualities for video production that are good for recording continuous motion and the like. Leica is known for such products.

LetsGoDigital also spotted a trademark application for the term SuperSensing. This seems an evolution of the term SuperSpectrum that was used to describe the P30 Pro’s camera earlier this year. Whether it’s more than just a marketing term to bundle up the device’s camera features remains to be seen.

Huawei usually launches Mate devices around October, but with the company’s stoush with the US still unresolved we’re unsure how that will affect things this year. The company’s 90-day reprieve runs out later this month and we’ll have a better idea of the Mate 30’s launch at that point.

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