Cameras

Then comes the cameras that are found in the HONOR View20. It comes with the fancy new Sony IMX586 sensor – which can take pictures at 48MP in resolution. With a bit of software magic, that sensor can do wonders.

HONOR View20

The HONOR View20 also comes with a secondary camera. It is actually a 3D TOF camera, similar to what we have seen on the OPPO R17 Pro that we reviewed here. However, HONOR already has all of the functions baked in and ready to go for the View20. We will show you more on that later.

HONOR View20
The 3D TOF camera is working!

Not only that, the HONOR View20 comes with 3 very special photography modes too – their iconic AI mode, then there’s the 12MP night mode that combines 4 pixels into 1, and also the new 48MP AI Ultra Clarity mode.

Here are the list of specs for the cameras found in the HONOR View20:

  • Rear-facing cameras
    • 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor with f/1.8 aperture lens; laser autofocus
    • 3D TOF camera
  • Selfie camera
    • 25MP f/2.0 with fixed focus

With all that said, all of the pictures shown in this review can be viewed in full size with all metadata at our Shutterfly album here. It is highly recommended since the HONOR View20 takes pictures in 48MP in size.

Rear-facing cameras

Let’s first take a look at a few shots taken with the HONOR View20. All pictures here are taken only with the 48MP sensor and that means that in the camera app itself, there are no fiddling around with which camera to use while taking certain shots. This one single Sony IMX586 sensor with a f/1.8 lens can take some amazing shots.

I also realized that taking pictures with the AI mode results in a much clearer picture overall. This patch of grass is taken in 48MP, and in AI mode, I can see the individual strands at full resolution.

In the usual HONOR’s AI mode fashion, colors are slightly more saturated, and the dark spots are brightened as well.

Obviously, the HONOR View20 is also good in taking indoor shots.

Then comes the night. I was “fortunate” enough as the electricity went out and . I compared the normal 48MP shot against the 12MP night mode shots and realized that there are some loss in details when 4 pixels were combined to create a single pixel while using the night mode.

Without night mode.
With night mode.

48MP AI Ultra Clarity mode

This is actually a brand new camera feature that was brought to the HONOR View20 about 2 weeks after we got the review unit. The pictures taken with this AI Ultra Clarity mode are actually very close to manual mode.

HONOR themselves recommend to only use AI Ultra Clarity mode on non-moving objects and sceneries that are brightly lit – either in a studio or outdoors when the sun is up. That is because it will take a few seconds to take the picture – like the night mode.

Here, we have 4 different pictures – all taken with different modes. Take a look at them.

Taken without AI or AI Ultra Clarity mode.
Taken with AI mode.
Taken with AI Ultra Clarity mode.
Taken in manual mode.

From these 4 images, we can see a huge difference in the final image that the HONOR View20 produces. The first image is without any AI or AI Ultra Clarity, which results in a darker image but retains many of the details of the controller, particularly the grainy texture.

AI mode on the other hand, creates a HDR-looking image instantly – which does show its weakness since the image was taken with just one snap. Hence, the image looks washed out and over-sharpened as well.

HONOR View20

Then comes the 48MP AI Ultra Clarity mode. This is indeed my favorite mode of all since it takes about 2~4 seconds to take a brightly-lit scene or object, but the result is stunning. From above, we can see that the HDR is done correctly and the entire image is lit evenly, yet retains the natural look of the details and gives an eye-pleasing amount of saturation to the colors. For some not-so-bright places, the AI Ultra Clarity mode can actually decrease the ISO automatically – hence decreasing noise as well.

As for the manual mode that we took as a reference. From here we can see that the dynamic range is retained but the colors are a little washed out. Of course, you can take RAW format images with the HONOR View20 on manual mode and put it in Snapseed or Lightroom to fine-tune it however you want – but that consumes a lot of time.

Hence, the 48MP AI Ultra Clarity Mode is here to combine a few modes together – HDR, a healthy amount of saturation, low noise, and narutal-looking details. All of these in its full 48MP glory.

3D TOF camera

As of now, HONOR does have a two games developed for demonstration that makes use of the 3D TOF camera. We do have a demonstration coming soon.

However, HONOR worked their creative juices and implemented a “body shaping” mode that is found within the portrait mode. Take a look at these two images where we compare the 3D TOF camera’s body shaping feature at zero and maximum levels.

Zero body shaping.
Maximum body shaping.

Selfie camera

Once again, I’m not much of a selfie fan. There are a few features worth highlighting here but from what I can judge, the selfie looks pretty good for social media. I mean, no one wants to see your pores up close, right?

Camera UI

The camera UI is pretty much the same in terms of design language and button layout. It works, though I do wish it is easier to jump between different modes.

HONOR View20 camera UI
The central hub for different camera modes. You can even download more modes, if you want to.

As for the Pro mode or manual mode, you can select ISO down to just 50 and shutter speeds from 1/4000s to 30s. For those who have a tripod for smartphones, then the HONOR View20 can definitely take some fantastic shots. You can take RAW format images too, by the way.

HONOR View20 camera UI

Then comes the 48MP AI Ultra Clarity option that is found within the resolution menu. It’s a little awkward to change between the basic 48MP mode and 48MP AI Ultra Clarity mode since I need to navigate to the resolutions menu each time. And each time I exit the camera app, it will automatically switch back to the basic 48MP mode.

HONOR View20 camera UI

Also, in the 48MP AI Ultra Clarity mode, all other buttons are locked. Flash, moving picture, and the AI buttons are automatically disabled, and a message on how to use the 48MP AI Ultra Clarity mode appears.

HONOR View20 camera UI

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Materials
9
Software
7
Connectivity and ports
8
Screen
9
Specifications
9
Camera
9
Battery and charger
8
Value
9
The enthusiastic nanoelectronic engineer who found his way into simplifying the world of tech for everyone. Introverted, but noisy. Nice to meet you!