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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Huawei Honor 3C Camera Phone Test– From Food Photography to Travel Shots

I am pretty sure that many of you are itching to know how is this camera phone performed in multiple situations and lightings.

Read about what I think about the phone in first part of the review HERE.

Even though Huawei has been heavily promoting the selfie function of this 5MP front camera, I am of no interest in doing those vain selfie test shots for you. So those selfie lovers, sorry to disappoint you… BUT what interested me is the 8MP Sony BSI rear camera, F2.1 aperture, 28mm wide angle and 4cm capable macro lens.

For the span of 1 month, 3 countries, 19 hours flights and countless test shots from the Huawei Honor 3C camera in different condition; I gained an in depth understanding and admiration of how this affordable phone’s camera can do wonders in capturing the moment.

So how is this super affordable smart phone fares in the photography department?

Well I have to say it performed no less than impressive! I started off the grand slam of the camera test in a local restaurant. To emulate what many of the instagram or twitter food lovers do in the restaurant, I walked around the restaurant and took a few shots. The late morning in the restaurant with its cosy, shady interior pinned up against the very bright and harsh lighting from the outside is usually proved to be tricky for smart phone camera.

I quickly turned on the HDR mode and did a few test shots. honor test shot 1 watermark

The result – it’s really above my expectation. The dynamic range of the photo has been broaden by HDR and hence, manage to produce a good dedicated camera-like photo output. What astonished me is the noise level of the photo has been kept minimal too. I suspect that is the digital noise reduction in play but that doesn’t affect too much of the photo details.

For the Compulsive Food Photographic Disorder people, good news! You will be extremely happy to know that this Honor 3C scores well in taking close up food photographs.

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Just look at the photos above, the close ups are absolutely beautiful and noises are kept to a minimum. An adequate lighting helped though in those shots as I sat near the window in the late morning. However, I wish that I can have the option to control the aperture as I would love to produce from bokeh effect to the background.

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With the “smart” function turned on on the camera app, Honor 3C fares rather well in snapping eye pleasing photos whenever I go. The sunset photo taken in Kota Kinabalu is a prominent example of how well it handles scenery shots. The build in panoramic mode in the app works extremely well in auto stitching the shots. The result below does speaks for itself.

However, I noticed that you can’t turn on the HDR mode at the same time with the panoramic mode. Bummer. Another point that you need to be aware of is that the file size for the panoramic shot is extremely small in size, 326KB and dimension =1872 x 720 pixels. I suspect that it has been compressed. The size is absolutely fine for web viewing, but tough luck if you wish to print out your proud landscape shot to hang it in your living room.

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OK what about outdoor shots? I found that a camera phone is extremely useful when you saw that burst of the moment and it’s too late to flip out the DSLR from the bag. I demonstrated the moment while traveling in a coach through Taipei streets.

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I am yet again surprised by how snappy it is when the lighting condition is right – bright day light. Colour representative is accurate while it is a tad lacking in producing punching colour. That can be fixed through a bit of post processing in your favourite photo editing software OR change the mode in the camera app to “Normal” instead of “Smart”and fine tuning the contract and saturation.

Another tricky photography area is to take photos while you are in the flight. Harsh light, cloudy conditions tend to trick the camera sensors (even to some of the DSLRs) to underexpose the shots and wrongly set the white balance.

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I took multiple shots of the Hong Kong bird eye’s view through the flight and true enough, the Honor 3C was struggling to decide which settings are best for such tricky situations. However, it can be easily fixed with a change of the white balance and exposure compensation in the camera app in “Normal” mode.

SUMMARY:

Overall, I can’t emphasize this enough - for a sub RM500 camera phone, I wouldn’t expect it to work this well and it definitely exceeds my expectation! If you are planning to get one, do head to www.vmall.my and grab one during the sales period. The phone is one of the most value for money electronic gadgets I have purchased.

PROS: 

  • Fuzz free Smart camera app.
  • HDR function helps in colour dynamics
  • Low noise in brightly lit photos, even with HDR photos.
  • Panoramic mode is fun and easy to use. ( with my reservation on image size and output resolution)
  • Photographs result are so good that some might thought those are from a professional camera.

CONS:

  • Focusing of subject before shoot a little bit indecisive.
  • Let’s forget about low light or night landscape shoot. I have an image of Singapore night landscape shoot. It is hideous with noises pixels more than the average teenager’s pimples.
  • Can do with more Bokeh in close up images.