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Huawei responds to P30 Pro’s Moon Mode controversy

The Huawei P30 Pro has an impressive camera that’s capable of 10X hybrid zoom and it can push all the way to 50X in digital mode. It was recently alleged that its “Moon mode” is doing more than just improving the image using AI. Instead of enhancing the image, the phone was accused of replacing the moon with an existing picture. The folks at Android Authority had reached out to Huawei and the Chinese smartphone maker has issued a statement.

Huawei P30 Pro Moon Mode

Huawei has responded to the allegation and they refuted the claims from the experiment. Below is an excerpt of the statement to Android Authority:

Moon Mode operates on the same principle as other master AI modes, in that it recognizes and optimizes details within an image to help individuals take better photos. It does not in any way replace the image – that would require an unrealistic amount of storage space since AI mode recognizes over 1,300 scenarios. Based on machine learning principles, the camera recognizes a scenario and helps to optimize focus and exposure to enhance the details such as shapes, colors, and highlights/lowlights. This feature can be turned on or off easily while taking a photo. While there is a Moon Mode, the shot can still be taken without AI mode because of the periscope lens.

In a nutshell, Huawei emphasised that they do not replace the image when you’re taking picture of the moon. It uses AI to recognise a scenario and then apply its own tweaks and optimisation to make the image better. A couple of weeks ago, we managed to capture the moon with impressive results. Below are some samples taken with and without AI enabled on the P30 Pro.

You can watch an on-screen video from our photoshoot below. The first shot was taken without AI enabled and this means there’s no extra post-processing involved. Be warned that the video contains strong language.

If the allegation were true, it wouldn’t have captured the half covered moon the way we see it with our own eyes. On top of that, we also get a similar resemblance of the moon with and without AI enabled. It is clear that the P30 Pro applies excessive sharpening and colour tweaks to make the moon look better.

The possibility of capturing a moon this clear is the result of computational photography. AI is seen as the next advancement for photography since there’s so much a compact lens and sensor could do.

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We’ve already seen this happening with AI-assisted bokeh and it has also contributed significantly for Night Mode which combines long exposure and machine learning to capture beyond what our eyes can see. From our experience with Google’s Night Sight and Huawei’s Night Mode, we are impressed with what you can do from today’s smartphone camera.

Also not forgetting is AI beautification, where most selfie-centric smartphones are capable of enhancing desirable facial elements while reducing flaws like wrinkles, blemishes and freckles.

While we can’t repeat what the expert has claimed about the P30 Pro’s moon mode, we are more inclined to think that the special mode is probably doing the same trickery as AI beautification. The final photo may not look exactly the same as the actual person in real life but AI can enable you to capture a better-looking picture of the same individual.

What do you guys think? Do you still think Huawei is replacing the moon with an image? Let us know in the comments below.

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Alexander Wong