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Honor Magic 4 Pro camera: Early impressions with the 'Eye of Muse'
The Honor Magic 4 Pro is quite the spec-heavy smartphone, and none more so than in the camera department. Sporting 50 megapixel primary and ultrawide image sensors, a 64MP periscope camera with a 3.5x optical zoom, laser autofocus, and a dedicated flicker sensor, there’s a pretty robust setup on offer here. Just bypass Honor’s frankly bizarre “Eye of Muse” nickname for the camera module, which I’m not even going to pretend to understand.
The proof on any great smartphone camera is in the images, so let’s take a first look at what the Honor Magic 4 Pro can do at Mobile World Congress 2022. If you want to check out the full-res samples yourself, you can find them stashed away in this Google Drive folder.
Honor Magic 4 camera specs
- Main: 50MP, f/1.8 aperture, 1/1.56″ sensor, PDAF, laser AF
- Ultrawide: 50MP, f/2.2 aperture, 1/2.5″ sensor, 122˚ field of view
- Zoom: 64MP, f/3.5 aperture, 1/2.0″ sensor, OIS, 3.5x optical zoom
- Selfie: 12MP, f/2.4 aperture, 100˚ field of view, 3D TOF sensor
Honor Magic 4 camera first impressions
Looking at the full-frame snaps, the Honor Magic 4 Pro nails the fundamentals. There’s solid white balance, bold yet realistic color hues, and mostly solid exposure across our samples. The subjects in a couple of the shots are perhaps a little underexposed, such as the fourth and sixth images, but not by enough to really complain about given the bright backgrounds.
Honor’s approach to color processing is punchy but not overbearing, a welcome relief in the days where oversaturation is starting to creep back into smartphone cameras. Sky blues are perhaps a little overdone but otherwise, there’s a pretty realistic presentation to be found here. Honor isn’t spotless in the processing department though, there’s a sharpening pass that you can spot by pixel peeping on the outdoor shot.
If you crop in on the images you’ll find some telltale signs of noise in the shadows, resulting from an image sensor that isn’t quite as big as the best in the business. Note the slight smudging on the brickwork on the left in the first image above. It’s certainly not enough to ruin the look of your snaps but something to note if you’re big on cropping in and editing. Likewise, the second and third snaps showcase the sharpening applied to the pictures, producing some harsh edges and messy-looking textures. These are both relatively minor problems that you have to pixel peep to notice but do reveal some limitations to this sensor and lens setup.
Read more: The best camera phones you can buy
The phone’s solid color and exposure capabilities carry over to more challenging lighting conditions. The Honor Magic 4 Pro balances the highlights on the shot below against detail in the darker areas of the scene very well. Crop in and you can even make out the small dials and some of the text on the distant camera, so there’s not too much noise in this image. It’s a very well-balanced shot, given the low lighting conditions.
Similarly, the shot above is an extreme HDR example of a lamp illuminating an otherwise dark stairwell. Although the colors are a bit off and the contrast is stretched owing to the low light (note the purple hues), the camera did a surprisingly good job picking out the detail on the lamp without blowing out the highlights or under-exposing the background. We’ll have to take a closer look at the phone’s low light and night capabilities but the early signs are auspicious.
See also: Photography aperture explained
Of course, the Honor Magic 4 Pro is equipped with ultrawide and 3.5x optical zoom cameras too. The former offers a fairly wide 122-degree field of view, enough to fit a lot more into your snap than the main camera. Daylight shots are again solid-looking in terms of exposure and color balance. Peeping closer at the ultrawide reveals some blurring and signs of lens correction at the edges of the camera. Fortunately, there are only tiny amounts of chromatic aberration in the sample below. However, the sharpening pass appears a little heavy if you crop in. It’s not the most aggressive I’ve seen from an ultrawide camera but it’s going to take the edge off your ultrawide snaps if you want to blow them up.
3.5x optical zoom certainly isn’t on the bleeding edge of long-range capabilities these days, and we’re certainly not buying Honor’s claims of 100x zoom being anywhere near usable. However, as you’d expect from a daylight shot, the 3.5x snap above is nice and clean. The colors are a little washed out compared to the main and ultrawide snaps, likely owing to less light captured from the narrower aperture and smaller image sensor. That said, the zoom camera holds up reasonably well at 10x as well, although we wouldn’t recommend zooming in much further than that before the quality degrades. 100x is a no-go. All in all, there’s a reasonably flexible range of shooting distances on offer here, although it’s not quite as competitive as the quad-camera sporting Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Rounding out our first impressions are a set of portrait and selfie shots. Once again, subject exposure is very good across all our pictures, even with a very tricky backlit selfie below. Skin tones and textures appear natural without too many signs of touchup or artificial enhancements. The selfie camera presents some noise in tougher lighting, but it’s not an issue and is preferable to a heavily processed look. The camera’s bokeh blur capabilities are particularly noteworthy from the front-facing camera. It’s not clear if the ToF sensor is helping out here at all, but the quality of the blur is excellent, and the edge detection, even around hairs, is up there with the best in the business.
Overall, early impressions of the Honor Magic 4 Pro are good. It’s not quite perfect, but the handset provides a reasonably flexible lens setup, promising HDR and low light capabilities, and some excellent-looking selfie and portrait capabilities. We’re looking forward to spending more time with this camera setup.
What do you think of the camera package offered by the Honor Magic 4 Pro? Hot or not?