The Huawei P10 Lite features a 12MP camera with F/2.2 aperture and phase detection autofocus. There is a single LED flash for the low-light shots. The camera pixels are 1.25µm big. This is probably the same sensor used for primary photographic duty on the Huawei P9, Honor 8, and Huawei nova.
The camera interface is familiar as we have already seen it on the P9 and P10. The options are hidden in menus you can bring up by swiping up or down from the screen (assuming you hold the camera in landscape mode). This may be confusing at first but you quickly get used to it. The main menu houses all the available shooting modes - Photo, HDR, Panorama, Pro, Beauty, All focus, and Light Painting. There is also an advanced settings menu, summoned by a swipe from the top.
The Huawei camera app offers a Manual mode, which manual focus, shutter speed and ISO and a few other options. The Pro camera interface is very nice to use.
The 12MP color samples we took in board daylight came out with more than enough resolved detail and very good dynamic range. Noise levels are kept low, the sharpness is adequate, and colors are mostly true to real life. Those are some solid samples especially for this price bracket.
There is the All Focus mode you may want to consider. It shoots a few 6MP images, and allows you to choose the focus later. Lots of makers offer this mode under different names and we are happy Huawei has brought it to its camera app. It works well, shoots fast, and the images are very pleasant.
The dynamic range is often striking and we suspect some auto HDR trickery is involved here though none of the samples above was marked as HDR in the exif (as was the case with some previous Huawei cameras). But in case you don't like your regular photos, you can force HDR where necessary and the P10 Lite should brighter some of the shadows better without compromising the highlights.
You can get two different types of low-light samples if you have a tripod or at least a place where you can leave the P10 Lite still. You can either use the Light Painting mode (limited to 6MP), where the P10 Lite takes a picture with default settings and then captures only the moving lights imitating a professional long exposure shot of say, car speeding along the road.
The P10 Lite Auto mode is rather disappointing for night landscapes even when mounted on a tripod as it hikes the ISO up to 3200. But you can use the manual mode and tweak the settings by yourself and get a bright and detailed low-light image.
We took the P10 Lite for a walk in the neighborhood and it turned out well equipped to produce pleasant photos, with low levels of noise and accurate colors. The level of detail isn't that impressive but we can still give it an excellent mark for this class.
The panorama mode is one of the better implementations, switching automatically between portrait and landscape. When shooting in portrait, panoramic images turn out just over 3,000 pixels tall and the sample below is about 20MP. Stitching is good, exposure is even, and the captured detail and dynamic range are nearly at same level as on the regular still images.
The front camera of the P10 Lite is an 8MP unit shooting images at 3,264 x 2,448 pixels. It's paired with a f/2.0 lens. There is the obligatory beautification feature, which attempts to mask skin blemishes, but mostly gets rid of any fine detail in the shot.
If you go for a regular photo, the resolved detail is modest, the images turned out noisy, and the dynamic range is rather low. The colors are somewhat washed out, too.
Picture compare tool
You can check out how the Huawei P10 Lite camera stacks up against the P9 Lite and P10 in our Photo compare tool.
The Huawei P10 Lite can record 1080p videos at 30fps. There's no 1080p @ 60fps or 4K recording, but there's a slow-motion mode. The resolution is far from adequate though at just 640 x 480px though the framerate is nice at 120fps. The Full HD clips are recorded in MP4 files with a bitrate of 17Mbps. Audio is captured at a good 192Kbps (48kHz) rate, in stereo of course.
The video quality doesn't quite live up to our expectations. The image isn't as sharp as some competing phones in this class, the dynamic range is not on par with the still images. The noise is kept low though, and the colors and contrast are great.
As usual, we've provided an unedited sample straight out of the camera for you to download - 1080@30fps (11s, 22MB).
Be sure to head over to our video compare tool to check where the P10 Lite stands against the P9 Lite and the P10's 1080p videos. You can choose other cameras if you like.