Huawei P20 Pro Underwater Review with the Weefine One Size Fits All Underwater Smarthousing

scuba diving, underwater Photography, huawei p20 pro underwater, paparazsea, jun v lao
Weefine Underwater Housing enables you to bring down any Mobile Phone, We tested the Huawei P20 Pro for Underwater photography and for a while turned also into a dive computer thanks to the breakthrough Weefine dive case


Having owned the Huawei P20 Pro for about a month now, I can say that the camera capabilities of the P20 Pro is beyond exceptional. From bokehlicious portraits, exquisite light trails to silky waterfall images, this mobile phone is a champ without equal (as of Aug 2018). I hardly bring any of my other cameras anymore for fun shoots but being an Underwater Photographer by trade,  I always dreamed of bringing down my Huawei P20 pro with me during my scuba diving sojourns. 

Huawei P20 Pro Underwater, Mobile Phone Underwater, Dive Case for Huawei, Dive case with your Cellphone
The Huawei P20 Pro is a delight to use underwater. Pair it with a Weefine Smarthousing (Underwater Diving case) and turn your phone into an underwater camera and dive computer plus you'll be able to take it to depths of up to 262 feet (way beyond recreational diving depths).


It was fate really that Bryan Chua, the Philippine distributor of the Weefine Smarthousing saw my blog and reviews and sent me a message if I wanted to try out the Weefine Underwater housing which fits my Huawei P20 pro, with all three lenses working. A week later, I found myself headed to Anilao to try it out and here are some images from Saturday's dive and thoughts about both the Huawei P20 pro paired with the groundbreaking Weefine Universal Mobile Phone Smarthousing

scuba diving, underwater Photography, huawei p20 pro underwater, paparazsea, jun v lao
A Juvenile Frogfish around an inch in size taken with the Huawei P20 Pro, Exif 1/900, F1.8, io267 needed stacked macro lenses (Subsee +10 and Inon UCL165) to get the shot



The Big leap forward here really is there's now a universal underwater housing which accepts almost all brands of various shapes and sizes of mobile phones. The Weefine smarthousing has its own on board computer and pressure sensor where when used with the Dive+ App (downloadable on IOS and Googleplay), you turn your phone not only into a usable underwater camera but also as a dive computer as well. With this tech, we need not have to buy a camera model specific underwater housing all the time in the near future (wink wink to underwater housing manufacturers). I find the thought of this exciting as we need not shell out thousands of dollars every time we plan to make a camera upgrade.


scuba diving, underwater Photography, huawei p20 pro underwater, paparazsea, jun v lao
Huawei P20 Pro Exif 1/129, F1.8, iso200, stand alone no lenses

For newbies into Underwater Photography, you'll love it since it literally turns your mobile phone into a very usable Point and Shoot device. While I missed setting my Huawei P20 Pro manually for shots, I compensated by just manually repositioning my dive torch light to get the black backgrounds whilst lighting my subject just right. 


scuba diving, underwater Photography, huawei p20 pro underwater, paparazsea, jun v lao
The Huawei P20 Pro Color tones were very natural and images were tact sharp (no yellow tinge like Canon point and shoot cams, no oversaturated colors from Olympus images and far from the over sharpened pictures from Panasonics)
 P20 Pro exif 1/900, F1.8, iso200

For more advanced shooters, It was quite a bummer that the folks at Weefine and Dive+ failed to give android users the ability to control their own shutter, aperture and iso, so relied on manually positioning my torch light to get the effect I wanted. Apple Iphone users have something to smile about since the Dive+ app allows the IOS interface full use of manual camera settings, tempted now to bring down an Iphone in the future or better yet, I hope Weefine/Dive+ in the very near future updates its android app for us Huawei P20 users to be able to tinker with full manual settings while shooting underwater.

Beyond Macro Photography...

scuba diving, underwater Photography, huawei p20 pro underwater, paparazsea, jun v lao
 the Dive+app one touch color correction feature is insanely accurate in bringing colors back from bluish images
To get better wide angle pictures, one must use a Third Party Wide Angle lens to get you closer plus expands the limited field of view of your mobile phone but the Weefine/Dive+ app somehow makes magic out of blue pics, byproduct of shooting subjects too far underwater. With just a touch of a button in its color correction app page, your blue photo comes out like it was edited by a seasoned pro. 

scuba diving, underwater Photography, huawei p20 pro underwater, paparazsea, jun v lao
where the magic happens, blue images colors restored with a touch of a button

scuba diving, underwater Photography, huawei p20 pro underwater, paparazsea, jun v lao
without a wide angle lens, you shoot far away, was probably 10 feet away minimum from my DMT Derick, why the blue tinge, but as shared, the dive+ app color corrects like a champ editor

For those wondering why I put so much emphasis on the need for third party lenses, you can check out my post on Why Your Underwater Photography Sucks which explains why there is a mandatory need for additional macro and wide angle lenses, but if the photo above makes you smile already, keep your money and let the Dive+ app do its color correction magic for you.


scuba diving, underwater Photography, huawei p20 pro underwater, paparazsea, jun v lao
Stitched three Huawei P20 Pro images to capture the Frogfish Yawning sequence using cs6, cloning as needed applied

Long time shooters will have a tough time initially swallowing the fact you are only shooting via six buttons (Shutter, mf/af, mode, zoom in, menu, zoom out) and it takes time getting used to the dive+ app interface but then again, newbies will be jumping for joy as it turns your mobile phone into a wonderful point and click away scuba toy and post images in an instant after surfacing.

Underwater Mobile Phone Photography, Underwater Photography, Weefine Smarthousing Revieew
Aug 28 session using Weefine Torch and +12 oem diopter


The Weefine smarthousing doesn't enable you to use your mobile phone's screen underwater, it gives you their own interface for shooting and configures your mobile phone to act within the six tactile buttons provided to operate your cellphone. Touchscreens wouldn't work anyway underwater because of pressure, why those silly cheap dslr soft plastic bag housings never really took off.

If you are curious if you can make calls or at least send messages or surf the net while underwater...No can do. Cellular signal cancels out after being 3 to 4 feet below surface, so your dream of sharing a live video underwater on facebook is plausible...provided you stay above four feet of water, lets wait for a genius to figure this problem out and wait for his or her brilliant solution ya...

Verdict:

Huawei P20 Pro 

It lives up to it's Leica triple lens imaging hype even for underwater photography. Pair it with the Weefine Smarthousing, get a quality torch light with you and take it down to as deep as 267 feet.

As an underwater camera, it can be certainly be used for Macro Photo competitions already as image quality is at par with the latest point and shoot cameras such as the Olympus TG5 and Canon G lineup.

Underwater Mobile Phone Photography, Underwater Photography, Weefine Smarthousing Revieew
Dyanamic rnge is exceptional for post processing (taken Aug 28, 2018 session)


While pictures are still far off in quality than that of a DSLR's, you can't expect a mobile device with a much smaller sensor size to go head to head with a device built specific to professional photography, but computational photography has improved by leaps and bounds over the years and it may make it's way as the new standard in photography in the coming years. 



You will need an additional Wide angle lens and Macro lenses for best results shooting underwater, just as you would any other point and shoot camera anyway (same same) with the exception of the Olympus TG5 which enables you to capture subjects the size of rice via microscope mode without needing additional macro lenses.

Underwater Mobile Phone Photography, Underwater Photography, Weefine Smarthousing Revieew
The Huawei P20 Pro performs exceptionally well consistently (taken Aug 28, 2018 session)


Weefine Smarthousing

There are so many things very cool about this Underwater Dive Case and it definitely gives us a glimpse of the future of Underwater housing design. For one, it accepts almost any mobile phone, save for the Samsung Note 8 which is too large for it. It wirelessly connects your phone via bluetooth to the housing and lets you play with your camera via the Dive+ app. It also has an onboard dive computer which was quite accurate compared to my Suunto D6i dive computer. It also has this very cool feature of having a vacuum pump and a leak detector which ensures you peace of mind every time you slot in your mobile phone for a dive

quick non scripted video in random english and tagalog sharing unboxing and leak test feature

Advanced shooters using the Android platform will find it a bummer that as of this writing, we cannot play with our camera's manual settings (shutter, aperture, iso) but Apple Iphone users are lucky as they will be able to take full advantage of the exposure triangle via seamless Dive+ and IOS compatibility.


scuba diving, underwater photography, huawei p20 pro underwater, paparazsea
Dive+ app records all information, here is a profile of my first dive over the weekend testing out the Huawei P20 Pro with this smarthousing. No more Dive log books required.

For all its bell's and whistles, it fetches a hefty price of P28,500 pesos (USD580+/-) for the unit alone but if you think about it,

1). It's Future proof as it accepts ANY mobile device smaller than a Note 8, 

2). It's aluminium body is tough, will last almost everyone a lifetime (save for the super careless). 

3) While I experienced stability issues, (this was because my phone power saving feature was on which caused severed connections, after disabling power save, connection was flawless), we are pretty sure future software updates will fix any minor problem.

In Summary, instead of buying a camera specific housing, which is sure to set you back around USD300 for the cheap acrylic housings  (easily cracks during a drop and always prone to stuck buttons at depth due to pressure)  to USD500+ for the more expensive aloy ones, the Weefine Smart housing is a great bargain as it takes in almost any mobile phone out there plus it also turns your phone into a back up dive computer aside from being your underwater camera which enables you to Show Off right after every dive and by default is a great conversation starter for any dive occasion 



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