Smartphone photography, all the while, has been about pulling out the phone from the pocket, turning the camera on and click, as that’s what has been offered, with only some exclusions. Several companies have tried to change the experience, change the way the camera reacts and stores the details based on the user settings, but then, you end up looking at it as just-another-smartphone-capture.
Time and again, we’ve seen companies marketing their smartphone cameras as the best, raising the expectations in the minds of users, but while some are successful in serving what’s advertised (read LG G5), some fail at doing so (the first offering of a dual-rear camera on HTC One M8). While every such attempt from a brand is appreciated, the question still remains – what next? Huawei, the electronics giant had aimed to change that and it is fair to say that they have been able to deliver what they were supposed to, with the Huawei P9.
Dual Leica lenses – a winning camera among the giants!
The Huawei P9 adopts what we’ve seen earlier on a few phones – a Dual-lens rear camera that we had seen on phones such as HTC One M8, LG G5, Huawei Honor 6 Plus, XOLO Black, and a few other lesser-known names. Because we aren’t looking at something for the first time, the first thought that runs in the mind, would be “Oh, they just copied others, what’s new?”. With the P9, there is a lot of “new” involved, starting from the collaboration with Leica, one of the oldest names in the arena of photography and cameras.
The rumors just after the launch claimed that Leica was just a branding put as a sticker on the back of the Huawei P9, to give the users that special touch. But to save themselves from the damage, both the partnering companies had to come up with a joint-statement that clears the facts. According to it, Huawei and Leica have partnered in a way that the optical design is made in compliance with Leica standards, mechanical construction of the camera is done to reduce stray light effects (“ghost and flare”), Definition of imaging quality in terms of color rendition/color fidelity, white balance, stray light reduction (“ghost & flare effects”), exposure precision, dynamic range, sharpness and noise characteristics, Processing of image data with the aid of long-standing Leica optical and signal processing expertise, and ensuring that the most stringent common quality standards are maintained for serial production by Huawei, such that high quality is consistently maintained. Phew, it isn’t only the name attached, after all.
Now, let’s talk about the two lenses on the back. Summarit H 1:2.2/27 ASPH is the name of this module, specially made for the P9. The two lenses aren’t the same and unlike how the lenses on other phones (not on LG G5) solve the purpose of measuring the depth of focus, the function of the lenses on the Huawei P9 is different, and the lenses are different as well. We specifically mentioned about the LG G5 here, because, the second lens on back of it is for a wide-angle capture, which is not what the secondary lens on other phones, including the P9 does.
In a way, both the lenses on the Huawei P9’s back are the same Sony 12-megapixel lenses with f/2.2 aperture. But then, the major difference is with the sensors included. The primary lens has a traditional RGB sensor that you’d see as a standard on most of the smartphones, while the secondary lens has a monochrome sensor.
Monochrome sensor? Black and white photos? Why would you want a dedicated lens to capture such photos? The perception of “monochrome” has always been this, but the reason for Huawei to put in a monochrome sensor is because when you are taking a photo, the monochrome sensor determines only the amount of light coming in, and it doesn’t have to filter out any light. This allows for the sensor to take more details than what a standard RGB sensor can do. The RGB sensors have to filter out light because only when the light is filtered out, the sensor is able to determine the colors. When only a single RGB sensor is at works, the filtering of light leads to loss of detail, which is now being done separately by the monochrome sensor.
How does that help in real sense? It is a complex process where the two cameras simultaneously take a photo, and then the images from both are merged, because while the RGB sensor was busy in purely working on the colors, the monochrome sensor did what it does the best – grabbing the details and pulling in more light. When both are merged, you not just get a brighter picture, but also something that has better highlights, and shadows are darker because the sensors are now able to determine things in a better way, as they are given separate jobs to work on.
By the way, did we think about the camera bump on the back? There’s no bump here and the cameras are well within the back frame. Even the iPhone 7 Plus, Asus ZenFone 3, and the OnePlus 3, among a few others, have a camera protrusion on the back.
Having a monochrome camera has an advantage of its own – you get black and white photos with ease, and with a much better detail and quality. While you try to edit a picture and add the B&W filter to it, remember that software changes usually compromise with the shadows and thus, the final output is not as good as how it would be when taken with a monochrome camera. You will be happy with the filter until you get to try a hardware doing that. The pictures taken with the monochrome sensor tend to be sharper and higher in detail, and for someone putting everything under consideration, this is time-saving as well as you don’t have to spend time applying filters after the capture.
A picture speaks a thousand words, and Huawei claims to take a perfect picture, all the time, thanks to the P9 that flaunts the dual-lens powered by Leica.
Build – Material that is strong enough to save lives!
Now, let’s take a look at why it is more than just the cameraphone that you are expecting it to be. This has more to do with the build quality that is maintained by Huawei, not just for the P9. The quality is so good that we get to hear some real-life stories about how a smartphone saved a person’s life. To recall that, 41-year-old Siraaj Abrahams, a father of five children who runs an IT and automotive business, was attacked and a bullet that could have penetrated his chest hit his Huawei P8 Lite instead. This isn’t the first case though, yet it shows how strong the devices are made if they were able to reduce the impact made by a bullet on the human body.
For a flagship, whatever is included, the main three stay the same – Design, camera, and battery. The Huawei P9 makes a mark with all the three departments, to stay a true contender in the race of flagships.
Note: This is a sponsored story.