In 2016 fast-growing smartphone maker Huawei and legendary Leica camera manufacturers announced that they will work together to enhance the mobile photography. Later that year Huawei and Huawei P9 P9 Plus arrives on stage.
The story actually began back in 2013 when Huawei trying to reach Leica, but camera makers declined. Huawei survive and Leica finally agreed to a meeting. Immediately executives of both companies realize that this will be a mutually beneficial match – Huawei wants a better camera to make mobile phones more competitive, Leica would like to get into the smartphone game because they are eating into the traditional camera market.
That is easier said than done, however. Leica insisted that the small plastic mobile phone lens must go through the same testing process and meet the same standards as the company’s glass lens of the camera.
The main obstacle is the result – only 1 of 10 lens module can pass the test. Working together, the company found a way to start mass producing the lens is quite good and in January 2016 Huawei delivered P9 for Leica prototype for testing.
And experts camera is not happy with what they see. The phone will be unveiled in April, so there is not much time. However, experts from both companies are working together to set the camera to produce images that have a signature Leica display.
Huawei P9 duo has two cameras on the back – the main shooter monochrome 12MP and 12MP sensor (Sony IMX286 sensor is used for both cameras). The latter enabled dramatic black and white photograph, but also improve low-light performance (because it does not have a Bayer filter, letting it capture almost three times brighter).
Besides B & W shots, Leica prepared three “movie mode” – Standard, Vivid Color and Smooth Color – who imitated the look of film cameras. It is played on nostalgia and trying to inspire the creativity of the community in the same way that the Leica did.
Both the camera and Hybrid autofocus system (which includes the Laser AF) is able to simulate the bokeh, will be as wide as f / 1.0.
The camera is also collaborating in the dark. While the two sensors have a 1.25μm pixel, Huawei claims that combine data from both created is equivalent to a color sensor with 1.76μm pixels. By comparison, rival Samsung Galaxy S7 has 1.4μm pixels.
Note that the partnership is extended only for still photography, video recorders tuning it to Huawei. And video recording skills of Huawei P9 and P9 Plus nothing to write home about, because they are not able to capture 2160p recording. Huawei is behind the video recording capability all the way up to 30 phones Mate, it is now possible in the lead (of course 7,680fps mode is unmatched).
Huawei camera P9 involved in controversy when reports surfaced that lens camera module manufactured by Sunny Optics. The two companies released a statement, saying they are very involved in the design process – from development module, to an optical design for image processing and even the camera UI.
In the end, it does not matter – Huawei P9 and P9 Plus produced a gorgeous shot (we think so) and partnerships Huawei / Leica have produced some of the best phone cameras in recent years.