Date:12 September 2016
A very special dual-lens camera is the trendsetting feature that’s sure to put Huawei’s stylish flagship P9 Android smartphone firmly in the frame for photography enthusiasts.
In the past, other smartphone manufacturers may have tempted shutterbugs. But Huawei’s P9 is armed with hardware that puts it on another level of image-capture awesomeness. Quite simply, it’s the first smartphone truly capable of standing in for a DSLR when you need to travel light. Designed in collaboration with Leica, one of the most iconic names in cameradom, the Huawei P9 has 12 MP camera sensors and an f/2.2 aperture. That’s backed up by powerful depth-sensing software – a world first in a smartphone – and advanced in-camera editing features.
Of course, in addition to its image-capture awesomeness, the P9 remains a flagship smartphone with all that you’d expect
from premium devices – from the enhanced new fingerprint sensor to a significantly upgraded 3000 mAh battery. But it’s the dual-lens thing that has got everyone talking.
Each lens has a specific function:
> One shoots in RGB to produce a colour image
> The other is for monochrome images.
Smart software puts the two together to create a single, high-quality image. Not only that, the P9’s hybrid flash unit,
which uses a laser, is said to be the best system for multiple focus conditions. Using the two lenses together makes possible what Huawei calls its Wide Aperture function to create the arty effect where the central subject stands out from a blurred background in what’s known as “bokeh”. It’s a photographic technique extensively used for artistic effect when taking close-ups of objects and people.
Artificially blurring out the background leaves a specific subject sharply defined. Here’s the thing: with conventional
smartphone cameras, that’s simply not possible because you need to have a wide lens aperture and the resulting shallow depth of field. Regular smartphone cameras have a tiny sensor combined with a wideangle lens, adding up to an extensive depth of field, with the whole picture in sharp focus. To create that artistic blurring effect, all you need to do is touch the subject of the photo in the viewfinder to adjust the focal point. And the blurred background effect is adjustable by a simple touch of the screen. For a smartphone camera, that’s impressive.
Another advantage of the dual-lens set-up is superior low-light performance, (further advanced in certain conditions by Super Night mode) and the ability to capture breathtaking monochrome images. That’s because, says Huawei, the P9’s cameras let in 270 per cent more light than major competitors do. The monochrome lens alone lets in 200 per cent more light than the RGB lens and enhances detail – but it can also be used on its own for black-and-white images, to stunning effect.
What all of this means is superior reproduction of shots taken in low light, in a dark room, outside at night or in twilight. For smartphone users, this is great news, because social media is full of images that are either grainy or washed-out because they’ve been taken when we’ve been, well social – at family gatherings, indoors, bars, clubs, in low-light conditions.
Besides the P9’s inherently better low-light ability, its Super Night mode improves the quality of images taken at night and in low-light conditions by accentuating the detail of darker areas to produce brighter, more colourful images. The camera will automatically take several images and merge them into one photo. And to add that final individual touch to your photographic works of art, you can create personalised watermarks. Add the time, location, or your mood simply by following an easy-to-use process.
So does all of this mean it’s time to throw away that DSLR? To be honest,not just yet. But the Huawei P9 proves that, when the need arises, it’s the next best thing.