Huawei P9 camera review: Unleashes the full potential of its dual camera which is co-engineered with Leica!

Huawei-P9-A01Huawei P9 camera review: Unleashes the full potential of its dual camera which is co-engineered with Leica

Nowadays, smartphone’s camera are capable of taking great pictures which offer much higher quality compared to smartphone years ago. Basically, when zoom lens is not needed, smartphone can easily replace most digital cameras out there!

As we have discussed the previous week about the potential of Huawei P9’s dual lens camera which is co-engineered with Leica, this week we are delighted that local professional photographer, Gradient Lok is willing to share his photography experience with us on the Huawei P9.

According to Gradient, he said he prefer to use Huawei P9 instead of DSLR camera as his on the go camera whenever he goes traveling. The reason behind this is because smartphone is relatively more portable and it’s easier to carry around.

Other than that, Huawei P9 features semi-automatic professional mode which allows user to take better quality photos compared to photos taken by standard auto mode. With the ability to save RAW format image, it is very convenient to capture the perfect picture that you want anytime and anywhere with the ability to maintain the quality of the image.

The following series photographs were taken by Huawei P9. Some photos received minor touched up via Huawei built-in photo editor or third party photo editor software. There are some photos which are delivered directly after the shot were taken without any further touchup because Huawei has done a very good job in terms of image data processing, optimization, and the mechanical construction of the camera module to the graphic user interface which meet Leica’s highest imaging quality standards.

Overall, Huawei P9 did a great job in delivering superb quality photos. Let’s take a look at these awesome photos taken by Gradient Lok.

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By using Huawei P9, it allows you to shoot in Professional mode and images can be stored in RAW files for easier post-processing.

Alternatively, you can also opt for it to be used in semi-automatic mode which give you extra flexibility during your shooting.

There are three built-in color modes in the Huawei camera: Standard, Vivid Colors and Smooth Colors. With the enhancement of Leica color and style, you can choose whichever color mode you prefer to express your mood.

This photo was taken by Huawei P9’s Leica dual camera in Professional mode: The ISO level is 3200 with 30 seconds exposure time. The RAW file was post processed by Adobe PhotoShop LightRoom software.

Here’s a photo sample taken by Huawei P9’s Leica dual camera in Professional mode. The ISO level is 3200 with 30 seconds exposure time. It shows that the P9 can take DSLR-like astrophotography photos.

Furthermore, under professional mode you can adjust the ISO level to as low as 50 and extend the exposure time up to 30 seconds which are suitable for low light shot or even astrophotography.

Depth of Field

It is also worth mentioning that Huawei P9 also features depth of field mode. It allows the P9’s dual camera to create synthesized shallow depth of field effects which let the image produced presents a DSLR-like photos.

Since the phone’s camera lens are too small, the current technology is not advanced enough to develop a method to adjust such small aperture lens. So we can only rely on digital calculation such as seen on the use of Huawei P9’s double lens.

It calculates the distance to the obtained data from 3D image to create depth of field for the object. This method is considered a smart way to do it.

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When you are on auto mode of the camera app, you can enter depth of field mode by just tapping the lens icon at the top bar.

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Next, tap to focus the object and it will appear a bar next to it. You can move up or down to select the aperture from F/0.95 to F/16, choose your preferred aperture and snap the photo. That’s it!

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Meanwhile, you can also choose one of the color tones to suit your liking.

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In addition, the default Gallery App allows you to re-edit your photo if it is taken in Depth of Field Mode. This gives you the freedom to customize the photo with wide aperture effect.

On a side note, the depth of field mode is perfect for macro shot such as taking picture of flower because it can offer a bokeh feel which looks natural.

Let’s take a look at these beautiful bokeh photo sample taken by Huawei P9 with its Depth of Field Mode:

Night mode

One of the special camera feature available on Huawei P9 is the Night Mode. Previously known as Super Night Mode on its predecessor-Huawei P8, this Night Mode feature allows user to shoot long exposure shot in HDR mode!

In this mode, it uses Multi-Exposure Stacking method to acquire the best lighting shots while remaining the details of the photo, it will not cause overexposure to the photo unlike normal long exposure shooting.

Hence, you will be getting the perfect photo based on image stacking with best lighting when you switch on this mode.

Here’s a few demos on how to fully utilize the Night Mode of Huawei P9.

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This shot is taken by Huawei P9 in professional mode. We set the ISO level as 50, and 5 seconds exposure time. You can see that the lights are over-exposed. We are unable to apply any suitable post-processing readjustment because all image data are lost due to over exposure.

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This shot is taken with the Huawei P9’s “Night Mode” by setting the ISO level to 100 with auto exposure time. The image produced looks significantly darker, yet retains the details from low light to brighter area.

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This image is done by post-processing with the built-in software to brighten up the picture. You can see the details clearly, the brightness is similar to the Professional mode in the first picture, but was able to retain the light of the details without being overexposed.

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By taking this shot with the Huawei P9 in professional mode, ISO level is 50 with one second exposure time, you can see the lights of the car headlamp has been significantly over-exposed!

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With the “Night Mode” shot being used here, you can clearly see the details inside of the car headlamp.

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By shooting in professional mode, we tend not to let the light overexposed by keeping exposure time low. As a result, it caused some darker areas became underexposed. (Note: The signboards of the buildings are still overexposed.)

 

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With the “Night Mode” in action, we are able to maintain the details of the signboards while in the meantime increase the exposure of darker areas.

 

Monochrome

Apart from the standard color mode, Huawei P9 can also shoot classic Leica black and white photos. By adopting the monochromatic black-and-white sensor, Huawei P9 can produce much clearer monochrome picture with more details of the photo.

Astrophotography

Gradient Lok is renowned as an astrophotographer in the local scene who enjoys shooting specialized type of photography for recording images of astronomical objects and large areas of the night sky.

While many of us are aware that you need a high end camera to shoot astrophotography, Huawei P9 is also capable to get the job done as well.

Astrophotography is the biggest challenge for camera, because the ISO value must be in the high level and the exposure time required a minimum of 20 seconds. In the Professional Mode of Huawei P9, the highest ISO value reaches 3200 along with a 30 seconds maximum long exposure time show that Huawei P9 is very suitable for astrophotography.

While there are some other smartphones that also offer long exposure time as well, but the resolution of the image produced is simply too low for astrophotography. Even with a 30-second long exposure shot, most smartphones are unable to capture enough light source for it.

However, Huawei P9 on the other hand is capable to capture detailed astrophotography along with the ability to save the image in RAW file. This can ensure the photo will absorb the details of the uncompressed image data which makes post-production a lot easier.

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This photo of Milky Way was taken by Huawei P9’s Leica dual camera in Professional mode: The ISO level is 3200 with 30 seconds exposure time. The RAW file was post processed by Adobe PhotoShop LightRoom software.

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This photo shows that Huawei P9 dual camera can produce image by stacking up 13 burst shot images and utilize the built-in software to combine them into one. By doing this, it can reduce the noise while increase the details of the photo.

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  • Picture on the top left is converted from original RAW file to JPEG file;
  • The one on the upper right corner is the image after edited with the built-in app of the Huawei P9. Generally  the photo taken by the Huawei P9 is almost on par with professional camera. In order to get better results, we have to proceed to post-processing method.
  • The bottom left corner shows the use of image stacking software. While in the process of image stacking, it will retain all the details, so that the color will be balanced and not over saturated.
  • The bottom right corner photo demonstrates the use of image post-production software by apply adjustment to the white balance, brightness, saturation etc of the photo. This step will bring out the details of the photo.

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To our surprise, Huawei P9 can capture such detailed shot of the Scorpius constellation. With the help of image stacking post-processing method which has also been widely used by professional astrophotograher, we can clearly see the real image of the Scorpius constellation.

 

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Huawei P9, along with Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 are among the best camera centric smartphones in the market right now.

The dedicated monochrome sensor photography on the P9 offers users the premium Leica black and white photo finish.

 

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Huawei P9 camera’s performance in Auto mode has improved a lot overall compared to its predecessor. With the addition of Professional Mode and RAW file format support, Huawei P9 is ranked among the best camera centric smartphone in the market now.

Starting next Thursday, Huawei will be having their roadshow at Taiping Sentral Mall from August 25th til 29th where amazing prizes such as 7D5N trip to Switzerland waiting to be given away! Don’t miss it!