Huawei’s P9 is one of the rare smartphones that use Leica branding, which is well known in the photography ecosystem. Leica has lent its insight and imaging algorithm to the phone’s cameras, but not made the hardware. The other big highlight of P9’s camera is that it comes with dual 12-megapixel lenses.

One of the lenses is for monochrome shots and better depth of field reproduction. The camera offers the equivalent of laser focus and can lock focus on objects instantly. However, the lack of optical image stabilisation (for minimising distortion caused by hand-shakes) in a high-end smartphone is a bit perplexing.

The camera interface looks confusing. What still makes it manageable is the fact that Huawei has divided the interface into three parts. The first part is the main interface which shows options for depth of field, flash and camera filters on top and shutter button below. The second part, which shows by swiping towards right, reveals all settings options such as the option to select an image in RAW or JPEG, capture smiles and camera resolution. Swiping towards right opens the third part which has all the camera modes such as monochrome, beauty mode, night shot, slow motion, light painting and document scanner.

We take a look at the P9’s camera and whether it lives up to all the claims.

Depth of field

This is one of the key highlights of the camera. This feature works by reducing focus on the background and enhancing focus on any particular object. The background may not necessarily be an object at the back, but you can decide the object you want to highlight manually. It is quite complicated to use and is not very effective. To highlight an object, it tends to blur objects in the background. Though colours have been captured well, the amount of distortion is high.

Close-up shot

This is a close-up of a flower taken in daytime. The multiple colours in the shot have been captured vividly. A closer look reveals the lighter variations of orange around the border of the petals. Interestingly, it doesn’t overlook the objects in the background and one can still tell the green leaves from the brown colour of the stem.

Close up, in low light

This is a low-light close-up shot of a burger. Though the camera hasn’t been able to focus on every seed on the top of the bun, the amount of detailing and colour reproduction is impressive. On zooming in a little, we could clearly see the shine on the seeds too.

Landscape photography

This is a landscape shot of Connaught Place during daytime. The camera has managed to get most things right here. The colour of the cloud and the way it’s spread across the blue sky has been captured very realistically. The blue in the sky doesn’t look too bright nor does the building look any different from what it actually does. The darker colours, like the green in the trees, look a bit brighter though. The picture looks crisp even on a bigger screen, while the names of the shops are legible if you zoom in.

Daytime photos

Even on a cloudy day, with no sun to act as a filter, the camera is quite capable of delivering outstanding shots. Colour reproduction is top-notch. Colours look rich, while the level of distortion is negligible even when viewed on a bigger screen. The various shades of green have been captured very well.

Indoors, in low light

This is a normal low-light shot of a blue-coloured cycle. Unfortunately, the amount of detailing it was able to muster in a low-light close-up is not visible here. The blue colour of the cycle looks a bit blurry. Even the text on the books stacked on the wall looks grainy when you zoom in for a closer look.

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