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Evolution Of Huawei Dual Camera Smartphones

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To address the limitations of having a small camera sensor, more and more mobile makers globally have shifted to making smartphones with dual camera setup.
2014 Honor 6 Plus, 2017 Huawei P10 Plus
2014 Honor 6 Plus, 2017 Huawei P10 Plus

Dual camera technology is not new. LG and HTC started it last 2011. Both released devices with dual camera setup for the purpose of viewing images in 3D.

For the purpose of improving mobile photography HTC has released One M8 followed by Huawei's Honor 6 Plus in 2014. Both used the secondary camera to capture better depth information to create shots with blurrier background or bokeh.

Huawei and Apple elevated the dual camera game!

But, the trend really started last year of 2016. Huawei collaborated with Leica to co-engineer the P9, a powerful flagship device with dual cameras. It was followed by LG with the release of G5 and Apple with the iPhone 7 Plus.

Understanding dual cameras

Often there's a primary sensor to capture images and a secondary sensor to enhance the overall performance and add nifty features. There are 4 common secondary camera lenses. Monochrome, wide angle, optical zoom and depth sensor.

1. Monochrome - Huawei popularized this setup. This secondary sensor is used to capture more more details and add better dynamic range. If you have a monochrome setup, you can shoot images purely in black and white.
2. Wide angle - This is commonly found on LG (rear cameras) and OPPO (front cameras). This secondary sensor allows users to capture images in very wide angle. Currently, the highest we know has 120 degrees FOV (field of view).
3. Optical Zoom - Apple popularized this concept when they introduced the iPhone 7 Plus.
4. Depth sensor - Most budget phones with dual camera setup can capture images with better depth information for mimicking DSLR's bokeh or background blur effect.

Some smartphone makers like Huawei has an intelligent software that allows users to even adjust the aperture size artificially and focus even after taking the shot. Yes, even after taking the shot.

They also have this Hybrid Zoom technology that can do up to 2x lossless digital zoom. Sometimes, it is even better than the performance of some phones with real optical zoom.

Huawei also has portrait mode for both front and back cameras.


Evolution of Huawei Dual Camera Smartphones

Honor 6 Plus
Honor 6 Plus

1. Huawei Honor 6 Plus - The Honor 6 Plus is my first main phone with dual cameras. It has a pair of 8 MP sensors with an "SLR grade ISP" which lets users get twice more light compared to a regular single camera sensor. It is also the first Huawei phone that can do bokeh with refocus and "aperture" adjustments even after taking the photo.
Huawei P9 / P9 Plus
Huawei P9 / P9 Plus

2. Huawei P9 / P9 Plus - These phones are the first two devices from the Huawei x Leica collaboration. There's a pair of 12 MP f/2.2 aperture lens with Hybrid AF and dual tone LED flash. Huawei used an RGB lens for color reproduction and a dedicated monochrome sensor to capture black, whites and more details and light.
Huawei GR5 2017
Huawei GR5 2017

3. Huawei GR5 2017 - This is the first affordable phone from Huawei with a dual camera setup. The Huawei GR5 2017 brings a 12 MP f/2.0 w/ PDAF + 2 MP secondary sensor w/ LED flash behind to the masses. The secondary 2 MP sensor is used to capture deeper depth. It also the the aperture adjustment and focus and refocus tech.
Huawei Mate 9
Huawei Mate 9

4. Huawei Mate 9 - The Mate 9 is equipped with the second generation Leica x Huawei cameras. it now has a 20 MP f/2.2 monochrome sensor + 12 MP f/2.2 RGB sensor w/ 4-in-1 Hybrid AF, OIS, 2x zoom, and dual tone LED flash. The overall quality of this one is better than both P9 and P9 Plus. It's also the first Huawei device with Hybrid lossless zoom.
Huawei P10
Huawei P10

5. Huawei P10 - The Huawei P10 has a similar setup with the Mate 9. It still has a 20 MP f/2.2 monochrome sensor + 12 MP f/2.2 RGB sensor w/ 4-in-1 Hybrid AF, OIS, 2x zoom, and dual tone LED flash. What's different? It now has a portrait mode and a Leica powered selfie camera. It's awesome for portraits.
Huawei P10 Plus
Huawei P10 Plus

6. Huawei P10 Plus - The Huawei P10 Plus has identical modes with P10. But, it has a brighter and wider f/1.8 aperture lens for better overall lowlight photography performance. It's Summilux 20 MP f/1.8 monochrome sensor + 12 MP f/1.8 RGB sensor w/ 4-in-1 Hybrid AF, OIS, 2x zoom, and dual tone LED flash is the best of Huawei x Leica yet as well.

Note: There are other Huawei devices with dual cameras under the Honor brand as well. It includes Honor 8, Honor Magic, Honor V9 and Honor 9.

The future? We can expect Huawei / Leica to further evolve for the better.

See also: Huawei And Leica Max Berek Innovation Lab Announced, A New Camera Research Center!

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