Huawei Introduces Dual Camera Smartphone with Refocusing and Improved Low Light Performance
Amid rumors that Apple plans to release a dual camera feature in the iPhone 7 Plus, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei today unveiled the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus, a set of smartphones that are equipped with impressive dual camera setups with some interesting capabilities.
The 5.2 and 5.5-inch P9 and P9 Plus both come with dual 12-megapixel rear cameras equipped with Leica-certified lenses. Hardware wise, the lenses include 1.25-micron pixel sizes for superior low light performance and an f/2.2 aperture, which will also improve performance in poor lighting conditions. There's also a dual-tone LED flash and a laser focusing module that works in tandem with the two cameras for faster focusing at short ranges.
Each camera in the P9 has a different sensor, one that's monochrome to capture 300 percent more light (according to Huawei) and produce better contrast for crisper images, and one that supports full RGB color. Combined, the two cameras are able to produce a final photograph that has more detail than would be possible with a single camera, especially in conditions where poor lighting would otherwise ruin an image.
Along with the laser focusing module, the two cameras in the P9 are able to detect the depth of objects in an image, allowing for post-capture refocusing. With this feature, P9 users can change the area of an image that's in focus through built-in editing tools. Huawei says its focusing tools allow for "Leica-quality" bokeh, or blurring of certain areas of the photo, and combined with a wide f/2.2 aperture, the two cameras should be able to create shallow depth-of-field images that are normally not possible with a smartphone camera.
The wide-aperture photography feature on the P9 allows users to experiment with innovative visual effects to create unique images and content. The P9 makes it easy to adjust the camera aperture to create bokeh and other depth-of-field effects, while keeping the main object in sharp focus.
We don't yet know what features Apple will include in the dual camera setup of the iPhone 7 Plus, but the capabilities included in the P9 give us a look at the some of the possibilities. Apple is said to be using technology it acquired from LinX Imaging last year, which would perhaps result in functions like improved optical zoom for more detail in images, better low light functionality, less noise, improved color, and more advanced features like depth mapping for 3D scanning or image refocusing, as in the P9.
Based on past release information, Apple is expected to debut its new iPhone 7 (with a single camera) and iPhone 7 Plus in September of 2016.