So, as you may have already heard, a few hours back Huawei officially announced its new flagship, the P9. If you haven’t, go on and do! One of the killer features presented today, is the dual camera setup on the back of the device. In the past, two other companies had experimented with dual cameras, LG and HTC, but they weren’t really successful.
So, what do these dual cameras do? For starters, one lens captures RGB (Red, Green, Blue) information from the subject being photographed and the other one captures the B&W (Black and White) information, leading to better photos under low-light conditions. Is that all?
Of course not. The best feature is that of refocussing and creating a shallow depth of field, like the ones someone can produce using expensive DSLR cameras and lenses. Have you ever seen a photo with, for example, a butterfly taken from very close distance, with incredible detail and the background blurry, out of focus? This is what can be achieved with the new dual camera lens system Huawei implemented with the aid of Leica.
This is achieved by using the two lenses taking a photo of the same subject by slightly different angle and focus point and then using software to combine the two photos to allow the user to focus on the desired point of the photograph. Sadly, the feature is available only for still photo shooting, not videos, but we can safely assume that as hardware becomes stronger, it will eventually become available for videos as well.
This is similar to what Lytro tried to bring to consumers using multiple lenses to focus on different objects at the same time and allowing the user to focus after the photo was taken, taking the burden off the user’s shoulder and achieve good focus every time. Lytro has abandoned the consumer market as it acknowledged that the smartphone cameras have come a long way and is able to deliver similar results.
Leica is a well-known brand among photography enthusiasts and Huawei’s bet is to broaden Leica brand to the mass consumer market and convince buyers that it is not a product for the few, but for anyone.