Note: On April 22nd 2016, Leica Camera AG issued a joint statement with Huawei to clarify that they have indeed co-engineered the P9 camera module. We’ve since updated our article to include these details.
Recently one of the most anticipated product launches has been a smartphone—the Huawei P9—rather than a DSLR or mirrorless camera.
While photographers may rightly scoff at any mobile manufacturer’s current claims of making a camera that can surpass DSLR quality, the truth remains that more and more people are using their Apple or Samsung phones instead of their cameras.
Entry-level camera sales have been falling for years, in large part due to the success of the various iPhone models and powerhouses such as Samsung’s flagship models like the S7, which was heavily touted by Samsung as built with photographers in mind.
The Huawei P9 has used the features of its dual Leica lenses extensively during the marketing of the camera, although the camera module in the P9 is believed to have been made with Leica’s authorisation by a Chinese company called Sunny Optical Technology of China.
Update (22/4/2016): As a response to the initial rumour that the P9 was developed independently, today Leica Camera AG issued a joint statement with Huawei to clarify that the P9 was indeed made with the blessing of Leica.
Leica’s contribution included:
- Collaborative development, evaluation and optimisation of optical design (lens calculation) in compliance with Leica standards.
- Collaborative development of the mechanical construction of the camera module to reduce stray light effects (“ghost and flare”).
- Definition of imaging quality in terms of colour rendition/colour fidelity, white balance, stray light reduction, exposure precision, dynamic range, sharpness and noise characteristics.
- Processing of image data with the aid of long-standing Leica optical and signal processing expertise.
- Definition of the most stringent common quality standards and production requirements for serial production by HUAWEI to ensure consistently high standards.