A Closer Look at the Huawei Mate 9's Leica Cameras

Not too long ago, Huawei officially announced the new Mate 9 as well as PORSCHE DESIGN Mate 9, both of which are larger smartphones with 5.9-inch and 5.5-inch displays, respectively. Following in the footsteps of the Huawei P9 and Huawei P9 Plus, both of these new devices feature dual Leica cameras. This time around, however, Huawei and Leica have worked on a new generation of the two cameras around the rear of the Mate 9 and while you might not think it, the Huawei Mate 9 could be considered one of the better camera phones out there, especially now that this Leica system has been perfected somewhat.

At the core of it all are two separate Leica camera systems, one of which is a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor, and the other a 12-megapixel RGB sensor. Both of these feature apertures of f/2.2, support PDAF autofocus as well as laser autofocus, and the 12-megapixel sensor has Optical Image Stabilization as well. Both sensors use Leica Summarit-H lenses, and together they work to create sharp images with lots of dynamic range as well as clear low-light photography. The reason that the 20-megapixel sensor is monochrome, and not the lower-resolution option is to ensure that more information is taken in by this part of the duo, and given that a larger sensor for color images is better than simply a higher-resolution shot, this combination seems to make sense. Around the front of the device, there's an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, too.

These two sensors come together to offer something that other cameras can't, using two sensors users can change the focus after they've taken a shot, the second-generation version of this setup now takes in more information where distances are concerned, leading to a more pronounced background blur, or "bokeh". The Mate 9 now introduces Hybrid Zoom, which uses the extra pixels from the 20-megapixel sensor to get a 2x zoom without any loss of quality, as the 12-megapixel RGB sensor can fill in where this sensor can't. This isn't the first time that we've seen this sort of configuration in a smartphone, and it probably won't be the last, either. While we'll have to wait for some official camera samples, as well as to put it through its paces for ourselves, our review of the Huawei P9 might give you a good idea of what this sort of camera setup is capable of.

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Tom Dawson

Former Editor-in-Chief
For years now I've had a heavy interest in technology, growing up with 8-bit computers and gaming consoles has fed into an addiction to everything that beeps. Android saved me from the boredom of iOS years ago and I love watching the platform grow. As an avid reader and writer nothing pleases me more than to write about the exciting world of Android, Google and mobile technology as a whole.
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