Could you replace your DSLR with a Huawei P9?

Last updated: 6 June 2016



Although keen photographers may take some persuading when it comes to ditching their DSLR, it’s pretty exciting to think there’s something in the camera phone world that could rival it. Enter the the latest innovation from Huawei, the Huawei P9...

Let’s see what all the fuss is about and whether you’ll be tempted to ditch your digital camera for good.

Co-engineered with Leica.

Huawei has partnered with one of the biggest names in DSLR cameras and lenses to create the Huawei P9. Leica has previously worked with massive brands like Panasonic to create impressive camera tech and this dual-lens camera in a smartphone has been hailed as ‘ground-breaking’.

But just what does a dual-lens actually do? And is it enough to rival your DSLR?

The lowdown on dual-lens.

Put simply, a dual-lens should be able to give you images with amazing detail, depth and colour. On the Huawei P9 there are two rear cameras and behind each lens is a 12MP Sony sensor. One sensor captures colour and the other is monochrome.

The Huawei P9 can intelligently combine the colours taken by the RGB sensor with the detail of the monochrome sensor – leaving you with brilliant, vivid, true-colour images. As well as this, when you choose to take black and white images they’ll be of a professional quality - rather than a colour pic that’s been processed in black and white.

More light.

Thanks to its two sensors, the camera can capture more light and shoot better in low-light conditions than many smartphone cameras. So you can achieve beautiful photos, even when the sun’s going down.

If you’re a photography fiend, you’re probably aware that it isn’t the megapixel count that matters so much for capturing high quality images. Although extra pixels are handy for cropping down images at a later date, it’s the size of the actual image sensor and the ability of the sensor pixels to capture enough light which will improve your picture quality. The pixel size on the dual 12MP cameras is 1.25µm and Huawei claims the P9 can let in 90% more light than the Samsung Galaxy S7 and a massive 270% more than iPhone 6s.

Need for speed.

Without getting too geeky, the Huawei P9 has a Kirin 955 processor inside, which has a depth image signal processor (ISP). This is a first in the world of smartphone cameras. It also has a digital signal processor (DSP) and both these processors combined make for a superfast and smooth image capture.

Huawei P9 photographic features.

There are loads of camera features built-in and ready to use, including:

  1. Create the Bokeh effect.

    This is an effect that’s usually only achieved using expensive cameras and special lenses but, by using the two lenses together on the Huawei P9, you can create a popular, artistic effect where parts of your photos are blurred out.

  2. RAW format.

    Another impressive feature that could appeal to experienced camera junkies is the P9’s ability to save images in their RAW format – perfect for using with editing software such as Photoshop.
  3. Selective focus.

    This handy feature means you can add or reduce background blur once you’ve selected the object you want to focus on. Simply tap the area of object you want to be in focus and then slide your finger up and down to increase or decrease the aperture. A high number - or wider aperture - will give you more blur in front and behind the object in focus, while a smaller number brings the whole shot into focus.
  4. Perfect selfies.

    With an 8MP front-facing camera, you’ll be able to snap some great selfies on the Huawei P9 - even when the light is poor. Don’t forget to use the Perfect Selfie mode to capture your very best side.
  5. P9 Pro Mode.

    This feature will really give your pictures a professional look. It’s easy to use, but you need to know what you’re doing with a camera to get the most out of it. You can adjust focal point, ISO, shutter speed, exposure value, auto/manual focus and white balance. There’s also a camera grid feature that’s helpful for composing pictures. The horizontal level meter is useful for making sure your subject is straight before you snap.

A trend for 2016?

A few years ago, phones such as the HTC Evo 3D used dual-lens cameras to take 3D images that could be viewed back on the 3D capable display but, unfortunately, the tech never really took off.

Today, massive improvements have been made and dual-lens is set to be big news for smartphone cameras in 2016. Here’s what CNET has to say about dual-lens cameras in the mobile phone world: “Forget VR, forget mobile payment - this is where phones will be this year because its advantages are readily apparent and avid phone photographers will have something to catch their eye once more.”

All-in-all, the Huawei P9 has some pretty impressive features to tempt you away from your trusty DSLR. And if you’re yet to be convinced, you’ve still got the perfect option whenever you need to travel light.