Huawei used an image taken with $4,500 worth of camera gear to promote its smartphone camera

huawei p9 fake photo from canon

You know the phrase too good to be true? Huawei,
the massive Chinese smartphone maker, shared a post to its
various social media channels that falls squarely into that

The company posted the above photo, along with this caption:

We managed to catch a beautiful sunrise with Deliciously
Ella. The #HuaweiP9’s dual Leica cameras makes taking photos in
low light conditions like this a pleasure. Reinvent smartphone
photography and share your sunrise pictures with us. #OO

But, as you can probably guess, that crisp image
did not come from a Huawei P9. As David Ruddock of
Android Police
spotted Monday
, Google+ stores and displays the EXIF metadata
of an image. And in this case, the metadata shows this photo came
from a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens — all
told, about $4,500 worth of equipment.

Huawei Google+ fake image

screenshot via Bokeh

The amazing thing here is, this photo could not plausibly
have come from a Huawei P9 — or any other smartphone. Let’s count
the reasons.

  1. Lens flare Smartphone cameras certainly can
    produce lens flares, but they don’t look like this. A lens
    flare is the product of light from outside the lens’ field of
    view bouncing obliquely into the camera, through its glass
    elements, and onto the sensor. Tiny smartphone cameras tend to
    turn up smeary blobs when this happens, whereas longer DSLR
    lenses produce these longer flares with lots of
    easily-differentiated circles for the internal elements.
  2. Depth of field

    huawei warns you not to use wide aperture mode on subjects more than a meter about three feet away and you can see why here

    A photo
    from a Huawei P9 in wide-aperture mode at a similar

    Rafi Letzter/Tech

    You see that nice, blurry background? That’s the result
    of a large lens with a
    wide aperture and shallow depth of field
     — in other
    words, a very small area where a subject will be in focus.
    Some smartphones do have wide apertures. But because their
    physical cameras are so tiny, the effect is only this strong
    when the subject is within a few inches of the device. (The
    P9 actually has some interesting tech for faking shallow
    depths of field, as
    I’ve written about before
    . But it is nowhere near good
    enough to pull off an image like this.)

  3. Zoom Smartphone cameras have wide-angle
    lenses. That’s because in most situations you want to shoot
    something nearby, or are able to get closer to it. But a

    major downside
    of wide-angle lenses is that they stretch
    and distort their subjects. The model in this portrait is not
    distorted at all, even at the edges of the frame. That alone
    tells you she was shot on a long lens, of the kind simply not
    available for smartphones. And the EXIF data confirms it — a
    70-200mm is the longest lens most pros will use in all but a
    few niche circumstances.
  4. Quality This is a bit more
    subjective, but it’s worth noting. This image simply doesn’t
    look like the product of smartphone glass. Those sharp little
    motes of dust, the color accuracy, the detail in the highlights
    and shadows are all far beyond the capabilities of any
    smartphone camera I’ve ever tested. Even the bokeh, or texture
    of the blurry bits, looks wrong. This image just looks and
    feels like the product of a large sensor and high-end glass.
    And frankly it’s a little embarrassing that Huawei would
    pretend otherwise.

At this point, it’s worth
noting that the text of Huawei’s caption (which has since been
taken down from Google+ and elsewhere)
doesn’t technically claim this photo emerged from a
P9. It just shares some marketing claims about the P9
alongside this image. But even those claims make no sense. Huawei
says the P9 is great in “low light conditions like this” while
this shot was clearly taken in the shade on the sunny day — a
situation in which no camera should struggle. Also,
in my test
, the P9 was just okay in low light. But it was
nowhere near as good as the market-leading
Samsung Galaxy S7

Huawei did not immediately
return a request for comment, but provided this statement to
Android Police and other publications:

It has recently been
highlighted that an image posted to our social channels was not
shot on the Huawei P9. The photo, which was professionally taken
while filming a Huawei P9 advert, was shared to inspire our
community. We recognise though that we should have been clearer
with the captions for this image. It was never our intention to
mislead. We apologise for this and we have removed the

Huawei is one of the fastest
growing smartphone companies today. It had 8.2% of the global
smartphone market in the second quarter of this year, behind only
Samsung and Apple, according
to the research firm IDC
. Its phones have been
well-received too, especially last year’s Nexus 6p.

via Tech


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