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推薦人: 來源: 時間: 2013-02-24 閱讀: 3.15W 次


When it comes to smartphone cameras, the only number that has mattered for the past decade is how many megapixels they have. Now an innovation is arriving that makes the smartphone calculation even simpler: does it have one camera on the back or two?


A dual-lens system can bring all sorts of advantages to a smartphone that hitherto have been the preserve of standalone cameras. It can make autofocus faster and improve low-light photography. One of the pair can add extra zoom without compromising picture quality or adding bulk. The extra camera can also allow a wider angle for better landscapes and selfies. When combined with the right image-processing software it can add effects associated with expensive single lens reflex cameras, like a bokeh background or shallow depth of field, without needing to attach extra lenses.


The next iPhone is expected to come with a dual-lens camera when it is released in September but Apple will not be the first to introduce this technology. Earlier this year, LG’s G5 phone added a wide-angle lens alongside its main camera while Huawei’s flagship, the P9, comes with a Leica-branded twin-lens system that boasts image enhancements.


I have been testing the Huawei P9 Plus, a larger model with a 5.5-inch display, while visiting the UK — the handset has not been released in the US.

我在訪問英國期間試用了華爲P9 Plus,它配備了較大的5.5英寸顯示屏(這款手機還沒有在美國發布)。

Pros and cons


As a phone, the P9 is a handsome device with a brushed aluminium back and solid build. The fingerprint reader on its rear is fast and accurate and leaves the front face clean and smooth. I appreciated the double sim-card slots — a fantastically useful feature, still too rare in high-end smartphones, that allowed me to take calls on both my UK and US numbers without carrying two devices. However, the battery, perhaps strained by the dual-sim usage, only just made it through the day.


I was less of a fan of the P9 software. Huawei’s version of Android, which it calls EMUI, blings out the default apps in the same shiny gold colour scheme as the phone’s exterior, which I found tacky. That aside, the operating system looks a little too similar to Apple’s iOS, with EMUI’s square app icons and near-identical settings screen.


Two lenses


In camera technology, at least, it will be Apple that is playing catch-up with Huawei. The P9’s two lenses do not change the angle or zoom but together create a single image with greater SLR-style depth of field, where the background is blurred to make the main subject stand out. One is a regular colour camera but the other captures images in monochrome, which is better for pulling out detail and depth.


Taking regular photographs is no more complicated than with any other smartphone but there are lots of options. These include capture modes such as colour-saturated high dynamic range, night-shot and blemish-smoothing “beauty” mode to professional settings such as manual focus or white balance. All are instantly accessible by swiping from either edge of the screen.


Tapping the icon that looks like a camera aperture opens one of the killer features of the dual-lens camera, its wide-aperture effects. Touch the object on which you want to focus then slide your finger up and down the screen to adjust the image to the equivalent lens aperture. Ultra-low f/0.95 will blur the background almost beyond recognition and give a very narrow focus area, while the maximum f/16 will bring the whole scene into focus. This will be familiar to people who have used SLR cameras but the design — and instant preview — is intuitive enough for those who mainly shoot with smartphones too.


Because this focus effect is achieved through software, the image can be tweaked after it is taken, should you decide the background is too blurred or the main subject indistinct.


This special aperture mode works best on portraits, with the focus automatically identifying faces, and on close-range objects such as flowers. When it works, which it does best with a simple solid subject, the photo can rival one taken with an SLR. Unfortunately, however, the software is not fully reliable and sometimes smudges parts of the image at random. I noticed this particularly when my subjects had fuzzy outlines or with the curved corner of a flowerpot.




Like many technological firsts, the P9’s dual-lens camera is still a bit rough, or should I say fuzzy, around the edges. The special aperture effects do not work reliably enough for SLR users to leave their standalone camera at home but people accustomed to flat-looking images taken on smartphones will notice a difference.


Soon, many more devices will come with dual-lens cameras. As the software improves, a meaningful change in smartphone photography is coming into focus.