Saturday, September 24, 2016

Huawei P9

The Huawei P9 created a lot of controversy in the photographic community.  Yes, indeed, this is a cell phone, one of those being known a smart. With my cheap cell phone causing problems once in a while, I decided to get myself a P9, install Lightroom mobile and Snapseed on it, to not only have a better phone, but also a portable photo studio.

There are many reviews out there, giving a lot of tips and tricks, I don't want to redo any of that. Just a quick-tip for black and white photographers who also want to keep RAW files.

One of the criticism I was reading, and I do fully agree, the present software seems not allow to extract the raw data from the B&W camera. Maybe some firmware update or hack could solve that in the future. It would actually be nice to have both raw files, the RGB and the B&W.

Anyway, for the time being, this is what I can recommend.

  • put the camera in pro-mode (otherwise no RAW file!)
  • swipe from the right side to access the settings menu
  • go to the last menu item "Image adjustments"
  • set saturation to -2 (that turns the JPEG file into a B&W)

The other two sliders could be used in a specific B&W-type way:
  • punchy contrasty low key: contrast +2 and brightness -1
  • soft high key: contrast -1 and brightness +2

You get the idea, I guess.

In the presence of JPEG files, the RAW (DNG) files are not shown directly. However, all you need to do is import the DNGs into Lightroom mobile or open them in Snapseed.

Below, 2 images, one out of camera JPEG, the other converted from the DNG. Both exported to the Lightroom gallery, scaled down to 2048px. Settings for the JPEG: contrast -1 and brightness +1.


Switching between the images, you will also notice the distortion correction, which is applied to the JPEG automatically.

I will certainly experiment with this camera a lot. Hopefully I will find the time to also share my experiences.


The above shown trick recording a B&W-JPEG next to the DNG does not work with flash. When flash is activated, strangely, the desaturation does not happen.
Not all is lost during night-time, the desaturation trick does work with the "Steady on" illumination.

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