Why oh why would I commence a blog post like this? The hope is that HUAWEI, through a supposedly simple firmware-update, could make this a premium B&W shooter.
Very simple experimentation, i.e. moving a finger in front of the camera modules, reveals, the "MONOCHROME" mode (yes, capitals are used in the menu) indeed uses the camera next to the phone's edge. In a way, that is indeed good news.
In order to judge the quality of the 2 different cameras, I took 2 shots from a photo published by wired.co.uk (credits to Amy Davies) from my laptop's screen.
The first shot is taken with the regular "PRO" mode, desaturated JPEG + RAW(DNG). The second shot was taken with the "MONOCHROME" mode; and yes, I had correct for the parallax of the 2 cameras.
The following images are 100% crops of the same image portion, the pixelation reflects the pixels of my laptop's screen (no camera artefacts!). The DNG-file was opened in RawTherapee.
|RAW (DNG) - desaturated JPEG|
|MONOCHROME JPEG - desaturated JPEG|
|RAW (DNG) - MONOCHROME JPEG|
Clearly, the monochrome camera can pick up the black matrix of my laptop's screen a lot better than the Bayer filter camera, no surprise here.
Further, the dynamic range of the monochrome camera seems a lot better, just like expected.
HUAWEI, it is your hands to turn the P9 a superior camera by allowing to record RAW data from the monochrome sensor. Such a feature would turn that phone into my favourite camera ever easily.