"We compared the Honor 8's dual camera with the iPhone 7 Plus' and came away surprised"
If there is one new piece of technology that is taking the smartphone world by storm this year, it has to be dual cameras. It all started with the LG G5, which was closely followed by the Huawei P9. The P9 came with Leica-branded dual cameras that used the second camera on the rear to capture more light using the sensor only to capture monochrome images. This way the dual-camera setup managed to capture a lot more light and details as a result. Now, Huawei has employed the same tech in its mid-range Honor 8 smartphone as well. Basically, you get two 12MP cameras - without the Leica branding - for a more affordable price.
Also jumping on the dual camera bandwagon is Apple with its latest big-screen phone - iPhone 7 Plus. The dual-camera setup in Apple’s phone is a bit different where the second sensor uses a 56mm equivalent lens — which the Cupertino tech giant calls Telephoto lens. This lens uses a cool technique where it does a close crop of the subject to simulate 2x optical zoom that you would on a regular telephoto lens. Apple also makes use of the dual-lens tech to actually introduce a Portrait mode, which adds more depth in the background. Incidentally, the Honor 8 offers this feature as well.
We decided to test the dual cameras inside the phone purely on the basis of how their individual setups work and which one is better.
Note: that the images on the left are captured by the Honor 8 and the iPhone 7 Plus has captured all the images on the right. You can also check the full resolution image by clicking on it.
You can use the iPhone 7 Plus’ dual camera to zoom into a subject up to 2x using the dual camera to capture a more intimate perspective of the same setup. On the other hand, thanks to the fact that the Honor 8 uses its second 12MP lens to capture more details and light. you get images that by default preserve a lot of fidelity. Our sample shots showcased a superb dynamic range without even the use of HDR mode. The exposure and contrast levels were pretty terrific too. In direct comparison with the iPhone 7 Plus, the Honor 8 definitely offers a slight more saturated colour range which makes the image pop out and looks more attractive. The one area where the Honor 8’s camera shines is in its low-light performance where the dual camera tech actually helps in keeping the noise levels in check and capturing a very detailed image almost every single time.
In a toss up between optical zoom and capturing more details in every shot, we’d have to go with the latter. The Honor 8’s dual camera is impressive, to say the least.
The one thing that both devices do with their dual cameras is to capture depth information, then use the in-built software to actually parse this information and create a nice Depth-of-Field (DoF), or Bokeh if you will, effect. In the iPhone 7 Plus, it is called the Portrait mode and the camera app does a lot of hand-holding for you to frame the shot properly and to get the desired level of background defocus. In comparison, Honor just lets you choose the aperture setting to do that. Pretty hassle-free, we must say. Moreover, the end results in similar lighting conditions are almost indistinguishable. In fact, if you were to shoot a portrait picture of your favourite person indoors the iPhone’s Portrait mode introduces a lot of noise in order to keep the colour balance in check. This is not ideal and we actually prefer the Honor 8’s dual camera when shooting the bokeh shots indoors. Overall, while the iPhone 7 Plus’ bokeh shots do look impressive we think that the Honor 8 offers a lot more flexibility apart from just looking impressive.
In a nutshell, the Honor 8’s dual camera is no slouch when it comes to photography and to think that this phone can capture equally good - if not better - photos as the iPhone 7 Plus is saying something; especially for a phone that costs less than half the price of Apple’s flagship. If you love shooting photos using your smartphone camera, then the Honor 8 is a compelling choice.
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