Huawei Honor 6 Plus variable camera aperture explained, more camera samples compare it against iPhone 6

When we heard about the Huawei Honor 6 Plus featuring an innovative, dual-camera system with variable aperture we were surprised. Then, we saw the first Honor 6 Plus camera samples, and we were genuinely impressed with the low-light performance of the system, but still could not quite understand the works of this new system: was Huawei really using shutter blades with varying apertures? That did not seem very likely, so we guessed that this 'variable aperture' is done via some clever algorithms using the feed from both 8-megapixel rear cameras.

We have now seen the first hands-on demonstrations of the Honor 6 Plus, and we have a clearer understanding of how this new dual-camera system works. The Honor 6 Plus does indeed use software to simulate varying aperture, and you have control of aperture from f/0.96 to f/16. You control the aperture via a slider that allows you to select various levels in-between, and you get a live view of the change in depth of field (more bokeh for wide apertures, and a flatter-looking shot for narrower apertures). Even better, you can select the focus and the aperture of an image after you have already captured it, practically, the same effect as on a Lytro camera.

The technical setup behind this includes two precisely aligned cameras on the back of the phone. Both feature 8-megapixel sensors, but the main one is an auto-focus cam with f/2.0 aperture, while the secondary one comes with an f/2.4 lens and fixed focus. As you can see, there is no physical variability in the apertures - the effect is purely software-based.

In order to achieve it, Huawei uses a powerful ISP with a 'triple IE' (3IE) graphics engine that the company says it has been working on for some two years. What the two cameras do is obvious - the fixed focus one captures a flat image with very little depth, while the secondary one can focus on nearby objects (something impossible for a fixed focus-only shooter). Also, Huawei can use different exposures on these two cameras - a short exposure and a long exposure, for a more dynamic image. Naturally, this also means that the Honor 6 Plus can capture HDR images faster as an HDR image on it requires just one closure of the shutters rather than multiple snaps.

Another interesting decision Huawei has made for the Honor 6 Plus camera is to output 13-megapixel images, interpolated from what's captured on the two 8-megapixel sensors. We have shown you some early samples shot by Huawei itself, and pixel peepers were quick to notice some disturbing halo artifacts in those images, so we do hope that Huawei continues to perfect the algorithm in this regard. In addition, this dual camera setup can also capture stereoscopic, 3D images. Right below, you'd see the first comparison images between the Honor 6 Plus and the iPhone 6 Plus (downscaled).

Finally, good news is that Huawei promises to open the APIs for developers, allowing interesting new applications, and we do hope to see something done with the mentioned depth map that the dual camera is allegedly capable of capturing. 

source: PCPop (translated)

Related phones

6 Plus
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor HiSilicon Kirin, Octa-core, 1800 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3600 mAh(13h 3G talk time)



1. nenadmitrovic

Posts: 64; Member since: Aug 01, 2014

Refocus like with nokia refocus, nothing new

2. Ghost04

Posts: 517; Member since: May 03, 2014

Huawei phones camera were not as good as other top brands . But this one looks very good and top quality . Many will say it's not as good as The apples one ,but they can't call it bad either . It looks to me it can take really good photos . Huawei is a promising brand and I believe it can bring top class products .

21. asdfzxh

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 22, 2013


3. refillable

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

I think it works just like HTC's dual camera. The 'variable aperture' is just Huawei's marketing term. Well, at least it's not just 4 Mp :P

4. maherk

Posts: 6770; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

The iPhone 6's camera puts the Huawei one to shame

7. Ghost04

Posts: 517; Member since: May 03, 2014

Yeah , It's a shame to compete against a below standard I-junk camera .

8. maherk

Posts: 6770; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Please tell me more about why the iPhone's camera is considered a below than standards one?

17. Z3R091 unregistered

Funny thing is Huawei do take greater image than iPhone. Shame on your eyes can spot the different.

18. kabhijeet.16

Posts: 885; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

He is blinded by iLove

20. asdfzxh

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 22, 2013


19. Simona unregistered

you idiot

5. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

Imagine if it could actually do f/.96!

6. frankg

Posts: 173; Member since: May 14, 2014

I expected way more from the camera seeing the first examples. But pitted against the iPhone 6, it's nothing special. Looks like I was right about the first samples being faked...

9. jimjam unregistered

iphone 6 looks better.

12. Lorne

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 18, 2014

whatever, honor 6 plus much more cheaper

10. rangoj

Posts: 46; Member since: Mar 29, 2014

Honor 6 Plus low light shots looks better then iphone 6 shoots, but in daylight I am giving the advantage iphone...

11. Lorne

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 18, 2014

The dual-lens is really amazing. we can't ignore the innovations of Huawei.

13. p00tis

Posts: 12; Member since: Nov 07, 2014

True. Even if the result isn't necessarily better than the iPhone 6, it's still innovation, since no one's really done this before. iPhone 6 owner here, by the way; really hope Apple incorporates some truly original features in the iPhone 7 =P

14. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

doesn't look any better than the iPhone

15. rsiders

Posts: 1934; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Ok so judging from the set of pictures and the comparison ones, they are definitely not as impressive but still very good quality rivaling Apple's really good camera. Those first pictures had to be retouched.


Posts: 55; Member since: Nov 15, 2014

i think the honor 6 plus looks more like iphone 5s,, and i dont like that,,,,, but it makes me surprise that there are double camera on the back..

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