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article imageHuawei uses $4,500 professional camera to fake a smartphone photo

By James Walker     Jul 5, 2016 in Technology
Chinese smartphone brand Huawei has been caught up in an embarrassing social media incident that has eroded trust in its brand. It implied that a photo uploaded to its Google+ account was shot on its P9 smartphone. It was actually taken on a $4,500 DSLR.
As Android Police reports, the photo was originally uploaded a few days ago. It appeared on Huawei's official Google+ account and appeared to be a stunning piece of portrait photography.
Huawei accompanied the photo with a caption that would suggest it was captured on the Huawei P9, the company's flagship smartphone: "We managed to catch a beautiful sunrise with Deliciously Ella. The #HuaweiP9's dual Leica cameras makes taking photos in low light conditions like this a pleasure. Reinvent smartphone photography and share your sunrise pictures with us."
While the caption doesn't state the photo was captured on the P9, it should be a safe assumption to make, given it appeared on Huawei's social media. As it turns out, there's more to the photo than meets the eye.
Social networks like Google+ retain the EXIF data associated with images. EXIF data is provided by the camera that originally shot the photo, helping viewers to identify things like the camera model and setup. When users downloaded the image and viewed its properties, the EXIF attributes revealed that a device very different to the Huawei P9 had captured the portrait.
Huawei claimed a photo captured by a $4 500 camera was shot on its P9 smartphone [Image via Android ...
Huawei claimed a photo captured by a $4,500 camera was shot on its P9 smartphone [Image via Android Police, original since removed]
Huawei [via Android Police]
The camera actually responsible for the shot is a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, a high-end DSLR camera used by professionals. It was equipped with an EF70-200m f/2.8L IS II USM lens for the photoshoot, a setup that's worth over $4,500. The Huawei P9 retails at around $700.
After a storm of media attention, Huawei has responded to the discovery. It admitted it "should have been clearer" when captioning the photo but said it was meant to "inspire" its community.
"It has recently been highlighted that an image posted to our social channels was not shot on the Huawei P9," the company said. "The photo, which was professionally taken while filming a Huawei P9 advert, was shared to inspire our community. We recognise though that we should have been clearer with the captions for this image. It was never our attention to mislead. We apologise for this and we have removed the image."
Whether Huawei intentionally misled people or not, there's no getting away from the controversy that has surrounded the P9. Since launch, Huawei has been aggressively promoting its camera technology that includes Leica lenses and optimisation for low-light photography.
Evidence has come to light to suggest Leica may have had no involvement in the phone's development though, simply becoming a name to add to Huawei's marketing material. Huawei appearing to use photos from a $4,500 camera to claim the P9 takes photos better than its actual capabilities aren't going to make these claims go away.
The Huawei P9 launched in April and is being promoted by Huawei across the world. In an attempt to become more attractive to Western consumers, it has created a flagship smartphone with an all-metal body to impress people new to the brand. Deception and misleading social media campaigns aren't likely to help Huawei's expansion though, regardless of the company's original intentions. The image has now been removed.
More about Huawei, huawei p9, Camera, Canon, Fake
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