Update – Huawei has issued an official statement reiterating that the camera on the P9 is not certified by Leica, but co-engineered. They also issued a statement which reads, “The P9 and P9 Plus were co-engineered between Huawei and Leica. This is the first collaboration between the two companies following a long-term partnership that was announced in February. From the very beginning, Leica has been deeply involved in the development of these devices. There has been significant technological collaboration between Huawei and Leica around many aspects of the camera, including optical design, imaging quality, image data processing, optimization, and the mechanical construction of the camera module to the graphic user interface. The devices meet Leica’s highest imaging quality standards.”
A couple of months ago, Huawei and Leica announced that they would be working together which many rightfully assumed would result in a smartphone camera by Leica. This was later proven to be true when the Huawei P9 smartphone was announced and indeed a Leica branding was found on the back of the phone.
This led many to assume that the camera was made by Leica, or at least Leica had a hand in helping design it. Turns out it was neither, and that the Leica name on the back of the phone is simply just branding. It has recently been discovered and subsequently confirmed by Huawei that the the P9’s camera module had simply been certified by Leica, and that the German camera maker had no hand in developing or producing the camera or its optics.
Instead it seems that the company behind it is a Chinese company called Sunny Optical Technology of China. However Leica did have some role in the camera because Huawei’s website states that Leica co-engineered the “Picture Quality Algorithm”, which basically means that Leica did have a role in the P9’s camera, albeit a small one.
Basically at the end of the day, these are not camera modules designed by Leica, so do not expect the same quality that you might from an actual Leica camera. That being said, reviews of the handset have found that the image quality captured by the P9 is pretty good, so we guess it’s not a total loss.