Home Accessories Huawei P40 Pro+ and that Leica camera

Huawei P40 Pro+ and that Leica camera

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The new Huawei P40 is a wonderful device and sports a Leica camera. But you could haev to make a few compromises

Since Leica announced its partnership with smartphone giant Huawei in February 2016 a lot has changed. I imagine Leica could not have imagined the furore that has surrounded its partner during the past couple of years. We are left wondering if Leica backed the wrong horse.

I have no doubt that Apple would have been a much better partner for a luxury camera manufacturer right from the off. But we all know that Apple doesn’t do this type of partnership. It is even debatable whether the Californian company would have benefited from a link with any camera manufacturer, even Leica. Apple has its own good name and doesn’t need third-party accolades. Leica, on the other hand, could have done very well out of the association, that’s for sure.

Drawback

There is, however, a drawback in putting all one’s lenses into the Android camp. Leica owners tend to be people more likely to favour Apple when it comes to a smartphone, probably because they were early adopters. And I don’t think many Leica fans who already use Apple would be prepared to switch allegiance just for the sake of the Leica-branded camera.

This is more of a problem in Europe and the United States, however. In China, I am sure that Leica has done very well out of the association with Huawei. It probably makes perfect commercial sense and the accountants at Wetzlar are content.

But, even so, some of the current trends and the constant comment on Huawei is probably something Leica would prefer not to have to deal with.

All this conjecture was sparked by a piece I read in Pocket-Lint in connection with the announcement of the new Huawei P40 Pro+. Mike Lowe writes:

“It’s not really possible to review the Huawei P40 Pro+ as a normal phone. After all, while it runs Google’s Android operating system (with Huawei’s EMUI over the top), the Chinese company is forbidden to use Google Services, meaning many staple Google apps – your banking app, WhatsApp messenger, Facebook, and many more – simply are not available through the conventional download means (as there’s no Google Play Store – it’s Huawei’s App Gallery instead).”

Sacrifice

To me, this sounds like a real sacrifice just to get the Leica Camera. If you are an Android user, there are many other models that don’t suffer from these anti-Huawei restrictions.

The new Huawei P40 is a wonderful device and sports a Leica camera. But you could haev to make a few compromises
The new Huawei P40 is a wonderful device and sports a Leica camera. But you could haev to make a few compromises

For many, happy with their Leicas and their iPhones, there is no real incentive to swap brands in order to experience the Leica Camera. After all, the existing iPhone 11 Pro is no slouch when it comes to photography. And the forthcoming iPhone 12 sets the bar even higher.

Personally, I am one of those people who are firmly in the Apple camp when it comes to computing. I have nothing against Android – and I know that sometimes Android phones have additional features until Apple plays catch up, before striking ahead in another direction. But the Apple eco-system is vital to my personal and working life. I couldn’t contemplate changing to Huawei – or any Android phone for that matter – just for the sake of having a different camera.

The camera in the pocket

In any case, it’s not as though I make a great deal of use of my iPhone 11 Pro camera. It’s good to have it – as they say, the best camera is the one in your pocket – but the camera is never a primary reason to choose a smartphone. As far as I’m concerned, the current iPhones do a great photographic job.

This doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t have been delighted if Leica had announced in 2016 that it was sealing a deal with Apple. That would have been great. But I suspect it could never have been; it’s just not Apple’s way.

What do you think? Did you buy a Huawei phone just to experience the Leica Camera? Have you had any inconvenience as a result of the US restrictions on software and application access? Or, maybe, you just prefer Android. Let’s discuss…

18 COMMENTS

  1. For historical reasons, I have two phone subscriptions. On one I have an iPhone 8 and on the other I have a Huawei P20. The Huawei has a better camera, but as a smartphone the iPhone is vastly superior and I use that about 90% of the time. While I don’t like Apple as a company because of its sharp business practices and the way it treats its customers, their eco system is very good and generally easy to use. The main point here is that cameras in smartphones now have more advanced features than stand alone cameras and they are directly connected to communications functions for use with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc which is where most people ‘consume’ photography these days. The two ‘technologies’ have to meet sometime soon.

    The smartphone is probably the most game-changing device of all time. When I think back to my youth and Captain Kirk on Star Trek talking about ‘Phasers on stun’ and ‘Beam me up Scotty’ using little hand held devices, I can see some of that in today’s smartphones which probably have a long way to go before they are fully developed. The current pandemic has also pointed towards many more potential uses for medical purposes. In less well developed countries smartphones are providing banking and payment services where none existed previously. There are many other aspects of the game changing nature of smartphones

    William

    • Medical is one of the big areas fuelling the popularity of the smart watch, and again Apple reigns supreme in the field, despite the efforts of competitors. It’s another invaluable part of that eco system that locks in users. Apple is fast becoming a services company.

  2. I for one am firmly in the Apple and Leica camp. I don’t see myself switching to an Android phone anytime soon. But you make an important point about the ecosystem. It is a vital part of my daily life too. Changing to another will take a lot of courage. I guess maybe the idea isn’t to convert anyone to the new Huawei model but maybe instead looking for fresh recruits. Then I think it should benefit Leica in the long run, when the fresh recruit goes looking for a new camera.

    • Dr Kaufmann, I am told was (and probably still is) a big fan of Apple. I wouldn’t mind betting his first thought was to approach Apple for a partnership. But, as I say, Apple doesn’t play.

  3. I am an Apple user in my computing, phone and smart watch devices. However my work phone is a Samsung Android based galaxy thingy – its pants, trust me, I hate it in comparison to my IPhone 11. Its just not as intuitive in my humblest of opinions. Its fine for email, calls, and text, but I would rather surf the net and do other stuff on my IPhone.

    One day my employer may catch up with the world and provide us IPhones and Macs to work from, there are rumours it will come. It cannot come soon enough.

    Yes I love my Leicas, but I just dont see a collaboration between Apple and Leica, as Apple likes to purchase the brand and then asset strip the bits it wants and casts the rest off. Not sure that would be a wise use of the Leica brand.

    • Apple has made big inroads into the corporate market in recent years. Even ten years ago Windows was supreme in business. Now Apple is getting more and more attention, especially on smaller organisations where the principals call the shots. The pandemic and the new emphasis on WFH can only bolster Apple’s credentials in this respect.

      • Some parts of our company have already moved over to IPhones, and some even have the golden calf itself, a Macbook Pro that works on our systems. They even have zoom, team and office 365 in a cloud based arrangement were they can collaborate.

        Sadly us paupers are still stuck with Windows 7, and steam powered laptops, and the only cloud our systems see is if you take the device overseas on a plane.

        I can only hope the Apple products make it to my part of the company soon 🙂

  4. Huawei is in big legal issues in Canada and the US for illegal activities. I am an ex high tech telecommunications engineer and high tech executive with prestigious firms such as Bell Northern Research and Alctatel. Tracking and back door access was designed in for government security services. Years later police can use cell tower information to identify where you were which is useful as well as your phone call records.
    There is no way I would buy anything that China provides for communication or internet services as I have enough concerns on my privacy and the security of my finances and credit cards. Leica needs new strategic partnership leadership! I will stick with my beloved iPhone and I wish Leica would focus their limited resources on designing and delivering on their core products which I will not say to start a rabid response. Also, they could put some new leadership and resources into their repair service which is legendary poor service for as long as I remember and I go back to FIM days. Do not buy a rangefinder in particular if you cannot afford other camera bodies.

      • Agree Brian, woldn’t buy anything that has made in PRC written on it.

        Just like we wouldn’t/couldn’t buy Leica during and for a while after WW2.

        During the recent pan(ic) it occurred to me that perhaps I should get rid of my iPhone, but then to my relief I discovered that they are made in Taiwan.

  5. I spent a lot of decades in the hardware-software world. I kept windows in a virtualizer container so that when it puked I could just flush it and reload another container. I use / used Macs as much as possible because of security and integration- things move seamlessly between my devices without the third party headaches. The fact I was in tech does not make me special- it just means I had input from lots of people far deeper into the tech sinkhole than I. As was pointed out to me, there are 4 to 5 million vermin infesting windows machines and 1.5 million or so on Android. I’m told the best the consumer can do is patch 40% of them. But this is how the platform lives- sell machines below cost and charge for service. If there were no vermin, there would be no service. Instant allegiance from all the computer shops and ‘Geek Squads’ out there. Android OS is free- because it’s the quintessential data harvesting machine, all fed at light speed to the servers at Google. Leica parts or not, I avoid it like the plague. Any code I wrote had to be certified vermin free, so that means write on Apple and port to whatever. Apple gets their security tax upfront- OK by me. And Apple gets their 2 or 3 hits a year, but at least that’s manageable. Infractions are typically patched pretty quick (days to months)- relative to an Android overlay by the carrier, which on my side of the pond is never. For an entertaining evening, curl up with a “Terms of Use” policy (forget the ‘Privacy’ policy- that’s a bait and switch). Often the ‘I Accept’ button gives the software not only access to your device, but to all devices on the network. Miracast anybody? uPNP setup on your router? Makes me pull the covers over my head. Bottom line: for me, it’s a security decision.
    Back to cameras! Brian mentioned “do not buy a rangefinder in particular if…”. I have a SL2 and an M10-P. I love them both. Sometimes I just click the M10-P shutter savoring the sound; lots of pics of my toes, but it’s like a pacifier. Soothing. Did I mention the rangefinder inexplicably went out of whack literally overnight? Was peachy on Monday, and hosed Tuesday, on all my lenses. The body didn’t take an impact of any sort. Maybe Wetzlar’s accountants need some cash and sent up the bat signal? It’ all that security talk, ripe for conspiracies. Sigh. Waiting for Leica to reopen so I can set it free on holiday to Wetzlar. I guess I can record the shutter so I’ll have company while it’s away at the spa…

    • In glad to see most of agree on this topic and both your experience and they of Brian Nicol serve as a salutary warning. I’ll stick with Apple.

      • Apple has good security, but as a commercial company they are no more trustworthy with your data than Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Adobe etc, etc. I have no fears about Huawei personally (why would they be interested in me?), but I can see why some security institutions might have concerns. How real those concerns are would be absolutely impossible to determine from where I sit, but the chances are that they relate to core network rather than consumer devices. Dr Kaufmann is a very astute businessman and, however much he might like Apple products, he knows that doing a good deal for Leica with Apple would be well nigh impossible.

        For what it is worth, my last full time job before I retired was as a telecoms regulator in a part of the world where communications security was paramount.

        William

        • An astute businessman would provide good service on his products. I sent my rangefinder in for adjustment and it was 6 months before I saw it again. I sent in my SL 24-90 lens for repair a couple of years later for repair and it was at least 6 months. Both of these are core components for me and I cannot afford backup equipment. Luckily now, I have alternate brand equipment to use. Leica also is slow on communication and the will only acknowledge that they have your ultra premium purchase collecting dust with no forecast. Zeiss on the other hand has great communication and fast response.
          I love Leica products but a rangefinder needs maintenance so one needs to afford two to be secure.

          • By the way, due to poor service I sold off my Leica M stuff to buy alternative system because I could not afford to be cameraless. Because of SL I repurchased M glass as I love them over anything else. They would sell more rangefinders and M glass if service was not so horrible. Take a brief search on web on service…

            Also, an astute businessman would not spread very limited resources across so many product lines – especially the long dead S system.

          • No disagreement on the fact that the Leica S system is dead, but that being said it is almost certainly not using up many resources either, all Leica has done is put a higher MP sensor in a 5 year old body and charge $18K, the investment of Leica was probably close to nothing. As long as the Leica Q and the Monochrom sell in the quantities they currently do (and that Leica clearly can’t handle) everything else IMO is going to be given a lower priority and take a back seat, and that includes the wide angle SL lenses… The fact that at least 2 out of the 3 lenses are only going to be released 3 years after they were announced is simply mind-blowing… I would buy a 21mm right now if it were available… but my realistic guess would be that (in the US) it is only going to be readily available in the stores (after pre-order) perhaps around mid 2022…. I guess I will buy a 21mm for the X1D II instead…

          • Hi Slowdriver, I have been wanting the SL 24mm since it was announced. I have since changed my glass strategy so that I can take pictures and not have to resell when it finally can be ordered. The SL mount would be as dead as the S system if it was not for the L mount alliance with Panasonic and Sigma rapidly delivering great camera choices and lenses. I recently purchased the Panasonic S Pro 16-35 and it is amazingly compact and sharp lens with a 3D look that I have never seen in wide angle zoom much less an ultra wide zoom. It is also not given me any flare issues with no lens cap -wow! I do not need fast ultra wide glass so it is perfect for me and rids my need for an expensive lower usage Leica SL 24mm. Yeah, we have brilliant available and fast arriving choices from SigmA and Panasonic.

          • Hi Brian, I have the Sigma 14-24mm (L-mount) and the Canon RF 15-35mm. Both are excellent and the two together cost only about 60% of the Leica VESL 16-35mm. I agree with you that without Panasonic and Sigma the FF L-mount would be a dead end. And even with Panasonic and Sigma it will not be easy for the L-mount (and same for Nikon) to compete with Sony and Canon. Fuji might actually have made the most sensible choice by not going there and focusing on APS-C and Medium Format. Time will tell.

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