Huawei partners with optics specialist Leica to 'reinvent' smartphone photography

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,593   +124
Staff member

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei and German camera and lens specialist Leica have announced a strategic partnership which they promise will reinvent smartphone photography.

Oliver Kaltner, CEO of Leica Camera, acknowledged in an adjective-heavy press release that smartphones make a very important contribution to the world of photography and open an important door for his company to target new groups and fields of application.

Pleasantries aside, Leica's exact role in the partnership isn't clearly defined. The duo said the partnership will span research and development, design, co-engineering, user experience, marketing and retail distribution. But what exactly does that mean? Will Leica simply supply lenses for Huawei's smartphone cameras?

Huawei is already the third-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. Likewise, Leica has been in business for well over 160 years and has built a reputation as one of the top (and most expensive) optics companies around. That said, it's not like either side needs help boosting their street cred by leveraging the name brand of the other yet on the other hand, additional brand recognition certainly wouldn't hurt matters either.

Leica is no stranger to the smartphone business. The company worked with Panasonic on the Lumix CM1 smartphone in 2014. Designed primarily to compete with devices like Samsung's Galaxy K Zoom, the CM1 was essentially a digital camera with an integrated smartphone.

It featured a 1-inch image sensor capable of producing 20-megapixel images through a Leica-branded f/2.8 aperture fixed lens. Its high price point, however, kept it from ever really becoming a serious threat in the industry.

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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,483   +5,990
With Leica optics in a cell phone you would have one heck of a powerful, finely tuned instrument, especially if they can give the user a bit more creative control on the fly.


If Leica is involved with the optics, then perhaps this phone will be...awesome! Or at least the photos will be ;)


Posts: 88   +49
Panasonic used a leica lens on it's CM1 with a 1inch sensor, for amazing quality already!


Posts: 5,410   +3,486
Maybe, just maybe this will result in a smart phone camera that has the quality of a Leica point & shoot. Even Leica cannot alter the laws of physics, so I'm not holding my breath. I'll stick with my DSLR.


Posts: 677   +115
When they offer interchangeable lenses it will reinvent the industry, tiny glass focusing to a tiny sensor has been done to death.
Carl Zeiss would have been a better choice imo. (Now just Zeiss) I loved the look and feel of Lord of the Rings.


Posts: 12,494   +5,868
Maybe we should refer to these devices as a cellcamera instead of cellphone. They obviously work better as a camera than a phone.