Huawei recently promoted a photography contest with a video featuring impressive pictures “taken with Huawei smartphones.” The problem? Some of the images were actually shot on a DSLR camera.

The promo video for Huawei’s photography contest. (Picture: Huawei via Weibo)

The issue was first discovered by Weibo user Jamie-hua, aka Huapeng Zhao who won second place in the 2018 iPhone Photography Awards with a photo taken with an iPhone 6. Zhao said he thought the photos in the Huawei video looked familiar and decided to check. He discovered the machine behind them was actually a US$3,000 Nikon D850 -- not a smartphone. The photos can be found in the online photography community platform 500px, attributed to photographer Su Tie.

A photo credited to photographer Su Tie, taken with a Nikon D850 camera. (Picture: Su Tie via 500px)

Huawei has since apologized on Weibo, saying that the photos were “wrongly marked” due to “an oversight by the editor.” It said the images were intended to encourage people to share their works on Huawei’s online gallery.

The company has now updated the original video to remove the line that says the photos came from Huawei phones. It still says they were drawn from Huawei’s Next-Image community, though. When asked, a Huawei representative referred us to the contest rules in Chinese, which state that “you can publish photos taken with any equipment in the Next-Image community.”

Another photo by Su Tie. (Picture: Su Tie via 500px)

Over the years, Huawei has repeatedly been accused of using DSLR photos to promote its smartphone cameras.

In 2016, Huawei admitted to using a photo shot on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR camera to promote its P9 phone. The image was eventually taken down. The company also drew controversy when it said the phone sported “dual Leica cameras,” even though the famed German company only made some parts of the camera, but not the lens or the sensor.

Two years later, a Reddit user found that a selfie shown in a Huawei Nova 3 phone commercial appeared to have been taken by a DSLR camera. As seen in a since-deleted Instagram post from the actress in the scene, she was posing in front of a professional camera while the actor beside her pretended to hold a non-existent smartphone. Huawei told CNET that the images were “for reference only.”

Last year, again, Huawei used a DSLR photo to market the P30 flagship phone, as spotted by GSMArena. At the time, the company said the images in the teaser posters were supposed to be “artistic renditions” of the phone’s camera features.