Smartphone cameras still have a long way to go until they can produce images with a quality similar to DSLR cameras.
Recently, we have seen some smartphones incorporate periscope-type technology that allows them to offer high levels of zoom using an L-shaped tunnel design.
OPPO introduced this technology for the first time in early 2019, and later other manufacturers have also incorporated it into their smartphones.
Now in 2020, we have another groundbreaking smartphone camera technology that has debuted with the Vivo X50 Pro: ‘gimbal’ stabilization.
Gimbal stabilization explained
This smartphone overcomes the limitations of space and lens movement to achieve physical stabilization that dwarfs current optical image stabilization (OIS) technology, promising very stable photo and video output, even with excessive lens movement. telephone – for example, when you run, go down the stairs, or record a video exploring the rugged terrain of the mountains.
Vivo introduced this technology earlier this year with the Apex 2020 concept phone. The Chinese company claims that the gimbal system offers 300 percent more performance over current optical image stabilization.
The rear camera module of the Vivo X50 Pro houses a 48MP (f / 1.6) primary sensor which is the one with the gimbal stabilization bracket. It has a double ball structure to achieve a triple-axis rotation that basically makes the lens float inside the camera housing.
It not only moves in two dimensions but also in the third dimension. So it also compensates for tilt movement, which has never been seen before on a phone camera.
Combined with optical image stabilization and electronic image stabilization, the camera is virtually invincible when it comes to shooting in unstable conditions, and a less wobbly lens means more stabilization when shooting in zoom mode. The more zoom level there is, the more the movement of the phone is amplified.
The next step to optical (OIS) and electronic (EIS) stabilization
The stabilization of the optical image (OIS) is a hardware solution using the gyroscope of the microelectromechanical system (MEMS) for motion detection. The system then adapts to the movement of the lens to compensate for shaking. For example, if, while taking a photo, the hand moves slightly to the left, then the lens moves to the right to compensate.
The stabilization of the electronic image (EIS) also provides some stability but is a software solution that uses the accelerometer smartphone to detect movement and then align the frames.
The gimbal camera setup of the Vivo X50 Pro takes motion correction to the next level as the entire camera housing moves to better counter all three axes. In combination with the movement of the lens within the camera thanks to OIS (when necessary), the phone can take ultra-smooth photos or videos in low light conditions.
Below, we can see a video from Engadget where it compares the stabilization performance of the Vivo X50 Pro against the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Other manufacturers could introduce this technology
Now that Vivo has set a new bar for ultra-stable shooting technology, it wouldn’t be uncommon for other manufacturers to follow suit and start developing their own technology, as was the case with periscope lenses in their day.
Now, the cost of this technology is considerable. A significant portion of the Vivo X50 Pro’s $ 650 price has been invested only in camera technology and there are a few compromises along the way.
For example, it comes with the Snapdragon 765G, while most high-end smartphones come with Snapdragon 865. Internal storage is UFS 2.1, while UFS 3.0 is already common in all high-end smartphones (and some smartphones). already have UFS 3.1 storage)
Clearly, the phone is targeting a niche of buyers who want a next-gen camera and don’t mind other hardware compromises, but other manufacturers may choose to incorporate this technology into authentic flagships.