In February Chinese smartphone maker Vivo showcased a concept phone that featured a ‘gimbal-like’ stabilization system on its rear camera. Now the company has published further information about the system that will first be commercially available on the Vivo X50 Pro which is scheduled to launch on June 1.
Vivo calls the system ‘micro tripod head’ and claims it is more effective than conventional stabilization systems without quantifying the difference. It certainly looks more complex. Instead of a lens element, like on most current smartphone stabilization systems, on the Vivo the entire camera module is stabilized using a double-ball suspension which allows for movements of +/- 3° which, according to Vivo, is three times the angle of more conventional systems.
Like on most high-end stabilization systems, the mechanical motion is combined with electronic image stabilization (EIS) methods that typically slightly crop the frame in order to correct for camera shake.
Motion is powered by two voice coils and the ribbon cable connecting the camera to the main device board is folded twice in order to allow for the movements of the camera unit. One downside of the system is space-requirements, though. The system is 4.5mm thick and occupies 363mm² board space which is more than the cameras in most other current devices.
Given the X50 Pro system is the first of its kind it’s probably fair to assume following generations can be designed with smaller dimensions, and first samples look indeed promising, although the comparison device chosen for the video below appears to have a particularly bad stabilization system.
In addition to the innovative stabilization system the X50 Pro will feature a new color filter that offers 39 percent higher light transmission. Vivo says that combined with the stabilization system the camera will capture 220 percent more light than the Vivo X30 Pro. Presumably this is because the stabilization system will allow for more frames to be combined using computational methods, and/or simply lets the auto exposure system use slower shutter speeds.
If the ‘micro tripod head’ system works as well as advertised it should provide both super-smooth video footage and low light photos with good exposure and detail in very low light. We should find out when the X50 Pro is launched in June.
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