In order to make the phone shoot farther than the camera, from the beginning of the camera with the camera function, manufacturers have already had the idea of adding a zoom lens to the product.
▲ Image from:Jordan McQueen/Unsplash
Looking back at the Nokia N93, which looks like a DV machine in the early days, the LG L-03c, which looks like a card machine, and the 10x zoom that appeared this year. In the past 10 years of development of smartphones, in order to make the mobile phone shooting experience closer Cameras, manufacturers have racked their brains to achieve this pursuit through different methods.
The traditional optical zoom structure is compressed into the mobile phone, the design of the additional module is added to the mobile phone, the optical zoom is realized by the external module, and the high-pixel sensor is mounted, and the user is directly allowed to perform a larger digital zoom under the premise of ensuring the basic output. Utilize the periscope structure to integrate the "optical + digital" hybrid zoom solution … …
They hope that the mobile phones that are readily available will also have the same zooming power as the card machine, helping them to shoot farther scenes and objects. This is the third after the "history of mobile phone photography" is clear and more widely shot. Chapter —— shoot farther.
Aggressive zoom pursuit, almost turned the phone into a "callable camera""
In the summer of 6 years ago, Samsung released a Galaxy S4 Zoom, a branch of the Galaxy S4. There is no special upgrade between the front of the phone and the S4 in the same period.
▲Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Picture from:Android Central
But the reason Samsung distinguishes it is because of the back of this phone. Because it is a mobile phone with a 10x optical zoom, it is a feature that is not available as the flagship Galaxy S4, and its shape is also like a card machine due to zoom.
▲Picture from: CNET
Just as Sony Ericsson said in the K700 ad "Phone Meets Camera", the S4 Zoom is like a hybrid of mobile phones and card machines.
▲Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Picture from:Android Central
Although it is still a mobile phone in nature, its hybrid style shows its soul of the card machine. The 10x optical zoom lens makes the phone thickness 1.5 cm, plus a proprietary grip and stand. The hole, the huge shutter button, so that when you really use it as a mobile phone, it will have a wonderful feeling. This made the editors of Trusted Reviews evaluate the S4 Zoom.
The lens makes the S4 Zoom a top-heavy problem when used, and its thickness is not easy for you to put it in your jeans pocket.
Of course, the Samsung S4 Zoom is not the first mobile phone in the world to use this design. It is just one of the representatives of this type of design in the past ten years. Looking forward, Samsung actually saw it in the 2005 SCH-M339. A 3x optical zoom has been added.
▲ I said that you may not believe that this is a 2005 mobile phone. Image from: sogi mobile phone king
On the SCH-V770 after the M339, they even achieved 3 + 4.7 times optical change … … through an external lens. Although these were products 10 years ago, these ideas are radical today.
▲LG L-03C. Image from: Techtickerblog
If Samsung opens the chapter of the telescopic lens phone, then LG's L-03C is the perfect combination of "mobile phone + camera".
Exclusively produced for Docomo, this LG is designed with a rather cute card machine style. Although it has only 3x optical zoom, the textured grip, dedicated zoom ring, shutter and professional interactive UI make it More like a camera than a mobile phone.
But in fact, its true identity is really a mobile phone, but it looks like a camera.
Just as everyone was dissatisfied with the Samsung S4 Zoom's abandonment of the portable to enhance the zoom, the Galaxy K Zoom came. This time, Samsung continues to maintain a 10x optical change configuration on this Galaxy S5-based product, but cancels the grip on the S4 Zoom, the tripod hole, and thins the phone, which is finally able to fit into the close-fitting jeans. in the pocket.
▲ Samsung Galaxy K Zoom
If you don't stick out its lens, it's still a bit of a shadow of Lumia 1020.
However, although the zoom lens zoom scheme has been optimized in the later stage, the inevitable heavy fuselage and the ribbed battery life are still fatal defects of this type of mobile phone. Therefore, this has also created the end of this type of mobile phone, but the actual sales volume is not optimistic.
▲ Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom and Nokia 808. Image courtesy of Fonearena
At the root of it, under the condition of camera hardware at that time, the user's pursuit of camera functions is actually not complicated. They will not give up the portability that the mobile phone should have because of a 10 times less light change in a use scene. Since you need higher quality products, why not choose a professional camera?
In addition, the electric unit that needs additional drive also cuts the battery life, the telescopic structure and the maintenance cost of the equipment. These aspects have become the main reason for the disappearance of the telescopic lens phone.
▲ OPPO O-Lens1 Picture from: Aihuo
A more "special" example is the O-Lens1 that OPPO has introduced, but strictly speaking it is a stand-alone lens unit that can be clipped to a mobile phone and provides a 10x optical zoom, then let the phone operate the lens through WiFi. Back to the photo, this avoids the thickness of the telescopic lens, and the camera is more flexible.
But even so, the telescopic lens did not escape the fate of being eliminated on the phone.
What is the "10x zoom" that manufacturers are promoting now?
We all know that the telescopic solution is the most direct zoom technology, but history tells us that it will make the phone as bloated as the camera, and it is not convenient for everyday use. This has led to the end user's need for zooming, but it won't pick up a phone that's so bloated like "camera plus call."
Therefore, manufacturers began to shift the direction of research and development to the "past-seeking" structure.
▲ ASUS Zenfone Zoom has greatly reduced the thickness of the fuselage through the periscope structure, but still has a huge camera area. Image from:Android Central
Early on the phone to try the periscope structure is ASUS Zenfone Zoom, which is a 3x optical zoom phone through the periscope structure. Its emergence provides an idea for the development of mobile phone zoom in the future:
Through the periscope structure, the mobile phone can also control the volume of the fuselage after adding a multi-zoom lens.
But just a short 3x zoom is not enough for users who really need a telephoto lens.
On this year's MWC 2019,OPPO announces that it will launch a mobile phone with a 10x zoom lens this year, not coincidentally, Huawei is also in the P30Promotional videoIt is vaguely revealed that they will also use a similar zoom scheme.
▲ OPPO introduced the periscope structure technology in the early years, which supports up to 5x optical zoom
Oppo's new "10x Zoom" technology covers a larger range of focal lengths than previous zoom solutions. The new technology combines the digital zoom and the optical zoom of the periscope structure to achieve a zoom effect equivalent to a range of approximately 15.9mm-159mm focal lengths through the "joint" mode.
Although some users think that this calculation method from the focal length of the super wide-angle lens is a bit special, from the practical point of view, this "15.9mm-159mm" zoom is still sufficient.
▲ OPPO's rear three-camera solution, the bottom is the periscope telephoto camera
Like other multi-camera phones, OPPO's 10x zoom solution is also a three-camera combination that includes a super wide-angle lens, a standard wide-angle lens with a 48-megapixel sensor, and a telephoto lens with a periscope zoom structure. Zooming is achieved by a form similar to a baton:
This solution combines digital and periscope structures for greater zoom. Although not all can achieve non-destructive effects, but with the optimization of high-pixel sensors and image processing algorithms, it is also possible to take photos with better looks. It is enough to cope with the scene corresponding to the phone shooting.
▲ Three-shot periscope structure analysis
In addition, it enables more efficient volume control. From the display machine equipped with this solution, its volume is not much different from that of a normal mobile phone, and the thickness control can be maintained at the current level. In this case, it will not have much impact on daily use and portability.
Of course, this program will still be somewhat limited in its use.
For example, after switching to a telephoto lens, anti-shake becomes more important. Although OPPO indicates that a dual OIS optical image stabilization design will be added to the zoom lens, the effect of the screen shake on the shooting will be much larger than before because of the zoom to near 160mm. Especially in low-light environments, users have to use a tripod if they want to take long-distance zoom shooting.
In order to control the lens volume, the sensor used on the telephoto lens is also limited, so that the telephoto lens cannot use the sensor of the size of the main camera. In this case, the telephoto lens will still be a bit lacking in shooting quality. If you encounter a low-light environment, the small-sized sensor will bring more pressure, and the requirements for image processing algorithms will become higher.
Of course, if you really want to achieve all the effects of optical zoom on your phone, the only way is to do a complete optical zoom system on the phone, with the optical anti-shake structure used on the camera. However, if you follow this routine, the phone will become a camera that can make calls, and the purpose has changed.
Since the mobile phone is not a camera that needs to delve into the quality of the image and the details of the shooting, the audience it faces is also a general user who will not be obsessed with the shooting effect. At the same time, the mobile phone is also a device that needs to weigh multiple functions, then it is zooming. In this field, you only need to achieve "clearly clear" and "shooting far".
It can be seen that the "pick-up" zoom balances the shooting effect with the volume control, and is currently the best zoom solution for both volume and image quality.
Telephoto and wide angle must be the development trend of mobile phone cameras this year, but there are not many manufacturers who master it.
In the previous article"Mobile phone taking pictures in a corner overtaking, but don't say second SLR"In the view, we have discussed that mobile phones will not replace the status of professional cameras in the future, but will develop in one aspect to bring better shooting quality to users.
So in today's existing sensor technology, what direction will the camera's camera function develop in this year? From the current development trend, the two trends are indispensable for the increase of telephoto and super wide-angle lenses.
If the 10x zoom is to allow you to clearly capture the teacher's PPT in the last row of the class, then the super wide-angle lens allows you to shoot when you shoot the landscape, compared to the telephoto lens. Got more.
▲ main camera (left) and super wide-angle lens (right)
Before the super wide-angle lens is introduced to the mobile phone, we need to do such a set of operations to take pictures:
Turn on the camera, click on "Panorama", and carefully turn your phone from left to right half a turn with your hands on the phone.
Then you will find that the circle of friends who just shared the beautiful text, the picture is actually the same strip with the fish screen, the copy is even wider than the panoramic picture.
Although the super wide-angle lens is not used to replace the panoramic shooting, after all, the focal length is only about 16mm (angle is about 100~130°), not the 180° of panoramic shooting; they are not yet a substitute, but it can be certain To the extent that you can reduce the cumbersome operation of shooting a wide scene.
▲ Downtown San Francisco under the ultra wide-angle camera (Photographing equipment Huawei Mate 20 Pro)
For example, the night scene in Guangzhou is super beautiful tonight, but the ordinary camera only shoots a part, and it is not convenient to back a few parts. Obviously, the super wide-angle camera can be used at this time.
After shooting, with each manufacturer's own AI algorithm optimization, the user can easily get an excellent night photo, although in some details it may be slightly embarrassing compared to professional cameras, but it is enough Became the most beautiful landscape of a circle of friends.
So in the next period, the three lenses of Super Wide Angle, Wide Angle and Telephoto will become the standard configuration of the flagship mobile phone, covering the focal length equivalent to (about) 16mm to 160mm. In other words, basically shooting people, things, scenery, mobile phones can help us all.
▲ Wuzhen scenery under the ultra wide-angle lens (Photographing equipment Samsung Galaxy S10)
The rest, such as shooting pixel boost, camera function gameplay, AI algorithm optimization … … these are the places where manufacturers are keen to upgrade, but they will not bring too much intrinsic changes and sales changes to the phone.
For example, the current 48 million pixel shooting, it is just a new project, under the constraints of processing and storage performance, users will not spend more than 1 second waiting time to take a photo, so the manufacturer is also very The default is 12 million pixel output. Therefore, in the current situation of market changes, the hardware upgrade is obviously more attractive than the numerical pleasure.
However, the number of superimposed sensors is not the price of the manufacturer's promotion. On the one hand, the new hardware needs to test whether the handset manufacturers' control of the supply chain is mature and ensure a stable supply.
On the other hand, in the environment where new technologies are saturated, "how to take better photos with new lenses" will become one of the optimization problems that need to be solved by manufacturers.
For example, Samsung added "wide-angle anti-aliasing" in S10 to reduce the edge distortion of super wide-angle lens by algorithm; Huawei also adjusted the algorithm to reduce the distortion of Mate 20 at super wide angle; Xiaomi used 48 million Pixels slow down the image quality loss caused by high-magnification zoom, and also add ultra-wide-angle anti-distortion mechanism.
However, although these vendors try to use algorithms to optimize the defects of new features, they still fail in some special circumstances, such as super wide-angle distortion or AI recognition errors, so this will inevitably require manufacturers to continue to upgrade and optimize the algorithm.
▲ Galaxy S10's AI-assisted shooting function helps users find the right shooting angle according to the scene.
Therefore, my conclusion is that it is inevitable that mobile phone camera functions will make breakthrough progress this year, but this trend is limited to several head enterprise products that are mature in supply chain and technology control.
Zooming in to the experience level, in addition to the hardware foundation, software optimization is the second step for mobile phone manufacturers. After all, hardware is only the basis for achieving the goal. Improving the quality of shooting requires optimization of software algorithms. Manufacturers with relevant technology accumulation are in the process. After the development has more advantages.
Therefore, with the support of hardware and software, the camera functions of the head manufacturers will make significant progress this year. Although they still have a distance compared with professional cameras, the distance to achieve the goal of "one machine to the world", I see It should be not far away.
Author: Altman / Liangmeng Lin
Source of the map: CNET