How the vivo X70 Series Brings True Professional Photography Features to Mobile with ZEISS Optics
What makes a smartphone camera system great? Some phone makers believe in using the newest, most capable camera hardware, like a Periscope zoom lens or a main camera with a large image sensor. Other phone brands have placed all their chips on “computational photography” — aka software — achieved via custom-built Image Signal Processing and advanced machine learning algorithms.
vivo wants to give you both. And its latest flagship X70 Series, in particular the Pro+, does just that. In fact, all the aforementioned recent breakthroughs in smartphone photography can be found in the vivo X70 Pro+. Except there’s still so much more.
A do-it-all imaging system co-engineered by vivo and ZEISS
From offering the world’s first in-display fingerprint sensor and pop-up selfie camera, to experimenting with dual-screen phones and waterfall displays, vivo has always been a brand that is not afraid to try new things. After introducing the world’s first, and still to this day only, gimbal camera system in the X50 Series in early 2020, vivo decided to take the X series’ camera system to another level by collaborating with iconic German camera lens manufacturer ZEISS. The first R&D result was the X60 Series, whose camera system gained praise for its excellent low light and portrait capabilities.
The X70 Series is an evolution, and revolution, of that already superb quad-camera system. vivo and ZEISS, with more time to collaborate, further strengthened their partnership to construct a camera system that combines the know-how and strengths of each company.
In digital photography, light is the single most important factor, and while smartphone software has become very adept at coming up with ways to pull more light in dark scenes, a larger physical image sensor is still the ultimate way to gather more light. This is why both the vivo X70 Pro and X70 Pro+ use 50MP main cameras with large image sensors.
The standard X70 Pro’s IMX766V sensor, with its 1/1.56” and 2μm size, is already among one of the more advanced camera hardware on the market. But the X70 Pro+ takes it another step further, by using a GN1 sensor with a huge 1/1.3” sensor for a 2.4μm size.
To take optics on the highest model one step further, vivo also developed High-Transmittance Glass Lens, which are used in SLR cameras, specifically for the main 50MP shooter of the X70 Pro+. Many smartphones on the market use plastic lenses, whose light transmittance is inferior, resulting in a higher chance of chromatic aberration.
But as we said, software tricks can help too — this is where the 50MP sensor comes in. vivo uses pixel-binning technology to take those 50 million pixels worth of light information and combine into a 12.5MP shot that packs essentially 4x the image information of a similar size image.
This hardware (larger image sensor) and software (pixel binning) one-two punch allows the vivo X70 Pro and Pro+’s main camera to capture ultra-clear, well-lit, well-balanced low night photos.
Stunning shots, right? Notice all the above images, taken at various low light conditions, have vibrant colors, excellent image sharpness, virtually no noise, and perfect dynamic range, even when the lens is pointed at direct light source, which can usually cause glare and other image imperfections.
This is due to not just the high-transmittance lens, but also the ZEISS T* coating compliance across all X70 series models, along with some software wizardry on vivo’s part.
One of ZEISS’ most famous innovation is its T* Coating application process for camera lenses, which enhances the transmission rate of visible light, reduces unwanted light reflections — otherwise known as glare.
While the vivo X60 Pro+ already went above and beyond by meeting the ZEISS T * Coating standard for its rear camera setup, the X70 Series takes it to another level. This is done by achieving the ZEISS T* Coating compliance on the rear camera for every model in the line-up. So, whether it’s the main camera, portrait lens, or the ultra-wide shooter, you know you’re pulling the cleanest information to the camera sensors.
Still, hardware alone doesn’t cut it. Shots against really challenging conditions — such as against harsh backlight or high contrast scenes — need a lot of software smarts to find that perfect balance. To this end, vivo developed a complex AI Deglare Algorithm and RAW HDR Algorithm which work in unison with the top-notch hardware to produce well-balanced shots like these despite the challenging lighting conditions.
Gimbal ultra-wide camera
Video stabilization is another area in which smartphone software smarts have been able to work wonders — but you ultimately can’t beat physics and having an actual physical stabilization system still does the best job.
vivo first introduced its pioneering Gimbal Camera system in the X50 Series, and it has continued to refine the technology over the past two years. Now, the third-gen version of this Gimbal Camera system can be found in the X70 Pro+, supporting the 48MP ultra-wide camera. As is the theme with this device, the gimbal works in tandem with best-in-class EIS developed by vivo for an OIS+EIS solution. The gimbal system, for example, reduces micro-jitters that happen with each step we take while filming, as well as create a smoother pan or tilt movements. The EIS, meanwhile, helps reduce misaligned framing due to uneven hand placements, as well as further reduce shakes if movement is significant.
To make shooting videos on the go much easier, vivo has also introduced to the X70 Pro+ a new feature called 360° Horizon Levelling Stabilization. This allows the user to set the video orientation to start filming, after which even if the phone rotates or tilts, the horizon in the camera viewfinder stays level.
Professional portrait lens with ZEISS refinement
A major photography aspect upon which both vivo and ZEISS wanted to improve for the X70 Series is portrait capturing, and to that end, both the X70 Pro and X70 Pro+ are equipped with a 12MP, 50mm camera with an industry-best image sensor size of 1/2.93″. The Pro+ sensor is further boosted by a fast f/1.6 aperture so it can take in more light naturally while producing a shallow depth-of-field for natural, creamy bokeh.
The 50mm focal length offers lossless 2x zoom and makes for ideal portrait shots. But that’s not all. As we said, vivo wants to give you the best hardware and software — so this powerful Portrait lens is paired with software fine-tuned in collaboration with ZEISS to recreate Portrait styles that resembles shots captured by ZEISS’s various iconic lenses: ZEISS Biotar 1.5/75, ZEISS Distagon 2.0/28, ZEISS Planar 2.8/80 and ZEISS Sonnar 2.8/180.
vivo’s software team spent countless hours analyzing portraits captured by those various ZEISS lenses in order to mimic similar effects with pure software smarts.
One of the ways to ensure vivo gives consumers the best photography experience from both a hardware and software standpoint is to design its own Image Signal Processor (ISP), housed inside a custom-built chip. vivo spent years and countless resources to accomplish this feat with the groundbreaking V1 chip.
With its own ISP, vivo can control the entire photography and videography processing pipeline, this means the ultra-clear shots captured by the strong camera sensor and high-transmittance lens are delivered uncompressed to the ISP inside the V1, at which point the chip uses advanced machine learning to reduce noise, artifact, as well as enhance brightness and overall image fidelity.
All of this happens instantly, in real-time, resulting in photos that look perfectly balanced despite lighting conditions.
Giving you all the controls
While you can get a stellar image with just a tap of the digital shutter button with the vivo X70 Pro and Pro+, vivo knows true photographers and videographers want more control over their shots, and this is possible with vivo’s comprehensive Pro shooting modes for both photography and videography.
Whether it’s the Motion Deblur Algorithm, which freezes motion with high-level SNR, works with the AI Noise Reduction Algorithm to force a faster shutter speed, and increases ISO automatically for action shots in low light; Super Night Video, which uses the V1 chip’s brains along with the huge image sensors to generate light in extremely dark scenes; or the ability to shoot videos in log, this is a camera system that’s versatile for every type of photographer and videographer.
This is the vivo X70 Pro Series — photography redefined.