vivo and Zeiss have been hard at work developing the camera technology for the upcoming X90 series flagships. The system consists of several parts that are responsible for certain functions. The ultimate goal of the system is to create a digital image that fully matches what the human eye sees in situ.
This generation focuses on two main scenes that are still difficult for smartphones – portraits and night shooting. Some of these technologies are developed by Vivo itself, while others are developed in collaboration with its imaging partner, Zeiss.
It starts with an optical system that uses advanced lenses and coatings and also improves the image sensor’s signal-to-noise ratio. After that, the true color recovery engine is responsible for determining the correct white balance.
Camera samples from the upcoming vivo X90 series
Next is the Ultra-Clear Image Quality Engine, an ultra-clear algorithm that uses a lens virtual model to recover up to 35% of the information lost due to image imperfections. A multi-frame mode is available to further improve image quality and dynamic range. This is especially useful for the periscope lens.
Display zoom range: 0.6x • 1x • 2x • 3.5x
To render a scene realistically, the system must understand its environment, so the phone measures ambient light brightness and color temperature.
The next system is designed for portrait photography and is divided into three parts. The first part tries to understand the scene and finds up to 103 features on the face and takes into account the subject’s position. The next two parts divide the work – one connects to the subject and applies machine-learning beauty filters, and the other adjusts the background by adjusting several dials (blur, volume, brightness, etc.).
There is a different system used for low light photography. The maximum sensitivity has been doubled and the camera can reach ISO 102,400. The system is good enough to photograph the starry night sky without a tripod or long exposure, says Vivo.
On the camera side of things, vivo claims that the sensor used in its next-generation flagships will have 77% better light sensitivity than the custom ISOCELL GNV sensor used in the X80 series. vivo and Zeiss are also developing a new 50mm portrait lens.
A nightly comparison between Vivo’s upcoming flagship and an unnamed competitor
Much of the processing is done by a new acceleration engine, which appears to be the successor to the V1 ISP. It is built in-house and accelerates deep learning and computer vision tasks, combining traditional ISP approaches with modern AI-based solutions.
Custom processing hardware is also available to work on video. There is an on-board SRAM on the custom Vivo chip to handle all the required data. Compared to off-chip RAM, this has lower latency and uses less power. According to Vivo, its chip can achieve 16.3 trillion operations per second (TOPS).
This was a preview of the vivo X90 series camera system. The company has not yet set an announcement date, but the new series should arrive in the next few months.