Hello Mi Fans,
Just a few years ago, phones were all still competing in the megapixel race. Now, it’s less about the number of megapixels in a phone camera and more about what you can do with them. OEMs have decided the best way forward is to include more camera sensors, and they’re going a little crazy — some phones have as many as four cameras on the back. Multi-camera phones are the norm now, but the modules they use have a traditional design, one optimized for size. This limits the focal length – which, true to its name, is a measure of the distance from the lens to the sensor – meaning that telephoto cams rarely go above 2x zoom (and we’re yet to see one go above 3x). A new breed of telephoto cameras was emerged at MWC - the periscope type cameras, which are called that because light is reflected 90Â°.
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Flagship devices usually add a telephoto, monochrome, or wide-angle sensor to complement the main camera. It’s tough to fit longer telephoto lenses in phones because everyone wants a compact, slick-looking device. Well, this problem can be solved by turning the telephoto sensor sideways in a technique called folded optics, similar to what Light.co has tried. The camera optics are aligned perpendicular to the back of the phone in a so-called “peep up” periscope that redirects light so the camera points the right direction.
Periscope camera guides light along the width of the phone, allowing for long focal lengths without making the phone too thick. Better still, the prism that reflects the light can be used for optical image stabilization (vital for long focal lengths where even small hand shake is multiplied). The upcoming periscope camera modules we’ve seen from a couple of makers have 160mm focal length. Sometimes they advertise that as “10x zoom”, measuring it against a 16mm ultra-wide angle camera. A different rating will compare it to wide-angle main camera (typically in the mid-20s millimeters) and dub it 5x.
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And now a recent patent application approved by the State Intellectual Property Office of China on July 2, reveals the key details of Xiaomi’s upcoming telephoto implementation. The patent describes the combination of a main camera with at least one complementary periscope lens which will be placed perpendicular to the main one. Thanks to the process of light refraction, the periscope lens will be able to achieve varying zoom magnifications without increasing the size of the primary camera and in turn the device.
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The result is lossless zoom with optical image stabilization. Current offerings from Huawei and Oppo go up to 125mm and 135mm focal length so we can expect Xiaomi’s version to be in the same range. Are you excited about periscope zoom cameras?
Are Periscope Cameras Really the Future of Smartphones?
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