Vivo patents cascade extendable camera with four camera lenses for super telephoto zoom functionality. The pop-up camera faces backwards.
The Chinese Vivo regularly introduces new smartphone models with innovative functions. Recently, for example, the Vivo S10 was released with a photochromic back panel, which can change color in just three seconds in direct sunlight. The Chinese manufacturer also has some unique trump cards in the camera area, such as the gimbal image stabilization system in the Vivo X60 Pro.
This time, Vivo seems to be exploring the possibility of developing a pop-up camera with super telephoto zoom functionality, as current smartphones only have a limited zoom range.
Vivo smartphone with large optical zoom range
At the beginning of this year, Vivo Mobile Communication applied for a patent with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) for a ‘Camera module, electronic device and camera module control method’. The 23-page documentation was released on July 29, 2021 and describes a Vivo smartphone with a super telephoto zoom pop-up camera.
Documentation states that current smartphones only support ‘low multiple zoom’, Vivo’s new invention should enable ‘high multiple zoom’. In other words, with the patented camera system, Vivo wants to make a larger zoom range possible. Vivo already has a few smartphones in its range with a zoom camera, for example, the Vivo X30 Pro has two telephoto lenses, with 5x and 2x zoom.
To get a better idea of Vivo’s patented superzoom camera technology, graphic designer Technizo Concept has created a series of product renders based on the patent filed by Vivo Mobile Communication.
It is a pop-up camera system, but it is not oriented to the front – as we know from pop-up selfie cameras, but to the back. As a result, no camera is visible if the camera is not activated. This gives the device a futuristic and sleek look. The front is equipped with a camera that is placed under the screen and the rear camera is incorporated in the pop-up system.
The pop-up camera system can be extended in four steps. An extendable module is used, whereby one extra lens extends at a time. The bottom lens will always be available – as soon as the camera is activated. In addition, the user can extend additional lenses as desired.
The distance between the lens and the camera is reduced per unit, which also changes the optical axis. This is made possible by the cascading pop-up construction. In addition, lenses can partially overlap, allowing for a larger zoom range. Unfortunately, the documentation doesn’t address the amount of optical zoom. It is mentioned that this is considerably more than with current smartphones with a periscopic zoom camera.
It remains unclear where the flash will be integrated. In the concept design of Technizo Concept, a stylish flash ring has been chosen that is placed around the lower camera lens, so that the symmetrical design remains intact.
It is a special invention of Vivo, such as we have never encountered before. However, the question remains whether such a camera system is profitable to use in a smartphone. Not to mention the fragile nature of this system. Vivo has already released several smartphones with a pop-up camera. For example, think of the Vivo Nex, but also the Vivo V15 Pro and V17 Pro.
Yet fewer and fewer smartphones with pop-up cameras are being released. These camera systems would rather be subject to wear and tear – personally I have only positive memories of the pop-up camera, but that aside.
Manufacturers have recently been busy developing a selfie camera that can be placed under the screen. The first results are already visible in the form of the ZTE Axon 20 and the recently introduced ZTE Axon 30. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, expected later this month, will also have an under-display selfie camera. Other manufacturers are expected to follow in the second half of 2021.
Many assume that the under-screen camera will also automatically mean the end of the pop-up camera. This was finally created to create a full screen experience, this can just as well be realized with a camera that is placed under the screen. With this patent, however, Vivo shows that a pop-up camera can also be used to replace the rear camera. As we have already seen with the Find X released in 2019 from sister company Oppo.
Vivo has been working on bringing superzoom functionality to a smartphone for some time now. Earlier this year, the company also patented a Vivo foldable smartphone with a zoom camera. However, this flip phone had a regular camera system and not a pop-up module.
Last year, an advanced Vivo smartphone with a periscopic camera was also patented. Recently, Vivo also captured a unique smartphone with a detachable camera drone, a kind of mini drone with which you can take pictures from a distance.
However, it is not only about patents, the Vivo Apex 2020 concept smartphone was also equipped with a renewed telephoto lens with optical zoom. While many smartphone manufacturers use a fixed focal length telephoto lens, the Apex 2020 uses a moving lens that enables continuous optical zoom from 5x to 7.5x.
In the meantime, more new lens technologies are emerging. Smartphone manufacturers are now well aware that the lens has a major influence on the final image quality. For example, the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold is the first smartphone with a liquid Liquid Lens. OnePlus is in turn working on a Bionic Lens, which is probably being developed in collaboration with Hasselblad for the OnePlus 10 Pro.
If Vivo indeed wants to release a smartphone with a superzoom pop-up camera, it will probably be placed within the X series. High-end smartphones with advanced camera systems are housed within this series. The Vivo X70 series is expected later this year, this line-up will probably not yet have a superzoom pop-up camera. But what isn’t, can still come, of course.
View the patent application of the Vivo Superzoom smartphone here.
Note to publishers : The product renders in this publication are created by Technizo Concept in collaboration with LetsGoDigital. The 3D renders are based on the patent of Vivo Mobile Communications and are meant for illustrative purposes only. You can use the copyrighted images for your own website, YouTube and/or social media channels, please be so respectful to include a clickable source link into your publication.