A month ago, at the vivo imaging strategy conference, vivo announced that it would provide consumers with a “humanized professional imaging experience.”
“Humanized Professional Imaging” is a slogan, a goal, and a difficult problem. Today, mobile phone manufacturers are all “rolling cameras”, the marginal effect of mobile phone photography development is gradually becoming prominent, and users’ perception of camera upgrades is becoming less and less obvious.
One month after asking the question, vivo gave its own “solution”. The just-released vivo X90 series is obviously looking for a balance between professionalism and humanity: it does not break the ceiling of the current sensor size and pixels to gain a selling point, but infiltrates the idea of optimization into every usage scenario. in the details.
The same idea is not only reflected in the image, the vivo X90 series is a “down-to-earth” work. In terms of publicity, you may even feel that it does not have many “burst points”, but ten years of technology accumulation are all concentrated in this mobile phone.
The X90 series bears the name of “vivo’s strongest flagship in ten years”.
The future of “big bottom”
In the second half of 2022, many manufacturers have chosen the one-inch photosensitive element IMX989 as the main camera bottom of their top flagships.
“One inch” is a milestone in the development history of mobile phone imaging. Because it was a format widely used by digital cameras, a “one-inch base” was inserted into the mobile phone, which symbolized mobile phone photography, and finally reached the level of digital cameras in terms of hardware indicators.
This journey has not been easy. Compared with specialized digital cameras, mobile phones have many limitations in terms of weight and volume. Those cameras that also use a one-inch base, such as the Sony black card, even if they are called “card cameras”, are much larger than mobile phones.
This is why, many people believe that it is basically difficult to move forward when the photosensitive element of a mobile phone is developed to “one inch”. Plus, everyone knows what those APS-C and full-frame mirrorless cameras are like, and it is almost impossible for mobile phones to do that.
Therefore, for the vivo X90 series, how to make advantages and characteristics on the basis of the “outsole” is particularly important. On the one hand, this is related to the camera experience of the X90 series of this generation of mobile phones, and more importantly, it also indicates where the future of mobile phone imaging will go.
The answer given by vivo is “optics” and “computation”.
Since vivo and Zeiss became global strategic partners in 2020, vivo has been betting on optics. The X90 series is still equipped with a professional imaging system jointly developed by vivo and Zeiss.
On the basic model X90, vivo combines the VCS bionic spectrum technology with the outsole. By adding a color filter to the sensor, the light signal-to-noise ratio is increased by 20%, and the color reproduction ability is increased by 15%.
Even the IMX866 main camera used on the basic X90 has a smaller area than the one-inch IMX989, but it still has a good performance in terms of image quality thanks to the optimization of the light quality by the color filter.
In addition, the X90 series also adopts the AOA process. Through a special stacking method, a large aperture of f/1.75 is realized on the mobile phone, which further increases the amount of incoming light. In addition, through the optimization of glass lens material and coating, the transparency of the lens is increased, and glare and ghosting are better eliminated.
The optimization of optics allows the X90 series to further optimize the light captured by the camera on the basis of the “outsole”, providing a firm foundation for a good image experience.
After the light comes in and is converted into a signal, it is time for “computational photography” to play a role.
In the past few years, “computational photography” has been one of the hottest words in the field of mobile imaging. It provides a way out for the limited photosensitive ability of mobile phones, and it also allows mobile phones to have the possibility of “overtaking on curves” cameras.
Vivo has also been laying out computational photography for many years, from portrait blur, super-resolution algorithm, to Zeiss natural color, tone processing… It is the grasp of the scene and demand that has allowed vivo’s imaging system to establish a good user reputation and sales. Also rising steadily.
On the X90 series, vivo focused on optimizing the two scenes of “Night Shot” and “Snapshot”.
In the night shooting scene, the X90 is not just as simple as brightening the picture. Vivo has improved the latitude and optimized the X90’s ability to shoot HDR content for high-light ratio scenes and backlight scenes at night. In the streets at night, including concerts and other scenes, the X90 can shoot clear images with high dynamics. The bright places are not overexposed, and the dark places are pure enough. The picture is clear and the tone is deep.
For “snapshots”, the X90 uses screen detection technology to automatically identify high-speed moving objects in the screen, call a high-speed shutter, and take snapshots to ensure the filming rate. On this basis, the X90 uses the RawEnhance 2.0 algorithm to optimize the problem of insufficient light intake under high-speed shutter. No matter how dark the light is, you can still capture a “usable” picture.
Taking pictures is the art of light. The ultimate problem of mobile phone photography is how to optimize the image quality as much as possible in the case of insufficient light. Whether it is the pursuit of outsole in hardware, optimization of optical modules, or computational photography. The X90 has consolidated vivo’s past technology accumulation in the imaging field and made new features and highlights.
One of the most critical innovations lies in this V2 self-developed chip.
The reason why the V2 chip is not placed in the image part is because starting from the V1+, vivo’s self-developed chip is not just a “image chip”.
First of all, the V2 chip is an AI-ISP, and its core logic is to optimize computing tasks related to graphics through machine learning algorithms.
At the press conference, vivo spent a lot of space to introduce the architecture design of V2. On the motherboard, the V2 and the mobile phone SoC processor are connected by FIT dual-core interconnection to ensure the data exchange speed to the greatest extent; the V2 also uses a memory unit on the chip to improve the cache efficiency, and the image developed by vivo Algorithms are fixed in hardware as processing units.
All this is for the pursuit of “speed”.
The V2 chip can do a lot of things: in terms of video, it can perform AI noise reduction on the picture, especially for night shooting scenes, to improve the purity of the picture; at the same time, it will also intervene in HDR calculations, identify scenes, and optimize tolerance; it will also participate in the super-resolution algorithm to improve picture clarity. In addition, the V2 chip also has MEMC frame insertion capability, which can increase the frame rate for display and game scenes and improve the fluency of the picture.
These functions sound simple, but in fact, whether it is the camera’s ISP or adding a MEMC frame interpolation algorithm to the system display output pipeline, there are huge difficulties. Because the response speed of these tasks is in milliseconds, if it is slow, it will seriously affect the filming speed and picture delay of the camera.
From this perspective, it is not difficult to understand the series of efforts made in the design of the V2 chip. Only by insisting on self-research and long-term technical precipitation can this effect be achieved.
In the actual experience, the optimization effect of the V2 chip has also settled in the scene. Including the night shot optimization mentioned above, the dark part of the screen is supported by the V2 chip. On the display, the 120Hz screen of the X90 series also appears smoother and smoother with the support of the V2 chip MEMC.
Finally, the process of R&D and optimization is never done behind closed doors. For the Dimensity 9200 chip on the X90, vivo and MediaTek have jointly developed and tuned the five aspects of memory read and write speed, game quality of King of Glory, eye protection display, and APU computing, achieving different results. vulgar effect.
Specific to the usage scenario, the time for X90 to install and start the game has been shortened to varying degrees. For example, the installation time of Peace Elite is shortened by 10%, and the startup time is shortened by 26.5%. Jovi voice input also realizes “full offline” recognition input for the first time, protecting user privacy.
For vivo, self-developed chips are not “eyeballs”. Using professional hard-core technical breakthroughs to solve the most basic user experience problems is the significance of self-development.
A well-rounded flagship with its feet on the ground
In addition to the two core upgrades of chips and images, the X90 series has also steadily improved in other configurations.
Including this screen, it is based on the BOE Q9 super retina eye protection screen. It not only achieves a pixel density of 452ppi, 1300nit peak brightness, and 2160Hz high-frequency dimming, but also reduces power consumption and improves service life compared with the previous generation.
Based on the excellent quality of this screen, vivo has added a self-developed “smart low blue light” function. On the basis of reducing blue light and protecting eyes, it is guaranteed that the picture will not look too “yellow”.
In terms of charging and heat dissipation, the X90 is equipped with a 120W dual-core flash charge, and the 0-50% charging speed only takes 8 minutes; at the same time, it uses a large wide-area soaking plate. Considering that the Dimensity 9200 uses TSMC’s 4nm process, the power consumption has been well controlled. On this basis, a huge vapor chamber can be used to ensure that the whole machine will not experience any “local heating”.
According to data from a number of market research institutions, vivo is the champion of domestic smartphone market shipments in 2021. And this year, relying on the success of the X80 series, vivo became the second largest domestic high-end mobile phone market in the second quarter, second only to Apple.
Market performance proves that the past few generations of vivo products have been recognized by consumers. Including the image strategy it has always paid attention to, it has formed the potential of word of mouth.
Ten years after its establishment, vivo has reached a point in time when it needs to “stand firm”, and the X90 series happens to be such a “down-to-earth” work.