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Xiaomi Optical: successes and expectations of the team dedicated to mobile photography

While we await the presentation of Xiaomi's super flagship which should focus everything on Leica cameras, the 12 Ultra, the "Optical" team of the Chinese technology giant has just released an interview on the successes and expectations of photography on smartphones.

Xiaomi Optical: successes and expectations of the team dedicated to mobile photography

The interview begins by making it clear that the Xiaomi Camera Department has set up the new “Optical” team by recruiting the best talents and creating a research and development team in the United States, Japan, Europe and other countries.

With continuous investments in research and development and the team's unremitting efforts, Xiaomi's Optical team has achieved 6 firsts in the last three years, becoming one of the most renowned teams in the industry. In particular, in November 2020 comes the self-developed "retractable large aperture lens" technology released for the first time at the Xiaomi Developer Conference MIDC 2020.

"Xiaomi's investment in optical research and development is very large and is one of the largest in the sector". He said YIN, part of the Optical team, adding that Xiaomi's lab has purchased some of the most advanced optical measurement equipment, capable of measuring the full range of various optical lenses. Such as azimuth performance, in-depth reliability measurements, flare ghosting and much more.

In his view, the most valuable asset behind Xiaomi Optical's ability to be the first in the world and to explore new technologies and processes is a strong R&D team. The team is made up of industry-leading individuals, many of whom have worked for leading optics manufacturers in China and around the world for decades. They have rich optical theory and practical experience and have comprehensive knowledge in optics, mechanics, fluidics, mechanical structure, electronics and other fields.

Unlike traditional digital cameras, smartphones have inherent size limitation, with the internal space of devices becoming smaller and smaller. So how do you not change the shape of the phone and at the same time maximize the imaging capabilities? In addition to the photosensitive element, ISP and supporting software algorithms, the quality performance of the lens optics is equally important.

"To continue to be the industry leader, both the optical performance and lens functions of smartphone lenses need to be improved." YIN said that in terms of optical performance, the main focus is the large lens aperture, high resolution, low scatter and elimination of stray light. In terms of lens functions, it is necessary to cover optical multiple focal length lenses as much as possible, increase the reproducibility of mobile phone photography and meet all the shooting needs of consumers.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro

For the Xiaomi Optics team, the most important thing is not a single turning point, but the integration of multiple innovation points to build a complete force and bring a winning experience.

In the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro, the phone's main camera imaging system uses a large 1 / 1,33-inch sensor and 108 resolution. Xiaomi's optical team has perfectly matched the 8P lens module with the large sensor through a large number of tests. The large aperture of f / 1.6 brings in a very high amount of light and the optical quality of the lens also ensures that even when the camera shoots at 108MP, it can still cause photos to show delicate color levels and richly detailed images.

Currently, in addition to the main camera, it has also become important to provide different focal lengths with great imaging capabilities and high quality for the other lenses other than the main camera. For this reason, Xiaomi's Optical team is also constantly improving the user experience in multifocal lengths. For example, the Mi 11 Ultra's periscope telephoto optics gave users the best long-distance shooting experience.

xiaomi mi mix fold

The first liquid lens on Xiaomi MIX FOLD integrates the macro function into the telephoto lens, supports 30x zoom and has the closest focusing distance of 3cm.

From YIN's point of view, behind smartphone photography is a complex and rigorous technical process. In addition to the optical lens quality, the phone's imaging quality includes the processor, ISP, software algorithm, AI algorithm, etc .. There is cooperation of various technologies to get a satisfying photo really the user.

To this end, the Xiaomi Optical team has developed a series of optical system evaluation software to balance the impact of various factors on the entire optical system.

Finally, from the point of view of YIN, the future innovation of smartphone lenses will concern computational optics, planar optics (IR, Cover Glass, prisms), geometric optics (periscope, refraction), physical optics (DOE diffraction elements, Mate lens, nanoimprinting), as well as in optical materials, coating processes, assembly equipment, manufacturing processes and costs. These innovations will bring a new experience to mobile photography.

Now we just have to wait for the Xiaomi 12 Ultra, the first flagship that will see the light of day after the formalization of the Leica partnership with one of the world leaders in photography.

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as of May 17, 2024 11:15
Last updated on May 17, 2024 11:15
Pierpaolo Figuccia
Pierpaolo Figuccia

Nerd, passionate about technology, photography and video maker. And of course I love Xiaomi products!


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