A can of cola helps improve smartphone cameras. I was in the laboratory where they are working on them

Zeiss has been producing optical systems for microscopes, telescopes and photographic lenses since 1846. Since 2005, the company has been supporting its partners in the development of telephone cameras.

The German giant started his adventure with the mobile market from loud cooperation with Nokia. Later, the Zeiss optics were also used by Sony, and from 2020 by vivo. The company’s employees claim that the cooperation with the latter brand is the most intensive.

What is Zeiss’ contribution to vivo smartphone cameras?

The representatives of Zeiss were not able to answer this question in one sentence, because the whole thing is quite complicated.

Cameras are developed on a co-engineering basis; vivo and Zeiss conduct joint research and development, in which employees of both companies freely exchange ideas and comments. At the end of the day it’s hard to say which solutions come from vivo and which from Zeiss.

However, the key stage is certification, for which Zeiss is entirely responsible. Before the company agrees to put its logo on the phone, it is to undergo a series of tests to make sure that the camera meets certain quality standards. If something is wrong, the producer gets feedback and fixes it.

I was in the laboratory where Zeiss tests vivo smartphone cameras

Unfortunately, Zeiss does not allow journalists to take pictures in the laboratory, which & hairsp; – & hairsp; I suppose & hairsp; – & hairsp; is a safeguard against industrial espionage. So I am doomed to the materials provided by him.

In the room on the ground floor of the headquarters in Oberkochen, 17 tests are carried out, which allow the assessment of over 20 parameters affecting the final quality of the photos.

One of the walls is stuffed with retractable boards, the shooting of which allows you to assess the detail of the photos, the fidelity of color reproduction, the level of lens distortions and contrast.

Interestingly, at the stage of testing the camera, not only specialized boards are used, but also objects of everyday use. Including & hairsp; – & hairsp; which researchers pointed out & hairsp; – & hairsp; can of cola.

It turns out that the human mind has a special tendency to remember red, and this is the color of the packaging of the most popular drink in the world. As our brains have involuntarily encoded its shade over the course of several decades, the photographs of the iconic can allow experts to judge the accuracy with which the camera reflects the colors.

There is also a special lighting installation in the laboratory that is used to test the portrait mode. Vivo smartphones have special functions that imitate the blur generated by the iconic Zeiss lenses. Thanks to the numerous LEDs, you can judge the degree of blur mapping.

The cameras are also checked in terms of hardware. Zeiss experts break them down into individual & hairsp; – & hairsp; components of which there are more than 30 & hairsp; – & hairsp; in one smartphone and check under a microscope.

The test looks quite spectacular with the use of a board filled with LEDs that light up one after another, measuring the passing time. The smartphone is placed behind an extendable board, which has been perfectly synchronized with the phone’s camera software.

Thanks to this machine, you can check the time after which the smartphone generates the first photo, how many photos can be taken in one second or how long it takes to change the focus point.

Anti-reflective coatings are more important than you might think

During my visit to the Zeiss headquarters, I had the opportunity to listen to a lecture on anti-reflective coatings that cover the lenses of selected smartphones. It may not sound exciting, but it did allow me to look at the technology a bit wider.

Zeiss T * shell – present incl. in vivo X60 Pro + – reduces reflections that arise when photographing strong light sources, e.g. the sun. This is the most obvious, but not the only advantage of the coating.

The phone’s camera lens consists of several lenses. Reflected light & hairsp; – & hairsp; except that it can spoil the photo & hairsp; – & hairsp; dies irretrievably and does not end up in the matrix. Thus, anti-reflective layers make more details go to the sensor, which translates into an improvement in the quality of photos.

Zeiss argues that & hairsp; – & hairsp; contrary to what some & hairsp; – & hairsp; may think, his participation in the development of smartphone cameras does not end with licensing his logo.

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