Smartphone camera technology has come a long way. We now have sensors that reach 108 million pixels and lenses that can be crammed like a periscope inside a thin body. The one thing that these cameras have trouble with, aside from low-light performance, is stabilization. Optical Image Stabilization, which still isn’t common on all camera modules, can only go so far but Vivo might have a rather novel if not unorthodox solution that involves putting a gimbal inside its upcoming Vivo X50.
Optical Image Stabilization or OIS brings a smidgen of stability to shaky videos by using tiny motors to compensate for shaky hands. The compensation is very minimal, though, and is constrained to a small range of movement because of the limitations in space and the design of the camera lenses dictated by those limitations.
This is what makes Vivo’s claims almost too good to be true. Photographers would often use gimbals, either external or even internal to a camera, to apply better stabilization. That’s what the Chinese OEM implies is inside the X50 and, based on these series of video teasers, suggests that the main camera can move sideways (or up and down, depending on the phone’s orientation) with far more freedom than what a simple OIS can give.
It seems that the Vivo X50 will be doubling down on its photography capabilities to stand up from the crowd. That main camera with a micro gimbal could very well be Samsung’s new 50MP ISOCELL GN1 that promises not only better low-light performance but especially faster autofocus, something that will go well with this gimbal stabilizer. It will have other sensors, one of which is reportedly a custom Sony imaging sensor, while another will have a now typical periscope-style zoom lens.
The Vivo X50 is definitely shaping up to be an interesting phone, one that will be running on the new Snapdragon 768 chipset. Of course, availability, pricing, and real-world camera performance will decide if the phone will put Vivo back on the global map. We’ll find out the answer at least to the first two on June 1.