November 24, 2020

Xiaomi’s latest smartphone camera experiment channels point-and-shoot vibes


Xiaomi revolutionized wireless charging last month, and now it looks like it might be poised to do the same thing to smartphone zoom photography. The company has developed a new large-aperture telescopic lens for phones that can increase the amount of light input by up to 300% for clearer, sharper photos — and much like traditional point-and-shoot cameras, the lens can physically zoom in and out from the hardware.

Zeng Xuezhong, Xiaomi’s Vice President, announced the innovation at the MIDC 2020 Xiaomi Developers Conference. In addition to the increased light intake from the large aperture, Xiaomi has also developed new anti-shake technology that makes pictures more stable. Photos taken with it supposedly can see a 20% increase in definition and clarity.

While this isn’t the first phone camera to incorporate a lens that can physically zoom in and out, Xiaomi’s setup sounds like it could significantly improve the company’s camera quality in the future. It’s not yet clear how close the new lens is to being released on a product meant for consumers, but when it does debut on a new phone, it’ll be interesting to see just how it compares to traditional smartphone zoom cameras that have fixed telephoto lenses.

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