Blue Factory X2, vivo and Zeiss, what does it mean?

Since ancient times, "Red and Blue come out of CP", I didn't expect "Blue" to also hold hands this time.

At the recent vivo Zeiss global imaging strategic cooperation conference, the two "blue factories" formally signed a contract and announced that they will carry out in-depth strategic cooperation together.

Since it is an in-depth cooperation, it means that the two parties are not simply "jointly". According to vivo, the two jointly established a joint imaging laboratory, from the design and manufacturing of mobile phone lenses, to the optimization and adjustment of imaging effects, and collaboration on the hardware and software levels.

Vivo has no appetite, and the results of the cooperation between the two will come soon. The next-generation flagship model vivo X60 series, which will be released at the end of the month, is a pioneering work developed jointly with Zeiss.

Judging from the official poster, the vivo X60 series has already printed Zeiss’s "small blue label" on the lens, which makes me really look forward to its image performance.

▲vivo X60 series

Mutual choice, mutual achievement

The cooperation between mobile phone manufacturers and video manufacturers is not unparalleled. Especially today, when users are increasingly demanding mobile phone imaging capabilities, seeking assistance from the imaging industry is undoubtedly a shortcut for mobile phone manufacturers to enhance their imaging capabilities.

However, the number of major mobile phone manufacturers and major video manufacturers are evenly matched, so there is no so-called "buyer's market" or "seller's market." Whether cooperation can be achieved depends on the wishes of both parties.

For vivo, there should be plenty of room for choice when choosing partners. Well-known Japanese, German, and Nordic camera manufacturers can't count on both hands. What is curious is why did vivo choose Zeiss, which specializes in optics?

This is a problem for friends who love photography. Especially friends who have used Zeiss lenses are likely to be deeply impressed by Zeiss's craftsmanship, imaging and color. The simple summary is high sharpness, clear edges, layering, out-of-focus rotation, airy feeling, and so on.

In the 175 years since its establishment, Zeiss has introduced many classic designs in the field of optical imaging. For example, the Planar with a large aperture, the Tessar with a sharp air, the Distagon with a very high center resolution, and the Biogon with very small distortion.

The structural design of these classic lenses also laid the foundation for the design and development of most lenses in the field of cameras and mobile phones today. Many professional camera brands will choose Zeiss to provide professional optical solutions for them. We are familiar with Sony, Hasselblad, Rollei and so on.

▲Hasselblad X1D and Zeiss Otus 85mm

In addition to optics, optoelectronics is also a specialty of Zeiss. 80% of the world's semiconductor chips are manufactured using Zeiss microlithography lens equipment; 35 scientists have used Zeiss microscopes to win the Nobel Prize.

If you are a decision maker in vivo, it should be difficult to look away from this giant in the optics and optoelectronics field. But before making a decision, you also need to consider whether Zeiss has experience with mobile phones.

The answer is obviously there. Zeiss first cooperated with Nokia in 2004 and launched the very classic Nokia N90. Since then, Zeiss can be seen on many classic Nokia models. Such as Nokia N8, Nokia 808 PureView, Lumia 1020 and so on.

In the process of cooperating with Nokia and Sony mobile phones, Zeiss has accumulated a wealth of mobile imaging experience. This is like a talent who graduated from a top university and has more than ten years of relevant work experience. Why would HR reject it?

If there is, it is not in line with the company's business. But for vivo, Zeiss's business can complement itself.

One has hard-core technology in optical manufacturing, and the other has deep accumulation in user base and digital technology. The two can be said to be a perfect match.

▲ Vivo Zeiss Joint Imaging Laboratory officially listed

Conversely, as the world's top optical manufacturer, Zeiss should have no shortage of "seekers." Why did you choose vivo in the end?

It is understood that Zeiss has very strict requirements for partners. Before joining hands with vivo, a team was sent to the vivo manufacturing plant for on-site inspections. The conclusion of Zeiss's investigation is that vivo has complete control over product manufacturing, and the intelligent manufacturing capabilities of its production base can meet Zeiss's high requirements for quality and precision.

It's a bit like two people falling in love. In addition to the characteristics of the other party's ideals, it also depends on whether the two parties can get along on the spiritual level. At the press conference of the strategic cooperation between the two parties, Zeiss stated that vivo's craftsmanship towards products is in line with his own, thus strengthening the identity of vivo.

Before the official announcement of cooperation between the two parties, they had been running low-key for a long time. In terms of product design, technology, testing standards, etc., cooperation results have been produced. The upcoming X60 series will be the first joint research achievement.

What can consumers "knock" with CP?

As ordinary consumers, listening to the "hand-in-hand story" of the two can only be regarded as eating melon after a meal. What we really care about is what benefits the two parties can bring to consumers.

We have already mentioned the characteristics of Zeiss lenses. Sharp, bright colors, various characteristics can be summarized in two words: "Virtue taste." With the blessing of Zeiss, we have reason to expect the image experience brought by vivo's new products.

▲Shot by vivo X60 Pro

Putting aside the old-fashioned topics such as color and image quality, such as annoying ghosts and glare when taking photos and videos, through Zeiss exclusive T* coating, it will also be effectively improved on vivo products.

The combination of the two parties not only focuses on hardware, but also has in-depth cooperation in software. Friends who love photography should have heard of Zeiss Biotar lenses. It is famous for the swirling out-of-focus patterns behind the subject, and almost all photographers dream of collecting a Biotar lens.

▲ Taken with Zeiss Biotar 75mm lens. Picture from: casualphotophile

With vivo's new products, users can also get Biotar-like dreamy bokeh effects when taking pictures. Vivo and Zeiss have jointly developed the "Zeiss Biotar Portrait Style", which reproduces the classic portrait style of Zeiss on mobile phones through computational imaging technology. The upcoming X60 series of new products is the first show of this technology.

Therefore, the cooperation between the two is by no means only meaningful to professional photographers.

From the perspective of photography enthusiasts or ordinary users, mobile phones have further become professional imaging tools. We don't need to spend tens of thousands of yuan to buy SLRs and lenses, and we can take pictures comparable to professional cameras with mobile phones. The threshold of creation is lowered, allowing more people to enjoy the fun of creation.

Vivo introduced at the press conference that in the future, in addition to cooperating with Zeiss on the product level, it will also co-construct long-term content and themes, such as creating "Vivo Zeiss Master Image" to provide a larger display platform.

Co-construction at the content level may have far-reaching significance. Photography has been given the mission of recording the times since its invention. Now, more people can use their mobile phones to record the development of the times and individual values, and the world under everyone's lens can be shared and shown to others. Everyone deserves to be seen by the world.

Vivo has great ambitions in images

Since a few years ago, vivo has been in the long-distance race of the power image track.

I don't know if you still remember the Xshot launched by vivo in 2014. It was born for taking pictures with Sony's IMX214 CMOS sensor, OIS optical image stabilization and F1.8 aperture lens, which set off a photo boom.

▲vivo Xshot

By 2016, when Vivo released X7, it said that in the future, its products will go in the direction of "portrait" shooting. Later, the classic slogan "The backlight is also clear, illuminates your beauty".

In 2018, vivo proposed a plan for the main camera. This is the first-generation micro-head technology officially launched by vivo in May of this year. The application of this technology can be said to be a breakthrough in image stabilization technology for mobile phones.

To put it simply, vivo connects the lens group and the sensor as a whole, and puts this whole in the double-ball suspension. In this way, the lens group and the sensor can move together to realize the X-axis + Y-axis dual-axis rotation stereo image stabilization, which is more advanced than pure OIS optical image stabilization.

▲Vivo first-generation micro-head

According to public information, vivo is about to release the new X60 series, which will be equipped with the upgraded second-generation micro-head, and the image strength is worth looking forward to.

Looking back on 2020, we can find that vivo has a lot of actions on images.

After upgrading the brand positioning of "Camera & Music" to "Camera & Design" at the beginning of the year, and establishing video as a company-level long track, vivo launched the flagship professional video X50 series in the middle of the year. Then, in September, he joined hands with National Geographic to release the global video IP-"Vivo Video+". Immediately after the end of the year, it cooperated with Zeiss's official announcement to launch a new generation of professional imaging flagship X60 series, which can be described as busy.

Among them, "vivo video+" is very interesting. It is not an innovation at the hardware product level, but focuses on the content ecology level. Vivo and National Geographic have created multiple sections such as the Mobile Photography Contest, Mobile Photography Academy, and Photographers League. The intention is to build a content ecology that integrates content co-creation, public education, technology and aesthetics exploration.

In the mobile photography contest, we can see all kinds of life through the photos of the contestants and feel the sincere and varied emotions in life. This type of activity is of great benefit both in terms of cultivating the user's aesthetics or showing the user's self.

▲ "The Daily Life of Four Big Mouth Monsters", works by Zhang Yu

It can be said that the various actions of vivo on images this year are all conveying a message to the outside world: the direction of vivo is to create a top-notch mobile image experience.

Perhaps in the future, when we mention vivo, our intuition is that "photographs are great." And Zeiss is the best assist for vivo to achieve this goal.

Tell simple and easy-to-read stories. Work email: wanghelong@ifanr.com.

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