In order to be as stable as a “chicken head”, what have the manufacturers done?

Spending money to buy a Big Ben, what you want is the interior and comfort, which can almost be counted as a piece of hot knowledge.

▲ Mercedes-Benz’s "Chicken-like" Magic Body Control TV commercial. Picture from: Mercedes-Benz

And Mercedes seems to be willing to accept this setting. In September 2013, Mercedes-Benz shot a very interesting advertisement for the "Magic Body Control" function on the S-Class.

▲ Picture from: Mercedes-Benz

The advertisement itself does not directly show how smooth and comfortable the Mercedes-Benz S-Class can achieve on bumpy road conditions through "magic body control". Rather, it uses "extraordinary" actors to compare how stable this system can be.

These super actors are just ordinary "chickens". No matter how the "chicken body" rotates and shakes, it has its own "stabilization system" and the chicken's head does not move at all.

The "bird head anti-shake" acquired by birds due to their body structure and biological evolution can also be regarded as a hot knowledge in the biological academia, but in the public domain, it is actually a cold knowledge.

▲ Picture from: LG

After Mercedes-Benz's "Chicken magic body control" advertisement was released, it was not the "magic car" itself, but the "chicken" actors.

Research on the use of "chicken head anti-shake" has become a phenomenon. The first thing people think of is that if you strap the camera to the chicken head, will you get a set of "Steadicam"?

▲ Picture from: YouTuber jeremiahjw

In the spirit of exploration, YouTuber jeremiahjw conducted a set of comparative experiments. The experimental group was "chicken head", and the control group was "human head" and "handheld".

In terms of the results alone, the chicken head won a big victory, but there was also a big problem with it, "the chicken head cannot be controlled." It's like you want to create, you have to look at the eyes of a chicken, and there is no control at all.

▲ Displacement sensor anti-shake on iPhone 12 Pro Max. Picture from: Apple

A few years later, we still haven't solved how to control the direction of the "chicken head", but the equipment around us has all kinds of anti-shake measures.

The stunning "constant horizon"

When I was experiencing iQOO 8 Pro recently, there were two functions that won unanimous praise from the Aifaner hardware team, one is the ultrasonic fingerprint, and the other is the "constant horizon" function on the video.

If fingerprints in the ultrasonic area can call out "wow", then "constant horizon" can definitely be called "awsome".

According to the official description of iQOO, the "constant horizon" function mainly uses a gyroscope, a gravity sensor and an ultra-wide camera.

The gyroscope records the jitter data, the gravity sensor determines that the picture is consistent with the actual ground, and the ultra-wide-angle camera records it, and kneads it through cropping and algorithms to finally image.

After the surprise, I also found some limitations (or shortcomings) of the "constant horizon" function.

1. Focus metering when shooting;
2. It can record up to 1080p 30fps, the picture is cropped, and the visual inspection is about 28mm;
3. The loss of bit rate is not big, about 20MB/s (close to other cameras 1080p 30fps).

The "Constant Horizon" function actually uses the ultra-wide-angle camera as a redundant sensor, which is then cut and synthesized by the algorithm in real time, and finally displayed on the screen in real time. This is also the beginning of the shock of this function.

▲ insta360 GO 2.

But in principle, the digital image stabilization of some sports cameras from GoPro and insta360 is similar, except for the level of the horizon, which requires subsequent editing and selection in the software.

▲GoPro Hero 9 Black. Picture from: pocket-lint

The application scenarios of "Constant Horizon" are similar to those of sports cameras, and are especially suitable for extreme sports, outdoor events and other occasions. But the biggest advantage of mobile phones is real-time display, which can be sent after taking pictures.

Fundamentally, what "constant horizon" solves first is to get the shots and expand the functionality of mobile phone images, rather than performance orientation.

It's all anti-shake, but different

Strictly speaking, the "constant horizon" function on the iQOO 8 Pro is considered to be in the category of electronic image stabilization. After all, the long and wide-angle is not equipped with OIS optical image stabilization and the "micro-panel" structure.

In addition to cutting methods such as electronic image stabilization, mainstream image stabilization systems also have optical image stabilization and mechanical image stabilization methods that do not cut the image quality. Their principle is to reduce the probability of "gluing" by opposing the direction of jitter.

▲ The lens and sensor are dual anti-shake.

From this point of view, the "anti-shake" in camera products actually expands the shooting performance, not the function.

Similar to electronic image stabilization, mechanical image stabilization and optical image stabilization are not perfect, and they can also cause some problems.

▲ Canon lens cutting diagram (do not imitate). Picture from: reddit

Optical image stabilization will make the optical design of the lens more complex, invisibly increasing the cost, and the price is higher.

The mechanical anti-shake on the sensor has a higher level of integration, especially the current mirrorless structure, which has higher requirements for the heat dissipation system of the whole machine.

▲ Long exposure photos taken by Pentax K-1.

In the early days, when the Pentax K-1 and Sony A7RII were exposed for a long time (starry sky, scenery), the photos would appear "snow-like" white noise, even if the anti-shake is turned off, it still does not get better. After subsequent product iterations, the situation has improved.

▲ Vivo Micro PTZ technology

On the smartphone side, the development path is quite similar to that of traditional camera manufacturers. OIS lens anti-shake and "displacement" sensors have all appeared, and even the vivo side has innovatively incorporated the concept of "pan-tilt" into products. Among.

Although the principles are relatively close, the addition of anti-shake systems in smartphones is more like an expansion of image functions. With the increase of chip computing power and the addition of machine learning, the "night scene mode" and "light painting" are born. "And "singular effects" such as "constant horizon".

Smartphone images are more and more like Doraemon’s pockets, with all functions, but each function is not perfect.

Traditional imaging products are still doing the most professional recording tools. The ultimate goal of every hardware advancement is the quality of the recording.

Don't be small and refined, but more and complete

I remember that when I was testing the Olympus E-M1 MarkIII, the sensor's five-axis image stabilization combined with the optical image stabilization on the lens can compensate for up to 7.5 stops of shutter, achieving handheld pictures with 4 seconds of shutter time without blurring.

At that time, everyone was joking that the next thing that could stop Olympus was the rotation of the earth. Unexpectedly, it may be smartphones that eventually squeezed Olympus out of the market.

Counting the card camera, the functionality of smart phones continues to expand, gradually replacing quite a few products, such as MP3, MP4, Walkman, and so on.

Nowadays, the hardware specifications are more and more similar to cameras, but the orientation of smart phones is not performance, but the development of more functions, and continue to play the role of personal mobile device center.

▲ Picture from: snapmounts.

The main function points of sports cameras such as "constant horizon" have begun to be absorbed by smartphones. There are one, two and three. Similar functions will become standard for smartphones like seeding.

From this point of view, action cameras must either make a breakthrough to become a product with excellent professionalism, or be gradually replaced by smart phones in the mass consumer market.

After all, compared to the general public, multi-functional products are more attractive than single-performance products.

Holding the banner of "computational photography", smartphones with sufficient image specifications may only be a matter of time before the entry-level mid-range cameras are replaced.

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