Why are the super telephotos on the flagship phones gone?

The telephoto lens on the phone, the most impressive thing in my mind is a small video in the circle of friends after the release of the Huawei P30 Pro.

When you shuttle in the Louvre, you want to see the true face of the "Mona Lisa", but there are so many people before you paint, but you can only look at loneliness. At this time, a Huawei P30 Pro rose up in the back row. As the focal length gradually narrowed, 2x, 5x, and then 10x, the "Mona Lisa" appeared on the screen.

▲ It’s a long time since I can’t find a small video of P30 Pro, so I replaced it with a P40 Pro commercial. Image from: Huawei

This video is actually not smooth, and the mirroring is also very basic, but it gives a sense of reality. Especially when the "Mona Lisa" finally appeared on the screen, it was quite shocking. The advantage of the ultra-telephoto shot straight into the heart, and even secretly determined that the next mobile phone must have the "ultra-telephoto" function.

After the Huawei P30 Pro, the ultra-telephoto lens of about 10 times and the periscope structure quickly became the standard equipment of Android machine kings. Coupled with digital cropping, the smartphone suddenly has a 30 times hybrid zoom. , The focal length can be extended to 400mm at once. In other words, after the mobile phone has a 10x zoom, I have never seen the small black card series again.

However, the trend of "super telephoto" of the Android machine kings, especially the domestic ones, has been maintained for one or two generations. With the successive shipments of Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, this year’s new phones are all equipped with "high-pixel" or "dual main camera", while the former "periscope" and ultra-telephoto configuration quietly It's gone.

Is the super telephoto lens on the phone useful?

To answer this question, let's first look at the commonly used focal lengths for photography.

Speaking of focal length, although there is no explicit stipulation which is the best and the best, from experience, wide-angle is used for landscape, 35mm and 50mm for still life, 85mm for portrait, 100mm for macro, and a telephoto lens is farther away.

Among them, the commonly used focal lengths are mostly concentrated from small wide-angle to standard focal lengths. As the focal length becomes wider and farther, the purpose is more specific, and the frequency of use is also decreasing. It is not difficult to see that different brands of camera lenses usually have more lenses for you to choose from in common focal lengths.

If you want better applicability, the camera lens also has a 24-70mm lens that spans multiple practical focal lengths, and the price position also ranges from 1,000 yuan for entry to 10,000 yuan for professional.

It is also established to transplant this kind of photography focal length experience to mobile phones, and our commonly used focal lengths are also concentrated in the range of 24~70mm. A 10x telephoto lens has a focal length of approximately 250mm away, which is no longer a commonly used focal length.

Except for scenes similar to the "small video" mentioned at the beginning, in fact, when you think about it carefully, the use of ten times the super telephoto is relatively limited. When we use mobile phones to take more photos, we will still fall into the ultra-wide-angle, one-fold or two-fold zoom. For example, if you need to take pictures of broader scenery and buildings, you can switch to ultra-wide angle. However, in daily recording or "drug testing" before meals, it is often the case that the main camera is doubled or doubled.

While the shooting scene is limited, the ultra-telephoto imaging on the mobile phone also has a lot of problems.

One is that the aperture value of the telephoto lens is much smaller than that of the main camera. Take Mate 40 Pro as an example. The main camera's aperture is F1.8 and the telephoto lens is F3.4, which affects the telephoto lens. In low light, dark light environment, the amount of light entering, the imaging quality is reduced.

The second is that the telephoto lens will magnify the jitter many times, and even the slightest movement feedback to the mobile phone may be a big change in the viewfinder screen. After calling the super telephoto, a certain anti-shake algorithm is needed to neutralize the jitter. The volume of telephoto lenses is limited, and it is difficult to introduce optical anti-shake components. Nowadays, the telephoto lenses of mobile phones still rely on digital anti-shake, and there will be certain cropping and algorithm corrections during imaging.

With digital zoom, the ultra-telephoto lens on the mobile phone can reach focal lengths of 400mm and 500mm, which is truly stunning. But in practice, it has a narrow applicable scene, high requirements for light, and a good anti-shake algorithm assistance (often at the expense of a certain image quality).

The trend of high-pixel cropping has replaced the ultra-telephoto?

In the past few years, the "high-resolution" and "10x ultra-telephoto" people were still arguing about which direction was right.

But since last year, the flagships have gradually begun to move closer to the high-resolution main camera or dual main camera. With the popularity of pixel four-in-one/six-in-one technology, 50 million, 60 million, or even 100 million high-pixel sensors are more practical.

In the daily state, four-in-one and six-in-one pixels not only ensure the purity of the picture, but also reduce the storage and calculation pressure caused by ultra-high pixels. When ultra-high pixels are required, it can also show the advantage of high detail retention.

In the case of high-pixel output, with the corresponding algorithm, you can still get "usable" photos at a digital zoom of about 10 times. Although the tenx digital zoom is not as good as the imaging of the tenx periscope group, it can cover quite a lot of occasions in practice. After all, the use of ultra-telephoto is not as much as wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle.

▲ The telephoto sensor of the periscope and the volume of the periscope group are both limited by the thickness of the body.

In addition, the ultimate goal of moving images is actually to put down the largest sensor in a certain space and put the best lens design into it. However, due to structural problems, it is difficult for the "periscope group" to work hard on the size of the sensor. Similarly, the lens group is also limited in size, and the development path is not clear enough. After the freshness is passed, the differentiation is not enough.

When the first batch of 5G mobile phones went on the market, "heavy" was regarded as a unified feature. The thickness of 9mm and the weight of 200g have almost become a trend. The current situation of the fuselage also gives the periscope group some room for development.

▲ OPPO Reno 10x zoom version of the three-camera module.

With the innovation of 5G mobile phones, they gradually return to "light and thin", and the design requirements for the internal components of the fuselage are higher. The periscope group, which occupies a large part of the space, is naturally the first to receive optimization from manufacturers. The result of the optimization is that it has been replaced by the former opponent's "high-resolution" cropping.

In an era when 50 million, 60 million pixels, or even 100 million pixels are readily available, a high-pixel main camera, or high-pixel dual main camera, may be a better solution to weigh the product form and user needs.

Is dual main camera the optimal solution?

The concept of dual main camera was first introduced on the OPPO Find X2 Pro flagship. Mainly refers to the ultra-wide-angle and wide-angle lenses that use similar quality "flagship" sensors. In the future, vivo X60 Pro+, OPPO Find X3 Pro and the future OnePlus 9 Pro will use "dual main camera".

The "dual main camera" focuses on the commonly used focal lengths, which are frequently used in daily life. After improving the image quality, it will bring a significant experience upgrade to the user. The periscope telephoto lens may not have such an effect. After the "freshness", it may be forgotten in the "menu".

Usually, with dual main camera modules, there will be some "featured" lenses. In order to make up for the weakness of telephoto, OPPO and vivo's flagship products will be supplemented with a relatively ordinary five-fold telephoto lens for emergencies.

For now, the shooting improvement brought by the "dual main camera" is obvious, especially the ultra-wide angle, especially in low light. Different from the "novelty" of ultra-telephoto lens positioning, the dual main camera is from a practical perspective and is also the "optimal solution" of the current mainstream product imaging system.

This year's Super Big Cup collective pigeon pigeon?

The flagship product sequence of medium cup, large cup, and super large cup is mainly for market segmentation, so that products with different configurations can meet the needs of different market groups and increase the market depth of different price segments.

In this year's new mobile phone trend, few of the so-called "super big cup" flagships have been seen. Most of them are positioned in the "medium cup" and "big cup". The camera is naturally more implicit than the previous crazy stockpiling.

In the blue-green camp, the vivo X60 series, the OPPO Find X3 series, and the upcoming OnePlus 9 series are all focusing on the dual-camera series. Among them, the vivo X60 Pro+, which is the only super-large cup, uses only one telephoto. A 5x telephoto with 8 million pixels.

On Xiaomi’s side, the new flagship is only Xiaomi Mi 11, which uses a high-resolution main camera, while the "true flagship" Redmi K40 series only has the positioning of the middle cup and the big cup. The camera configuration scheme is similar to that of the Xiaomi Mi 11. High-resolution main camera.

However, there is also a lot of roadside news about Xiaomi's follow-up Sheng Cup flagship. Aside from the other new features of the back module, the super-telephoto periscope set with 10x upwards may become a new "selling point."

Relatively speaking, the price of the super big cup flagship is often the highest, and the cost will naturally have a higher operating space. The ultra-telephoto periscope group not only increases the functionality of the product, but also indirectly increases the cost of the whole machine, including the cost of R&D, design and the entire periscope module.

Compared with the current 5x telephoto lens, the ultra-telephoto periscope will cost 4 to 6 dollars more, including prisms and lenses, and with the demand for high image quality, this cost may continue to double.

Products that are positioned as "medium cups" and "big cups" are limited by cost control (compared to super-large cups), and it is impossible to cover everything and achieve the ultimate. To use an inappropriate analogy, the flagships of the China Cup used 80 points of product power in exchange for 90 points of consumer demand, which is really worth it.

In the past, domestic Android manufacturers would release three series of flagships with different positioning at a press conference. The amount of information is quite rich. Not to mention ordinary consumers, even enthusiasts who have a good understanding of consumer electronics will find it difficult to follow the press conference. To tell the specific differences between different products, it is difficult for the flagships of the medium, large and super big cups not to influence each other.

Nowadays, the slowing down of the new pace of products allows manufacturers to focus on a product, and the information to consumers is clearer, making the subsequent product layout more calm.

Nowadays, the ultra-telephoto lens that disappeared from flagship phones, the use of less, the limited scene and the environment of weight reduction are external factors, and the cutting ability of high-pixel cameras is getting stronger and stronger, product strategy and cost control are considered internal factors .

Looking back at the current node, ultra-telephoto periscopes are indeed appearing less and less. But if you guess later, the periscope group is likely to appear again with a new wave of "super big cup" flagships.

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Ai Faner | Original link · View comments · Sina Weibo