Vivo has started teasing its next flagship phone, the X50. A video posted to Weibo shows off the camera module, which includes a periscope telephoto, two normal-looking lenses, and one much larger module that is presumably for the primary camera. The lens rotates as the module is manipulated by a robotic gimbal, suggesting the key feature here is image stabilization.
One of the big inclusions in Vivo’s Apex 2020 concept phone, which we weren’t able to see in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was “gimbal-like” stabilization on a 48-megapixel camera. Vivo said the design was inspired by chameleons’ eyes and is 200 percent more effective than typical OIS, allowing for longer nighttime exposures and smoother video. It looks like the X50 will be the first commercial deployment of this idea; another teaser video touts the camera’s low-light ability.
The Apex 2020 also had a unique periscope zoom system where the lens elements actually move, enabling genuine 5x-7x optical zoom. Other phones with periscope “zoom” lenses, like the Galaxy S20 Ultra, really just have long prime lenses and rely on software scaling to handle interim focal lengths. It’s not clear, however, whether this new periscope design will make it into the X50. The camera module says “16-135” below the lenses, which could just describe a periscope prime of 5x the focal length of a 27mm primary camera.
It’s possible that the X50 could use Samsung’s new ISOCELL GN1 sensor, which was just announced yesterday. A Vivo product manager posted about the new sensor on Weibo, highlighting its 1/1.3-inch size and 2.4μm-equivalent pixels. The GN1’s large physical size together with Vivo’s advanced stabilization tech could certainly explain the unusually big primary lens on the X50.