Xiaomi Mi A3

Until a few years ago, most phones including a few Xiaomi ones were equipped with up to 2x optical zoom. This changed with the Huawei P30 Pro (5x) and Oppo Reno 10x Zoom. Both these phones employed the periscope mechanism to attain such magnification. A new patent hints at Xiaomi’s take on the same technology. This is rumored to be used within the upcoming Mi Mix 4.

Xiaomi has apparently acquired an application for this technology from the State Intellectual Property Office of China on July 2. The patent file reveals a periscope lens placed in perpendicular to the phone’s primary camera. It shows the use of light refraction, aided with Optical Image Stabilization to amp the zoom.

Xiaomi periscope camera patent

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Periscope cameras are becoming a trend in smartphone optics. Xiaomi might also ride this bandwagon. Alright, but what does it mean?

Periscope Cameras: The tech behind the growing Optical Zoom

Oppo 10x Zoom
Oppo 10x Zoom pictorial representation

You could either zoom digitally or optically. Each method has its own demerit. Digital zooming crops and drops the quality of the final output. Optical zoom, on the other hand, requires a higher focal length between the lens and the sensor. This would in turn beef up the phone’s body.

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Here come’s the periscope technique which places a 90-degree angular prism or periscope between the lens and the sensor. It refracts the light to a vertically positioned camera sensor. This renders a smoother and lossless final output backed by OIS.

At present, Huawei P30 Pro (review) offers a 125mm focal length while Oppo Reno 10X Zoom (review) delivers a 135mm focal length. We expect Xiaomi to go for a similar focal range. Besides the periscope lens, Mi Mix 4 might also bear a new camera like, if not better than the 64MP Samsung GW1 unit. Realme’s 64MP sensor is also expected to premiere in India soon.


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