vivo ZEISS Cameraphone Partnership and ZEISS T* Lens Coating Explained

Today - Friday - March 26, 2021, Chinese handset maker vivo officially announced its newest flagship smartphone, the vivo X60 Pro Plus, featuring high-end design and build, beastly internal hardware, and remarkable uptime.

The strongest selling point of this premium handset, however, would have to be its imaging capabilities as it is the first product of vivo's landmark partnership with legendary German optics giant ZEISS.

vivo ZEISS Cameraphone, ZEISS T* Lens Coating
Photo Credit: The Verge

On December 17, 2020, vivo and ZEISS formally announced their much-talked-about alliance through a press conference held in Shenzhen, China.

According to Mr. Joerg Schmitz, Head of ZEISS Consumer Products, "The partnership between vivo and ZEISS is all about mobile imaging. The breadth of ZEISS’s decades-long expertise with optical technologies and imaging will enable vivo to enhance the imaging performance of its flagship smartphones."

On the other hand, Mr. Spark Ni - Senior Vice President and CMO of vivo - noted, "Through the partnership, ZEISS imaging technology will be enjoyed by much more consumers. Based on the synergy and complementarity of optical expertise and new digital technologies, vivo and ZEISS intend to make the strategic collaboration a starting point to create new opportunities for mobile imaging, enable more creativity, so as to support the long-term and healthy development of the entire industry."

As part of their deal, vivo and Zeiss agreed to establish the vivo ZEISS Imaging Lab, a joint Research and Development, program to further improve the imaging prowess of vivo cameraphones. Also, they created the “vivo ZEISS Master Photography” campaign to promote their co-engineered imaging system and to inspire creativity among users.

That's certainly a lot to look forward to if you are a fan of both companies.

Interestingly, though, the imaging specifications of the recently unveiled vivo X60 Plus Pro shows that ZEISS's involvement in crafting its cameras is not as huge as I would have hoped it would be.

The new flagship smartphone features a Quad Rear Camera Module made up of the following shooters:

1. 50 MegaPixel Main Camera with Samsung GN1 primary sensor
2. 48 MegaPixel Ultra-Wide Camera with Vivo’s Gimbal-Style Stabilization
3. 32 MegaPixel 2x Telephoto Camera
4. 8 MegaPzixel 5x Periscope Telephoto Camera

ZEISS is also in the business of making imaging sensors so I thought that the German company would have a major contribution as regards that specification. Sadly, I don't think that's the case here even if the camera module at the back prominently bears the ZEISS logo.

What's notable, however, is the set-up has the ZEISS T* branding which is enough to put a smile on my face.

T* is the mark of ZEISS's unique lens coating innovation that minimizes light flares and other aberrations that can negatively affect image quality. As such, this can result in clearer and sharper images across various lighting conditions. If vivo X60 Pro Plus bears this imaging feature, then it's certainly something that mobile photographers can greatly benefit from and a feature that I'd be inclined to review.

As of writing, ZEISS has yet to disclose if the company has anything to do with the cameraphone's color science or imaging algorithm just like how OnePlus consults its new partner, Hasselblad, in crafting the imaging software of OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro.

To wrap up, allow me to remind everyone that vivo is not the first handset maker that ZEISS has worked with. During its heydays, Nokia had worked very closely with ZEISS in crafting the cameras of their legendary N-Series smartphones. In more recent years, ZEISS had also contributed to enhancing the imaging prowess of Sony's flagship-level Android smartphones.

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