On the occasion of World Photography Day, that is the 19th of August, 2022, TechSathi had the opportunity to interview Mr Yiran An, Senior Product Manager at Vivo Imaging Centre regarding Vivo’s photography technology, the change in imaging technology as well as the changes in the mobile photography industry. As a photographer himself, Mr An also shared some insight into photography as well.
About Mr Yiran An, Senior Product Manager, Vivo Imaging Centre
Mr Yiran An is the Senior Product Manager of the vivo Imaging Center. He is responsible for managing the planning and creation of Vivo’s imaging products. His job is focused on giving consumers better photography experiences by going deeper into research, optimizing and upgrading current products, as well as looking towards how vivo can suit users’ needs in other areas, like upcoming shooting scenarios.
Yiran has a strong profession in the field of photography. He has visited more than 35 countries while working as a travel photographer. In addition to contributing to numerous renowned worldwide galleries like VGC China and Getty Images US, he is also a verified member of The Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain. More than 300k people follow him on social media thanks to his more than 100 published works.
Mr An received his PhD degree in Materials Science from the Queen Mary University of London in 2015.
He previously had positions as a researcher at the British pharmaceutical corporation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and an atomic force microscopy specialist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand before joining vivo.
Interview with Mr Yiran An for World Photography Day
1. Vivo consists of both flagship and budget smartphones in their lineup, however, the company has never compromised on the camera quality of either the budget or flagship smartphones. When other smartphone companies are emphasizing different systems, why has Vivo placed such particular importance on mobile photography technology?
vivo is dedicated to its mission to provide the best of technology and innovation to its customers.
All the smartphone series under Vivo aim to provide the best camera features and imaging technology to the users, with an intent to redefine how people perceive smartphone photography.
Every individual, irrespective of the demographics and profession, should be able to click a gorgeous image with the least amount of skill possible. After all, that’s what technology is for. We want to ensure that a photograph from our device, is mostly technology and very little skill from the user. But it is also not wrong to say that all Vivo smartphones are a combination of the latest technology and innovation.
Our goal is to deliver an all-around smartphone to our users that offers the best of all worlds and a perfect experience.
2. Currently, Vivo houses five different photography modes within its camera system; night, portrait, motion, video as well as super-resolution. How are all these modes different from one other? How can users utilize these features to get the best results? Also, which among these five modes would you say is your favourite to use?
vivo smartphones are a combination of superior imaging hardware along with innovative imaging software. Each camera adjustment and mode have attributes of its own. The Night Mode enables users to capture clear pictures with details even in a dark environment.
The features perfectly use the specialized algorithm and the help of ZEISS T*Coating to capture pictures with sharp focus, and vibrant contrast. The motion capture mode combines Vivo’s hardware advantages of the gimbal system and motion deblur algorithm to improve the clarity and success rate of motion portrait capture while constantly expanding the applicable scenarios of motion capture to provide users with more ways to shoot and help them capture more exciting moments.
Talking about video stabilization, through our OIS Optical Stabilization and EIS Software Stabilization, with the hardware stabilization of the gimbal system, the smartphones enhance the stabilization angle, smoothness, and stability of the video to achieve a nearly perfect experience and shot.
The mode that I find extremely impressive is the Night Mode as it has always been a challenge for humankind to explore in the dark and it is such a monumental experience to look at the technology at our fingertips which is capable of providing us with the ability to do that and make the dark night into an aesthetic piece.
3. Before smartphones only had one camera at the back and one at the front, now it’s totally different. Users can find up to 5 cameras just at the back of a smartphone. What is the difference between having one camera and multiple cameras? How different is the image quality? Also, what is different about the imaging technology used today?
Since the time cameras became the biggest selling point in smartphones, brands have started putting a lot of effort into improving their quality. At a certain point, a lot of attention was given to the number of megapixels a smartphone camera could have.
But recently, a new trend has emerged that puts focus on smartphones having multiple cameras.
Dual camera smartphones are becoming increasingly common but that’s not the limit anymore. Triple cameras are on the rise and phones with four and five cameras have also started emerging. To put it into the equation, multiple cameras mean improved picture quality. Each camera has a specialized lens that can give either a wide shot or a zoomed-in shot. Data from different cameras are combined into a clear photo with shallow depth of field and good low light capabilities. Additionally, as a matter of fact, smartphones with multiple cameras are thinner when compared to their counterparts.
4. Vivo has always been open to listening to customer opinions and wants when it comes to mobile photography. How has the voice of customers influenced the inclusion of different camera specs over the years?
Young consumers love capturing their unique memories and experiences daily, crafting creative content and sharing it in real-time with their social media communities. Cameras in smartphones have also progressed rapidly over the past few years, so much that camera quality, in both front and rear camera categories, is a strong product differentiator.
Today’s smartphones have extended capabilities, including in-built high-quality camera lenses and mobile apps that enhance the quality of photographs and videos.
With its commitment to “customer-centric innovation,” Vivo is leading the innovation in augmented camera experience with trail-blazing smartphones, inclusive of the V series and Y series smartphones. vivo recently broke new boundaries with the latest premium V series packed with many industry-leading camera features.
Vivo understood that taking selfies, making short videos, and capturing personal moments is the most sought-after user requirement from their hand-held devices.
5. Before becoming a part of Vivo, you were a travel photographer as well. What do you think are some of the fundamentals of photography that everyone should know about?
As a photographer, you will need to master the technical basics of the camera and develop an understanding of it. Over the years of taking photographs all around the world, I have narrowed down the key factors that compose a good photograph. Whether taken on the simplest camera or the most advanced smartphones, the photographs rely on four foundational principles, namely exposure and colour balance, focus and depth of field, composition and finally lighting.
Light is the most fundamental element that all photographs need because of its ability to illuminate the scene or subject. It doesn’t matter if the light is natural or artificial, what matters is the quality and the direction of light.
6. The partnership with ZEISS, one of the finest photography equipment manufacturers, was highly talked about. What did that partnership bring for Vivo and how did it change the game in this extremely competitive mobile photography market?
Our long-standing partnership with ZEISS made it possible to shape our imaging technology and camera innovation to provide a professional imaging experience for Vivo users.
This partnership saw a very rare yet miraculous combination of ZEISS’ professional optical expertise for years, combined with our deep-rooted research and technology in smartphone imaging.
This partnership made it possible to gradually expand the ZEISS T*Coating to the X Series which helps in reducing the disturbance of ghosting and glare on images taken during nighttime while enhancing the night photography capabilities. We are also able to simulate classic ZEISS portrait lens bokeh styles including Biotar, Sonnar, Planar and Distagon Portrait Style Bokeh and Cinematic Style Bokeh.
7. From the beginning of Vivo’s existence till today, the camera specs that have been offered are not usually seen in a whole lot of smartphones. Would you say that in the long run, Vivo could become the go-to photography equipment that people would choose instead of going for those pricey professional cameras?
As I said, our goal is to redefine photography. Long gone are the days when one had to purchase a pricey professional camera to take high-grade photos. Nowadays through our technology, every smartphone user can take professional-grade photos with many features to have fun with.
We even encourage young cinematographers and photographers to showcase their work and stories through their Vivo smartphones.
vivo smartphones are a combination of superior imaging hardware along with innovative software algorithms. As a matter of fact, we are on the verge of breakthroughs when smartphones will slowly replace professional cameras in our everyday lives. vivo smartphones are easy to carry, offer professional features and require fewer skills than a professional camera to utilize.
8. Before smartphone photography was about just taking pictures for memory’s sake but the definition of smartphone photography has completely changed today, it seems as if people are looking to capture pieces of art now. How much has the image performance in smartphones changed throughout these years?
I believe that every technology we use in vivo makes us who we are. We introduced the industry’s first smartphone with a gimbal camera to provide a whole new meaning to smartphone stabilization technology.
It is an innovative technology lending an anti-shaking angle and providing a clear image with less motion or jerk. But that’s not all, Vivo then launched its intelligent imaging chip V1 in 2021. With its high efficiency and low power consumption, it directly provided a full visual enhancement to not just images but also display, games and other areas.
9. The camera specs, photography modes, and image quality from any Vivo smartphone have always been impressive so what’s next? What is something that users should be on the lookout for now?
In the smartphone industry, things are susceptible to change.
Smartphone technology is very fast-paced and every few months, we see changes in camera technology, display and so on.
It somehow becomes second nature to keep moving ahead. We, at Vivo, aim to focus on what’s coming next and offer innovative, future-ready technology with a special focus on our consumers’ needs, and wants and to provide them with an enhanced experience and technology that impacts their lifestyle.