As the line between the best camera phone (opens in new tab) and the best camera (opens in new tab) continue to blur, it's emerged that Huawei has filed a patent for a camera module with a variable aperture. Photographers will know just how interesting this prospect is, as including a variable aperture means that users will be able to have more control over their depth-of-field and shutter speed.
Earlier this year, Huawei Technologies filed a patent entitled 'Aperture, Camera module and Electronic Device' with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This was then released on 19 August 2021, detailing Huawei's plans for using a variable aperture in upcoming camera phones.
• Read more: Best Huawei phone (opens in new tab)
Most smartphone cameras will feature a fixed aperture, which means that the hole through which light is let into the camera will always remain the same size. However, a variable aperture means that the hole changes in size, letting in more or less light depending on the setting chosen. The wider the hole, the faster the shutter speed can be (as more information is being let in). On professional cameras, wider apertures also mean that users can attain a shallow depth-of-field (opens in new tab) as well.
According to LetsGoDigital (opens in new tab) (which produced the product render above in collaboration with Technizo Concept (opens in new tab)), Huawei wants to use at least six aperture blades. As there isn't any space in a smartphone for camera components such as an ultrasonic motor, Huawei apparently wants to use a miniature driver supported by a drive coil and a drive magnet. This would be what controls the aperture blades, making them smaller or larger as required.
LetsGoDigital notes that Huawei has not specified which lens will end up being equipped with a variable aperture. It's even suggested that multiple cameras could end up with this feature. However, we'll have to wait and see whether this interesting development in Huawei phone technology will bear fruit, or whether it will fade away as a forgotten patent.
Best iPhone for photography (opens in new tab): from the iPhone 7 Plus to 11 Pro
Best camera phone (opens in new tab)
Best phablet (opens in new tab)
Best phone cases (opens in new tab): protect your camera phone in style
The best TikTok lights (opens in new tab)
Best camera for TikTok (opens in new tab)