Yongnuo files patent for modular mirrorless camera phone

(Image credit: Yongnuo)

As camera phones continue to advance at the speed of light, we're beginning to see mirrorless camera technology being incorporated. We've already seen the introduction of in-body image stabilization effects on a variety of camera phones, including the new iPhone 12 Pro handsets. 

However, Yonguo could be working on a new type of camera phone that will have an interchangeable lens module and an image sensor. If this comes to market, it could be a great way for photographers and content creators to capture high quality content and then edit and post natively on the handset.

As reported by DIY Photography, the 'mobile terminal' for the device will have a large LCD screen on the back that will possibly run an Android OS. There will also be a separate "external lens assembly" that will attach to the front and lock into the 'mobile terminal'. This will provide a grip and hold the lens. This is an interesting design choice, as rather than the lens attaching to a body (as seen with traditional camera mounts), the 'camera' will be slotting into the lens instead.

The patent states, "Nowadays, mobile terminals such as smart phones have a photographing function. With the development of the times, the lens carried by the mobile terminal cannot meet higher requirements of users, so that an external lens assembly used for the mobile terminal appears on the market.

However, the external lens assembly is often mounted on the mobile terminal by clamping, and the like, so that the external lens assembly is easily detached from the mobile terminal, and the external lens assembly has low practicability. And the matching precision of the external lens adopting the clamping mode and the mobile terminal is not high, so that the quality of photographing is easily reduced. And some external lens assemblies adopting special mechanisms for installation are troublesome to install and disassemble and inconvenient to use."

At present, there doesn't seem to be any information on what the size or format of the sensor will be. However, Yongnuo is a part of the Micro Four Thirds System Standards Group, so we could potentially some Micro Four Thirds technology included.

However, as always, it's best to take patents with a pinch of salt. Just because a company is developing a particular type of technology, it doesn't necessarily mean that we'll see that product come to fruition. However, even if we don't see this mirrorless camera phone in the future, it's very possible that some aspect of the technology will pop up in a product later down the line.

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Louise Carey

With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something at which she is so adept that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Louise also brings years of experience as both a web and print journalist, having served as features editor for Practical Photography magazine and contributing photography tutorials and camera analysis to titles including Digital Camera Magazine and  Digital Photographer. Louise currently shoots with the Fujifilm X-T200 and the Nikon D800, capturing self-portraits and still life images, and is DCW's ecommerce editor, meaning that she knows good camera, lens and laptop deals when she sees them.