Oppo's next step: a 10x lossless zoom smartphone camera
Rather than unveil a new flagship phone, Oppo used its presence at Mobile World Congress to show off the innovative technologies making their way to real, consumer products this year. Undoubtedly the most impressive of those was the 10x lossless zoom photos.
In an – as yet unnamed – smartphone coming at some point in the second quarter of 2019, Oppo’s going to launch an innovative triple camera system.
In this three-camera module, Oppo has a 48-megapixel primary lens, as well as a 120-degree ultra wide angle lens and the telephoto one.
This particular telephoto is no ordinary lens though. Similar to the 5x zoom camera it showed off at MWC a couple of years ago, this uses an intriguing periscope-like design.
With the camera lenses lined up horizontally within the body of the phone, Oppo has been able to create a camera capable of 10x lossless zoom. All cameras combined, that means the equivalent of a 16-160mm lens, ranging from super wide to super close up.
In order to direct the light and image through those lenses, there’s a prism lens beneath the external camera lens that directs the picture at 90-degrees.
Impressively, like the primary camera, the periscopic camera has OIS (optical image stabilisation) built in, which is a vital inclusion for ultra-zoomed-in photography. Zooming magnifies hand-shakes/movements as well as the details in the image. Keeping it blur-free is essential.
The big story, apart from the ridiculous zoom, is that – unlike the 5x version – this 10x telephoto camera and the triple module it fits within, are ready for mass production. It will be in a real phone this year.
At the event, Oppo had it ready to try out in an unreleased/prototype phone. Sadly, we don’t know what the model is or even if this is the final device. What’s more, it was placed within a case used to disguise its rear appearance, with a portion of the front blocked as well. We could have an educated guess that it’s the F11 Pro the company has been teasing on its official Twitter handle, but no official confirmation.
Of course, hardware is one thing and the user interface is another. Instead of making it seem like three separate cameras with dedicated “1x” and “10x” buttons on screen, Oppo has attempted to make it seem like a seamless experience.
That means, specifically, sliding an element on the screen. This method makes it tricky to set it to exactly 10-times zoom, but, it does mean zooming from 1-10 is smooth and arguably more natural. That said, it would be good to at least have the option to use individual virtual buttons, just to ensure quick jumping between each step.
Apart from the camera capabilities we don’t know anything else about this upcoming phone. There’s a strong chance it could be a 5G device, with a 4G version offered as well, although Oppo obviously wasn’t keen to divulge too much detail and spoil any surprise.