OPPO was very eager to introduce their 10X Lossless Zoom Camera technology during their Innovation Event 2019 on 1 April 2019. First previewed during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, OPPO plans to have their new camera technology and other innovations redefine what a smartphone can do to. After a brief presentation on the technology itself, OPPO handed us a prototype for us to try out.
It was revealed that OPPO is planning to debut this camera technology into their upcoming Reno smartphone which will be launched in China on 10 April (globally in Q2 2019). The prototype in hand, however, was most likely not the Reno thanks to its vague presentation. We were mostly locked out from most of its features and applications, and it could only be a unit with the 10X Camera setup installed for the sake of demonstration. There were no visible selfie camera module or a notch, so testing the front camera is out of the equation.
On the rear of the prototype was the main attraction of the event: its triple camera setup consisting of a main camera, ultra-wide angle lens, and the 10X telephoto lens. What's also impressive is that OPPO has managed to compress the periscope camera into a compact 6.76mm thick module which takes up less space within the phone without sacrificing its performance. OPPO was tight lip on its mega-pixel specifications, so we'll leave the images to speak for themselves.
The Main Event
The event was held on the 51st floor of The Face Suites, Kuala Lumpur which was perfect for the camera's demonstration. The camera launcher that was included in the prototype is just the bare bones, and excluded other features aside from the basic camera and zooming function, which is adequate to test its capabilities.
In broad daylight, images taken with the main camera and wide-angle looked astonishing with vibrant colours, good contrast, and high dynamic range output. But what about the optical zoom? Seeing is believing, and OPPO may have knocked it out of the park with this amazing camera setup. When zoomed 10X in, the images look amazingly sharp with great detail captured in the shots.
You could further zoom in at 20X, but this is done digitally. Although, the 20X may look great in some shots, an observant person will notice the pixelation and the forced smoothings to make the shot more "appealing". That said, if you're not planning to stretch it far, zooming in at 10X is more than enough to get the best out of the camera. Also, it's worth noting that the OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) feature works very well, even at 20X. Chalk another one up for OPPO.
Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
When there are pros, there'll definitely be cons. As much as I would love to snap pictures outside and just call it a day, I like to take my testing extensively. While shooting with the camera outdoors and in daylight did impress me (a lot), the zooming didn't fare as well when shot indoors.
As demonstrated in the images, the main and wide-angle cameras worked surprisingly well in low light. But once you zoom in, that's where things do get very muddy. As mentioned earlier, the camera features a smoothing method to filter out noise and pixelation, and this can be seen being used harshly on objects captured in low light. When it's barely passable in 10X, you can imagine how it can be on 20X.
Not all hope is lost. OPPO is also known for implementing low-light modes for their cameras, and will most likely be implemented in the final product. According to Ken Ng, OPPO Malaysia's Product Manager, there will be more features to be included in the actual release in both software and hardware when it launches with the OPPO Reno.
All-in-all, OPPO's 10X Lossless Zoom camera is living up to its hype so far. Until the OPPO Reno's release, we are looking forward to try it out again for our full in-depth review. Till then, stay tuned to Stuff Asia for the latest news in tech and lifestyle.