Looks like Oppo is taking its Camera Phone rebranding very seriously, racing to be best in class when it comes to the camera tech in your smartphone.
Today at MWC, the company announced its far-reaching 5x Dual Camera Zoom tech that extends the telephoto lens' 3x optical zoom to create "lossless 5x zoom". To give you a little perspective, the iPhone 7 Plus' camera is capable of 2x optical zoom while the Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom’s does 2.3x. So how exactly did Oppo do what Apple and Asus hasn't?
Think periscope. The tiny 5.7mm camera module cleverly bounces the light through a prism and into a telephoto lens that’s set at a 90-degree angle to a rear-facing wide angle lens. This horizontal arrangement is able to produce a closer than ever view in a phone that would still manage to maintain its slim silhouette.
It goes without saying that the more you zoom in when taking a photo, tiny movements will be magnified, resulting in blurry enlarged images that you can barely make out. To counter that, Oppo has drastically improved optical image stabilisation by 40% to make sure that even the tiniest of hand jitters don't do anything to ruin your perfect picture. The camera module is capable of compensating for camera shake to a micro degree, sensing and adjusting via the prism mechanism to an OCD-like precision of 0.0025 increments to give you pin-sharp images even at full 5x magnification.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t come in an actual phone - yet. The announcement merely showcased the technology, much like how Oppo demonstrated its Super VOOC fast-charging tech (also yet to show up in an Oppo phone) at last year’s MWC. But it does reveal Oppo's often overlooked engineering chops and more importantly, the potential of the humble smartphone camera.
From our short time with it, there's a marked difference between the image quality at 5x zoom it produced and that by the badly disguised iPhone 7 Plus next to it. Fingers crossed that we will be seeing both these MWC-launched technologies in an Oppo superphone sooner rather than later.