Chinese electronics manufacturer Oppo today announced a brand new camera system at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Developed in collaboration with an Israeli startup named Corephotonics, it’s based on a periscope-style lens design which makes possible 5x lossless zoom, earning it a rather unexciting but apt 5x Dual Camera Zoom moniker.
What’s more, Oppo’s new technology kills the need for an unsightly camera bump at the back. The company did not say when the new camera technology can be expected to debut on its smartphones.
With 5x lossless zoom, customers will be able to get even closer to subjects without losing any details.
The new system is very slim and packs more than 50 parts which have been stacked in a 5.7mm module (0.22 inches), or as thick as three coins. Traditional zoom lenses with high magnification typically affect the thickness of the mobile phone—hence the camera bump on the back of your iPhone.
Switching to a rather smart periscope-style design shall allow Oppo engineers to design slim smartphones with high magnification zoom lens. The new camera structure diverts light through a prism and into a telephoto lens nested inside the smartphone, set at a ninety-degree angle to a rear-facing wide-angle lens.
By shifting the light’s path, they’re able to achieve a lossless 5x zoom.
However, it’s important to note that the new dual-camera system delivers 3x optical zoom while using Oppo’s proprietary image fusion technology for digital zoom to create what’s effectively a 5x lossless zoom feature, a world’s first for smartphone cameras.
As a bonus, Oppo’s dual-camera system also delivers forty percent better stabilization.
As the company explained:
As the zoom factor increases, slight vibrations can have dramatic effects on an image. Both the prism and the telephoto lens group in OPPO’s periscope-style camera module intelligently sense vibrations and make corresponding compensations in real time.
The all-new optical image stabilization (OIS) solution can improve the performance of previous generations by forty percent. What’s more, the new prism mechanism dynamically adjusts its angle in astonishingly precise increments of only 0.0025°, ensuring that images will remain clear and stable even at a full 5x zoom.
The videos below give you a better overview of Oppo’s new camera tech.
“We are definitely putting a stake in the ground in terms of technological breakthroughs for mobile photography,” said Sky Li, Oppo’s Vice President of International Mobile Business and President of Oppo India.
“The dual cameras with wide-angled and telephoto lens, together with the periscope-style construction, our image fusion technology and the Optical Image Stabilization, edges mobile photography even closer to what digital cameras are capable of doing,” Li added.
Oppo confirmed to CNET that it licensed the original patent for dual-camera setups for smartphones earlier from Corephotonics, and has since applied for 50 new patents.
On paper, Oppo’s new technology puts iPhone 7 Plus’s dual-lens camera with 2x zoom to shame.
The Cupertino company should, of course, advance iPhone photography further with this year’s release of a brand-new iPhone 8 model alongside the iterative iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus updates.