Smartphone cameras have come a long way, but one area where they still struggle is the ability to zoom into a subject from a distance and capture it sharply. Most smartphones are limited to 2x or 3x optical zoom. Oppo seems to have taken note of the criticism, worked to fix the issue, and found the ability to have the 10x lossless zoom camera on a smartphone.
At the Oppo Innovation Event 2019 in Barcelona, the company showcased a new camera system with 10x “lossless” zoom that will come to an unknown flagship smartphone in the second-quarter of 2019. We have had a chance to try out a prototype smartphone with 10x lossless zoom technology, and here is our initial thoughts.
Watch our video of the Oppo 10x lossless zoom technology from MWC 2019
The prototype was intentionally put out in a case to keep the design hidden. But it was not something Oppo wanted us to even care about – after all, the company made it clear that the final hardware and software are subject to change. The early version we tried was fully functional, though it’s hard to tell whether the final version will be a part of F series or something else. Oppo says more details about the phone’s design and the specifications will be announced closer to the launch.
The 10x lossless zoom camera technology relies on three cameras: an 8MP ultra-wide angle camera with a 16mm focal length and 120-degree field of view, an OIS-capable 48MP snapper, and a 12MP telephoto lens with a focal length of 160mm, also featuring Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS).
To pull it off, the telephoto lens uses a periscope-style layout, similar to the 5x zoom camera it showed off at MWC two years ago. A prism reflects light at 90 degrees onto the sensor, which stabilizes the image. Oppo says the new setup has improved image precision by up to 73 per cent. Overall, the camera module is just 6.75mm thick, which is as thin as the camera on the R17 Pro.
After getting my hands-on on a prototype phone, the first thing I did was to open the camera and start taking pictures. Let me clarify: we weren’t allowed to take out a prototype phone outside, so our testing was confined to the demo area.
Of course, the ability to zoom into the subject 10-times drove me the most. When you zoom into 10x, images were less grainy. The 10x optical zoom is impressive but not always. Sometimes on 10x (up to 20x digital zoom supported) there is noticeable noise when taking extreme close-up shots.
The idea of the 10x optical zoom on a smartphone without the bulk of a protruding lens or an extra attachment is exciting. Oppo made a lot of hype about its 10x lossless zoom camera technology, which uses a combination of hardware and software to achieve high-quality images. Oppo promised the first 10x zoom camera phone would arrive in the second quarter of this year.
Disclaimer: The author is in Barcelona at the invite of Oppo India