OPPO’s new camera puts iPhone 7 Plus zoom to shame

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Oppo-5x-lens-periscope
Oppo's camera uses periscope-style lenses for 5x lossless zoom.
Photo: Oppo

Chinese smartphone maker OPPO today announced a new smartphone camera with even greater zoom capabilities than iPhone 7 Plus.

The module uses two camera sensors just like Apple’s, but they’re positioned differently to allow for “groundbreaking” 5x lossless zoom. They’re also 10 percent slimmer than the typical 2x zoom lenses used in smartphones.

Unlike digital zoom, which simply blows up a portion of your image and destroys its resolution in the process, optical zoom allows you to get closer to your subject without a drop in image quality. It’s uncommon in smartphones today, but that’s changing.

Apple wasn’t the first to offer optical zoom in a smartphone, but thanks to strong demand for iPhone 7 Plus and excellent marketing, it will be the company that makes the feature mainstream in mobile devices. However, OPPO believes it has done an even better job.

The company’s new “5x Dual Camera Zoom” (that is its real name) module promises even better pictures. It uses innovative periscope-style lens technology that gives the camera sensor the additional space it needs for greater zoom without making the module any thicker.

Unlike a traditional smartphone camera, which is mounted on its back with lenses stacked on top of it, OPPO’s secondary sensor sits on its side at 90 degrees, facing the primary sensor. Its lenses are then stacked alongside it, and a tiny prism is used to direct the path of light.

“Through the OIS technology, both the prism and telephoto lens intelligently sense vibrations and compensate in real time,” explains OPPO. “The all-new OIS solution can improve the performance of previous generations by 40 percent, and the prism mechanism dynamically adjusts its angle at precise increments of 0.0025o.”

This setup allows OPPO’s camera to achieve 3x optical zoom. Coupled with “proprietary image fusion technology for digital zoom,” the end result is 5x lossless zoom — a world’s first for smartphone cameras, OPPO claims.

The big advantage iPhone 7 Plus has is that you can actually buy it, whereas there’s no word on when OPPO’s new camera will actually be available inside a smartphone. Nevertheless, we can’t wait to see whether it lives up to the hype.