Oppo has released a brief video hinting at a new type of camera design for smartphones. The company’s “self-developed retractable camera” is shown extending from the phone’s body before retracting back inside. The video suggests that the mechanism is waterproof and that it’ll automatically retract the camera if the phone is dropped.
Unlike pop-up selfie cameras that hide themselves inside a phone until needed, moving the camera back and forth on the Z-axis could have implications for image quality, though Oppo hasn’t yet claimed anything about any optical advantages of this design. It doesn’t appear to be a zoom lens, given it’s marked simply as 50mm, but it could theoretically help improve telephoto performance.
The markings on the camera module show that the sensor is 1/1.56 inches and the lens is 50mm-equivalent with an f/2.4 aperture, meaning it should be around 2x longer than the phone’s main lens. That’s a much bigger sensor than you tend to find behind telephoto lenses, so maybe the extra height allowed by the retracting mechanism is what makes this possible.
Oppo is releasing this video ahead of next week’s annual Inno Day event, where the company often shows off various concepts and technologies before they’re commercially deployed. Last year’s event featured a rollable phone and AR glasses. This year, Oppo is holding Inno Day across two days, December 14th and 15th.