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Oppo confirms 10x zoom camera for smartphones

Oppo confirms 10x zoom camera for smartphones


From 15.9 to 159mm

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Oppo has confirmed that it’s developing a smartphone camera system with a 10x zoom lens, as rumored. The tech is similar to the 5x zoom prototype the company showed off a couple of years ago, making use of the phone’s lateral width to enable the necessary physical depth through the use of a periscope-style prism.

This time around the camera is 15.9-159mm-equivalent, meaning it’ll start with an ultrawide perspective and zoom into medium telephoto. It’s essentially three prime lenses in one, so Oppo’s claim of “lossless” zoom might not quite be accurate throughout the entire zoom range, but it should be considerably flexible nonetheless.

The system has optical image stabilization, but so far Oppo isn’t saying anything about aperture, which has been the drawback of previous experiments with zoom lenses on phones. The Asus Zenfone Zoom, for example, had a 3x f/2.7-4.8 lens, and the results weren’t great. Even the 2x f/2.4 “telephoto” lens on the iPhone XS turns in worse results than simply cropping the wider, faster primary camera except in the very best of lighting conditions.

Oppo says it’ll show off the camera at MWC 2019 next month, but it’s unclear whether this will be in the form of a commercial product. The 5x zoom camera was demonstrated at MWC 2017 and never made it to market, so hopefully the newer version is closer to commercial reality — Oppo does now claim that it’s ready for mass production.

Oppo also says it’ll show a new in-display fingerprint sensor with 15 times the active area of mainstream competing solutions. Vivo demonstrated something similar at last year’s show with the Apex concept phone, which eventually became the Nex but didn’t include the larger “half-screen” fingerprint sensor. Oppo now says the tech will ship in products this year.