Oppo 10X Zoom Camera: Is this even necessary?

OPPO 10X Zoom

As teased earlier, Oppo has unveiled its new camera technology that offers 10X hybrid zoom. It’s a significant step from their previous 5X hybrid zoom technology that came with a periscope mechanism. Unfortunately, that camera technology was never released on any commercial Oppo smartphone but things may change with this latest version.

If you look at the current and upcoming flagships, manufacturers are offering greater versatility with a telephoto and ultra-wide-angle lens in a triple-camera setup. For Oppo, they are also jumping on a similar bandwagon but it still uses a periscope system for its telephoto shooter. So you have a main camera for normal shots, a dedicated wide-angle lens and a telephoto shooter that has an effective 5X optical zoom.

To get 10X zoom, it uses both the telephoto and ultra-wide-angle shooter to create a clearer closeup image. This should be a similar technique as Huawei’s 5X Hybrid zoom on its current triple-camera setup.

Overall, Oppo’s camera solution offers an effective focal length of 15.9mm to 159mm. As a comparison, the Mate 20 Pro with an ultra-wide-angle lens has an effective focal length of 16mm to 80mm. For clearer shots, while zooming in, the camera setup has optical image stabilisation for both main and telephoto cameras.

The biggest question is whether this level of complication is necessary to take photography to the next level. A lot of flagship smartphones these days can take awesome photos even with a single camera. We’ve seen Huawei and LG offering both ultra-wide-angle and zoom with a simpler fixed triple-camera setup.

If you look at the ASUS ZenFone Zoom that has a periscope design, the experience isn’t that great but then again, this is a brand that isn’t known for its photography capabilities. What could help make imaging better is perhaps a larger sensor and some AI assistance.

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According to Oppo, they will be showcasing photo samples from the camera during MWC 2019. We hope to see a commercial product with this camera setup very soon.

Apart from that, Oppo has also announced a better under-display fingerprint sensor which has a larger active area. Oppo claims that the sensor is 15X larger than conventional in-display fingerprint sensor which should make it easier to unlock without looking at the phone. On top of that, it could also recognise up to two fingers at the same time. This biometric feature is expected to be commercialised in 2019.


Alexander Wong