Today, Oppo hosted a “Future Imaging Technology Launch Event” online to make some camera-related announcements, following the reveal of its “next-generation” under-display selfie camera earlier this month. Oppo is known for demonstrating camera tech in prototype form long before it hits the market. For example, the company was the first to show periscope telephoto cameras and under-display cameras, which are becoming more common on high-end devices.
Anyways, in today’s event, Oppo has thrown light on a bunch of novel camera technologies like continuous optical zoom, a new RGBW sensor, 5-axis OIS technology, and a next-gen Under-screen Camera (USC).
Oppo Continuous Zoom Lens for Phones
A variable zooming lens setup was announced for smartphones. Due to the moveable elements, Oppo claims the images should be crisp at all focal lengths without the need for digital zoom, cropping, or artificial sharpening. This was similar to Vivo’s Apex 2020 concept phone, but the range was much more limited – between 130-195mm-equivalent. The Oppo module starts at 85mm, a standard focal length for portrait headshots, which will have a lot more versatility. Oppo points out that using a single camera across multiple focal lengths ensures better color and white balance. Oppo has not mentioned when it will release this camera on a commercial device.
Oppo 5-axis OIS
Next, the company announced a five-axis optical image stabilization system that utilizes lens-shift, sensor-shift techniques, as well as gyroscope-derived movement data to stabilize the click. Lens shifting is used for more gradual stabilization, while sensor shift is applied in more dramatic situations and includes the ability to roll the sensor along the X and Y axes too.
Oppo says the stabilization is three times better than what you can get with regular OIS camera modules, which is also what Vivo says about the gimbal-style systems it has been selling since last year. Oppo has confirmed a release date for OIS, unlike the zoom lens – it will appear in Oppo smartphones in the first quarter of 2022.
Oppo RGBW sensor
Finally, Oppo announced a new image sensor that uses an RGBW subpixel layout with additional white subpixels for what the company claims are a 60% increase in light sensitivity. Oppo acknowledges that previous attempts at RGBW sensors had limitations but believes that the new effort can make a significant impact due to improved manufacturing processes and demosaicing algorithms. There will be phones shipping with it in Q4 2021, too – the company says it will be available then.