Earlier today, at its Future Imaging Event, OPPO revealed three new camera technologies that could make their way into future smartphones. While they’re all pretty cool, they’re also at least somewhat derivative – improvements that build on previous feature implementations, including some OPPOs. In fact, if you’ve been following the smartphone camera news for the last half-decade or so, some will sound familiar to you. And, if you’re in the US, you probably won’t benefit from it.
First, OPPO is advertising its new RGBW camera sensor, developed in collaboration with Sony. “W” in this case stands for white, which should mean better light-gathering ability, especially in low-light circumstances. If you remember when some companies used to augment a color sensor with a separate black and white sensor, combining the results for better low-light performance, this is a similar idea, except all together on a single sensor. . And, in fact, it’s not a new idea.
Huawei did this in 2015 and Sony in 2012. Just last year, OPPO’s sister company Vivo announced something similar. But OPPO claims that the new design it is using eliminates the problems that previous systems had, such as signal crosstalk, a propensity for strong moiré, and poor color accuracy. OPPO has also integrated its own logic and pixel binning algorithms directly into the sensor itself to improve compatibility, battery life and performance.
All of this combines to mean apparently 60% better light capture and 35% less noise in the resulting photos. The company claims commercial availability for this new sensor technology at the end of the year in the fourth quarter.
Similarly, OPPO is also building on an announcement made last year for true, honest and real adjustable focal length cameras, namely real “Enlarge.”
Last year the company said it had developed a folded / periscope-style camera module that allowed an equivalent zoom of 85-135mm, and today the company claims to have increased these numbers up to 85-200mm equivalent with a system that has real mobile lens groups in a compact, compatible phone that can adjust the focal length produced. One of the improvements over the previous design is the use of a more precise motor for those moving parts and a “prismatic OIS” which can help mitigate both the more noticeable effects of motion at longer focal lengths as well as the smaller aperture. most periscope style cameras have. OPPO didn’t tell us which aperture it can achieve (it’s probably quite small / slow), but it implies that the aperture varies according to the zoom level. However, the company says maximum brightness is consistent across the range thanks to other technologies.
Take these selected examples with a grain of salt, but OPPO’s system shows much better detail with a more effective “zoom”.
Now, there are other added benefits like continuous zoom, more consistent white balance when “zooming” versus switching between discrete focal lengths, and better quality than digital “zoom”, but honestly I’m just thrilled by the simple perspective. more precise framing without overly processed images.
Returning to the OIS theme, OPPO also announces a new system for this, promising five-axis stabilization that includes separate lenses. And movement of the sensor to control the movement even more precisely. OPPO has some numerical claims, such as “65% increase in vibration compensation performance,” but real-world applications should simply mean sharper and better photos on average than older OIS systems. The demonstrations (available in the video above at around 11:46 am) looked impressive, reducing motion in the company’s comparison, even if you take the examples with a grain of salt. OPPO promises that it will arrive in the first quarter of 2022.
(OPPO also reiterated its teasing under-display technology earlier this month, but aside from a few extra technical explanations on how it works, there’s not much new there.)
Unfortunately, the direct effects of these camera technologies for most of our readers are nil. None of this is guaranteed to enter US smartphones, unless it happens through the transitive ownership of parent company BBK and OnePlus. However, OPPO steadfastly maintained the relationship with BBK had no impact in our briefing, which implies that sister companies through that parent simply wouldn’t have gotten this stuff. But these improvements put more pressure on the companies selling smartphones here, and I would be psychedelic see such an adjustable focal length lens system turn it into multiple phones, ideally one I can buy in the US.