A smartphone camera with 10x optical zoom may be in the works

 mashable.com  01/14/2019 16:24:55   Stan Schroeder

A year ago, during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Chinese smartphone maker Oppo demonstrated a smartphone camera with 5x lossless zoom

Now the company has announced a Jan. 16 event that hints at a smartphone camera with 10x optical zoom. 

The news comes via Chinese outlet MyDrivers.com, which points to an Oppo patent, as well as the upcoming event's tagline — it translates to "ten for the see," roughly — as proof that Oppo has indeed managed to make a smartphone camera with 10x optical zoom. 

Oppo's invite for the January 16 event.

Oppo's invite for the January 16 event.

Image: Oppo

If the report is accurate, Oppo's 10x zoom camera is probably based on the same tech Oppo had shown a year ago. The company combined a horizontally-positioned "periscope" lens with new optical image-stabilization tech to achieve 5x zoom that's not horrendously jittery. I've tried out a prototype device and it appeared perfectly usable, though the device was on a fixed stand. 

The world has changed since last February. Back then the best optical zoom on a smartphone camera was iPhone X's 2x optical zoom; later in the year, Huawei launched its P20 Pro with 3x optical zoom. However, no smartphone maker launched a phone with a camera that has 5x or 10x optical zoom yet. 

There's a big caveat, though — Oppo's 5x "lossless" zoom camera never made it into any actual product. It's possible that the company needed more work to perfect the technology and managed to improve it further along the way, but we won't know for sure until Jan 16. 

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