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Oppo details supersmooth optical zoom and new camera sensor for future phones

Oppo has detailed exciting new camera technology it’s working on at the moment, and some of it may hit phones we can buy before the end of the year. There are three main new developments, with the first focused on a new Red, Green, Blue, White (RGBW) camera sensor. The others concern an optical zoom telephoto camera and image stabilization technology.

The RGBW sensor promises to deliver photos with better color performance and accuracy, as well as improved lowlight ability. The sensor uses a red, green, blue, and white filter, unlike the more common red, green, green, and blue (RGGB) sensors on most other smartphones, along with 4-in-1 pixel technology to let in 60% more light. It reduces image noise by 35%, and Oppo also says the sensor will show more realistic skin tones.

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Oppo’s announcement of an RGBW sensor is not a first. Sony experimented with RGBW sensors in 2012, while Huawei introduced an RGBW sensor on the Huawei P8 in 2015. Camera companies have used the tech before, too. Vivo, part of the BBK Electronics empire, just like Oppo, announced it was working on an RGBW camera sensor in 2020, and indicated it would arrive on a phone during the second half of this year. Oppo says phones with its RGBW camera sensor will be released during the final three months of 2021.

This is joined by a new optical zoom telephoto camera, which Oppo says provides a “continuous supersmooth” zoom without any jumping. Most importantly, it avoids white balance and color accuracy issues. It uses a new motor, an ultrathin lens made of glass and plastic, and a new sensor that helps the module move smoothly. The sensor is referred to as having an 85-200mm focal length, which indicates an up to 4x optical zoom. Oppo has not said when this technology will arrive on a new phone.

This wide-ranging camera tech upgrade is completed with a new five-axis Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) system. Interestingly, Vivo introduced a so-called five-axis stability system on the Vivo X50’s gimbal-equipped camera. If Oppo’s works in a similar or better way, it’ll be good news, as the Vivo system works really well. It will arrive on Oppo phones at the start of 2022. News of these upgrades follows the recent announcement of a new version of its Under Display Camera.

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While Oppo has announced the MariSilicon X now, you won’t see it in action until next year, as the company says the next Find X flagship smartphone will be the first to feature the chip, and it won't be revealed until early 2022. This is exciting as Oppo made one of the best cameras we saw during 2021 with the Find X3 Pro, so we look forward to seeing how the new NPU improves it even further.

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