- Oppo showcased several new camera technologies in its future imaging technology event.
- This includes a new RGBW camera sensor and a continuous optical zoom module.
- The company also demonstrated its improved OIS system and the latest under-screen selfie camera technology.
Oppo is no stranger to showcasing new camera features, highlighting under-displayed selfie cameras, zoom technology, etc. Now, the company decided to showcase its next-generation camera innovations.
The company announced a series of camera features at its Future Imaging Technology conference, including a new generation of RGBW camera sensors, continuous lossless optical zoom modules, 5-axis optical image stabilization solutions and next-generation off-screen selfie cameras.
New RGBW sensor
Traditional camera sensors have RGB color filters (red, green, and blue), but we have seen Oppo and Huawei use RGBW color filters in the past. This adds white sub-pixels to the mix to improve low light capture (hence the name “W”). This is different from a pure monochrome camera because it still produces color images. In other words, the RGBW camera sensor can be used as the primary camera instead of the secondary camera.
Now, Oppo has released a new generation of RGBW sensor, claiming that compared with the previous RGB sensor, it captures 60% more light and reduces noise by 35%. There is no news about the specific RGB sensor that Oppo compares with the new RGBW camera, and we also asked the company how this new sensor compares with the previous RGBW sensor. We will update this article when it returns to us.
More reading: The best tips to improve low-light photography on smartphones
Nevertheless, Oppo also claims to improve color performance and better technology to isolate pixel crosstalk. The company added that due to improved skin, texture and contrast capture, the new RGBW sensor brings better photo and video portraits.
We don’t have to wait too long to see the first Oppo phone with this technology, because the company said it will start commercial launches in new devices from the fourth quarter of this year.
Interestingly, the stable version of BBK Vivo announced last year that it is also developing a new RGBW sensor. This is expected to debut in 2021. It is also believed that Samsung may equip one of the Galaxy S22 phones with a 50MP RGBW sensor next year. Therefore, it seems that some major players may agree that RGBW technology should see a resurgence.
Continuous optical zoom
Telephoto and periscope cameras are undoubtedly important, but they have one major drawback. They usually stay at a fixed zoom factor, forcing manufacturers to use software and other methods when deviating from the native zoom factor. But the result is that image quality degradation is very common.
Since then, we have seen companies such as Sony provide a telephoto camera that can switch between two zoom factors, but any intermediate zoom level requires software intelligence. Fortunately, Oppo has now found the answer in its new continuous optical zoom module.
The company’s new camera module offers zooms from 85 mm to 200 mm, which are roughly equivalent to 3.3X and 7.xX zooms, respectively. Sure enough, the working principle of this system is to move the lens in the module accordingly (see the picture above). Oppo added that the system also avoids the “jumping”, inaccurate white balance and “color deviation” problems that occur in traditional multi-camera zoom settings.
Improved OIS system
Optical image stabilization (OIS) is one of the most important functions of smartphone cameras. It can provide more stable video and keep your camera shutter open for longer under low light conditions to reduce blur. Oppo will also bring an improved OIS system for its future imaging technology activities, called 5-axis OIS.
This solution uses sensor shift image stabilization (as seen on the iPhone 12 series) as a key technology, providing a three-degree “maximum stabilization angle”. Oppo said that this number is three times that of traditional OIS solutions. The first commercial products with 5-axis OIS are expected to be launched in the first quarter of 2022.
We are not sure how this compares to the micro-pan stabilization system seen on Vivo phones, but if it works as Oppo intended, it should still be a significant improvement over most flagship products.
A new generation of under-screen cameras
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
Finally, the under-screen selfie camera is a hot new thing today, and ZTE actually took the lead in launching a commercial device a year ago. But since then we have also seen devices launched by Xiaomi and Samsung. What about OPPO?
Well, the company showed off its next-generation under-display selfie camera technology earlier this month and demonstrated the same technology at this week’s event. In case you missed it, the new solution provides a clearer display area (400 PPI) above the camera and transparent screen wiring. These changes should reduce the “haze” effect in the area of the screen above the camera sensor, making this area integrated with the rest of the display.
Image quality is another major challenge for these cameras, but Oppo said it has developed a variety of algorithms to reduce diffraction, combat condensation, and improve HDR and white balance.
Unfortunately, Oppo did not confirm when we will see phones using this technology. It’s also a pity, because the company first demonstrated its under-screen selfie camera in 2019. Again, compared with traditional cameras, the first few efforts on the market have resulted in a significant drop in quality. So I hope its latest solution does solve the image quality problem.