At MWC 2017 Chinese smartphone maker OPPO showed a prototype device at its booth that featured a dual-camera setup with 5x optical zoom in a normally-sized smartphone body. The zoom lens design had been developed in cooperation with CorePhotonics and used a 90-degree angular prism to direct the light to a vertically positioned stabilized camera sensor.

The prototype never made it into a production series but now it seems OPPO is going to skip the 5x zoom entirely and make a direct jump to a device with a 10x zoom lens that is based on the same principles. The company is currently sending out media invites for the presentation of a 10x lossless zoom solution in Beijing, China, on January 16.

OPPO/CorePhotonics 5x optical zoom design

According to Chinese sources it is not clear if OPPO will present a production device or yet another prototype. In any case it looks like we'll see zoom factors on smartphone cameras grow rapidly in the near future.

Update:

Today OPPO has actually announced the new system at an event in front of journalists. However, those who expected a finished product were disappointed. The improved 10x zoom was merely teased on a few slides. It seems we might see more at MWC, though.

It's also a slight disappointment that the 10x system isn't actually a new development but appears to be the existing 5x prototype zoom with an additional super-wide-angle camera bolted on. So, mathematically we are looking at a 10x zoom here (15.9 to 159mm equivalent according to OPPO) but, at least in terms of tele-reach, the calculations are slightly misleading, as most manufacturers base their magnification numbers on the main camera which tends to come with an equivalent focal length of around 27mm.

Nevertheless, having a "seamless" zoom from super-wide to tele on a smartphone is an enticing idea to many mobile photographers, so we hope a production model will be available in the near future.


Update (January 16, 2019): Additional details were released by OPPO. This article has been updated accordingly with the additional information, specifically regarding the expected release timeframe and the focal length equivalent of the 10x zoom lens).