Chinese phone maker Oppo says it’s developed a camera system that will bring 10x lossless zoom to smartphones. But you can’t buy one just yet.

Oppo used its Mobile World Congress press event to explain how it’s new camera will work… and to explain that you’ll be able to the first phone with its 10x zoom technology in the second quarter of 2019.

The system uses three cameras:

  • A primary 48MP camera
  • An ultra-wide camera with a 16mm focal length
  • A telephoto camera with a 160mm focal length

In other words, you can get 10 times closer to the action by using the telephoto lens as opposed to the ultra-wide lens… although it’s probably more like 5X zoom when compared to the images you’d capture from the primary camera.

Still, Oppo put a lot of work into cramming a 160mm lens into a tight space so that it could fit into a slim smartphone. The telephoto camera uses a periscope-style design and a prism to direct light into the phone and sideways rather than straight back. The prism is also used for image stabilization.

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