Oppo promises 5-axis OIS is coming to its phones soon

·Senior Editor; Engadget Chinese Editor in Chief
·2 min read

Never one to shy away from showing off its latest developments, Oppo is now teasing more upcoming mobile camera tech. The most interesting bit is perhaps the 5-axis optical image stabilization, which uses both lens shifting and sensor shifting for maximum effect — apparently three times the angle than that of conventional optical stabilization, according to Oppo. If true, this would compensate for greater shakiness, thus allowing for faster capture and better low-light performance, even when handheld.

OPPO comparison of 5-axis stabilization on professional camera with traditional OIS on smartphone.
OPPO comparison of 5-axis stabilization on professional camera with traditional OIS on smartphone.

This kind of implementation is nothing new in the professional camera world, but the challenge here is to miniaturize the solution and fit everything into the little remaining space on a phone. The lens, driven by ball-bearing motors, serves as the primary stabilization tool for light vibrations. For bigger movements, both the lens and sensor kick in to achieve 5-axis stabilization, with the latter's shifting and rotation controlled by shape memory alloys.

Oppo’s 5-axis OIS shown in real-time linkage
Oppo’s 5-axis OIS shown in real-time linkage

Oppo admits that incorporating extra moving parts means increasing the number of potential failure points, so it will continue to conduct various drop tests and reliability tests before beginning mass production. The company is targeting Q1 2022 to launch its first phone equipped with this feature.

Oppo's Continuous Lossless Optical Zoom
Oppo's Continuous Lossless Optical Zoom

In addition to its 5-axis optical stabilization tech, Oppo teased its next-gen RGBW sensor, which the company claims can take in 60 percent more light and achieve a 35 percent reduction in noise. This will arrive in an unspecified Oppo phone sometime in Q4 of this year. The company is also working on an 85-200mm continuous optical zoom module to offer greater flexibility. It's unclear when exactly that might become commercially available.

Oppo isn't the only phone maker trying to further differentiate itself with obscure camera tech. To name a few, Vivo has been using its impressive micro gimbal camera since its X50 Pro last year, while ASUS is well into its third-gen flip camera on its aptly named Zenfone 8 Flip. Xiaomi even tried a shape-shifting "liquid lens" camera on its Mi Mix Fold, before picking up the latest-gen under-screen camera for its Mi Mix 4. And it now seems we'll see even more attempts in this arena in the coming months.

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