Not a year goes by without a phone maker trying some kind of gadget with the camera system. But Oppo’s new Find X3 Pro has a gadget that’s actually pretty awesome: a camera that’s practically a microscope.
Well, Oppo calls it a ‘Microlens’ camera, but whatever you call it, it’s capable of magnifying objects up to 60x. This places it more in the territory of a basic microscope (40x, 100x, and 400x are common magnifications) than, for example, the tacky macro lenses of some cameras, where it is often better to crop to a higher resolution. Of course, it’s not enough to fix the problem in the cells, but it will still bring you some pretty cool close-ups.
To use some Oppo samples, here are some algae:
Interesting, I guess. Here is now a close-up with the microlenses:
Sure, these are pretty, but even the photos we’ve seen of journalists with access to phones are already way more interesting than what you usually get with gadget cameras. Here are some examples of YouTuber Mr. Mobile:
My favorite samples from a week with the Find X3’s “microlens” camera.
Call it a gadget if you will, but I love that Oppo has pushed the phone’s camera capabilities into this new realm. Reliving mundane objects is incredibly fun with a 30X “pocket microscope”. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/KNN5rxozXE
– Michael Fisher (@theMrMobile) March 11, 2021
Here are some examples of Andy boxall from Digital Trends:
I’m probably going to get laughed at by some cam-snobs for that … but the @OPPOMobileUK # OPPOFindX3ProThe 60x zoom microscope camera with gimmicky microlenses takes cool and fun photos.
From left to right: fabric, card, foam and phone screen.
I have a full story on this later.#AwakenColour pic.twitter.com/rP6cbF3fmC
– Andy Boxall (@AndyBoxall) March 11, 2021
Granted, these aren’t the highest quality images in traditional terms – the camera is a measly 3 megapixel, after all. And it must be difficult to keep objects in focus with such a shallow depth of field and the shaking of those high magnifications. Still, these are images you just don’t get on other devices, and at least Oppo includes a ring light around the lens to help keep subjects lit up.
You might think this is just another fad, like the novelty optics seen in so many phones. And who knows, maybe the Microlens camera will be gone in a year or two. But unlike, for example, a monochrome or depth camera – or even a traditional “ macro ” lens – the Oppo Find X3’s microlens actually allow you to capture images that you couldn’t otherwise.
This is how you make a gadget: Give away something that people have never seen before and can’t easily emulate. I wouldn’t be surprised to see others copy it down the line; maybe 5 years from now we will all have proper microscopes in our pockets.
The other cameras are pretty neat and Oppo uses 50 MP Sony IMX766 sensors for normal and ultra-wide lenses; it’s nice to see a company ensuring equal quality for both types of images, just like you would get with a traditional camera. It is also capable of shooting in 4K with 10-bit color resolution, which should help with the color grading of video footage.
Otherwise, the phone is a typical 2021 version. Here are the other key specs you should know:
- Snapdragon 888
- 12 GB RAM / 256 GB storage
- 6.7 inch OLED
- 3216 x 1440 resolution
- 32MP front camera
- Maximum brightness of 1300 nits
- 4500 mAh battery
- Dolby Atmos setting
- 65W charge, 30W wireless charge
- Integrated fingerprint reader
It also has Hans Zimmer ringtones which is pretty nifty, although I’m more of a John Williams guy myself.
The Oppo Find X3 will be available from March 30 in Europe; where it will cost £ 1,149. You can read more about Find X3 here.
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Published March 12, 2021 – 02:50 UTC