In Israeli-based Corephotonics – which was reportedly acquired by Samsung earlier this year – Oppo approached with a cunning concept that consisted of a standard camera plus a 3x zoom periscope. This “folded camera optics” solution increased the overall zoom range to a more practical 5x, but it could still maintain a thin component height because the telephone sensors could stick to similar diameters.
Li was convinced, and by the end of 201
5, his team made some resources together to begin designing a new camera based on Corephotonics solution. The first component samples came out in mid-2016, and these would eventually develop into the demonstrations shown at MWC 2017. As to why this was not commercialized shortly thereafter, Li explained that there were still many barriers related to the optic mounting method, optical stabilization in the periscope and lossless transition between the two cameras.
Most interestingly, Li acknowledged that the prism of the periscope in the original design was prone to loosening, partly due to the one-axis stabilization of the prism. Consequently, a revised design changed things: The prism was the dual axis stabilization mission, while the telephoto lens group was only concerned with autofocus. Problem solved. In fact, dual-axis stabilization is actually easier to apply to prisms than the much heavier set of lenses, anyway.