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OPPO Explores Bizarre Mobile Camera Setup With Seven Lenses

OPPO 2020 Patent 7 Cameras 91Mobiles 1
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Chinese mobile juggernaut OPPO is exploring a somewhat bizarre idea of embracing handsets with no fewer than seven rear cameras. Whether that sounds ridiculous, looks inevitable, or both, the company has been pursuing the concept for some time already.

Newly spotted IP documentation confirms as much, revealing a highly unusual smartphone concept with a septuple-camera setup on the back. The images seen here originate from China’s top patent authority – the National Intellectual Property Administration.

OPPO ostensibly envisioned two handset designs featuring such a monstrous-looking rear. Both revolve around a massive panel protruding from the back, sporting half a dozen lenses surrounding a seventh module. That final, noticeably larger camera, sits in the middle of an unconventional hexagonal lens arrangement.

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The two only differ in the shape of the actual panel housing the apparatus and the consequent placement of its flash unit.

While beauty may truly be in the eye of the beholder, OPPO’s newly uncovered design is about as subtle as a poke in the eye. As for the functional side of things, it’s unclear whether the firm already has a working prototype on its hands. All depictions of the concept included in its latest IP filing are merely renders.

On the other hand, the front side of the envisioned mobile device is much more conventional. It features a largely bezel-free look with a small notch housing a single selfie camera for a total of eight lenses.

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Seven mobile cameras vs. a bunch of laws of physics

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OPPO 2020 Patent 7 Cameras 91Mobiles 1
OPPO 2020 Patent 7 Cameras 91Mobiles 2
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Ridiculous-looking renders or not, OPPO’s line of thinking is a natural continuation of established industry trends. The average number of mobile cameras found on the backs of contemporary flagships has been increasing for several years now.

This phenomenon doesn’t stem from some global design revolution. As a matter of fact, its origins are completely functional. In a manner of speaking, these growing multi-lens oddities are a necessary evil; an inevitable compromise allowing mobile cameras to continue improving year-on-year.

Regardless of what smartphone makers claim in their advertising, they still can’t defy physics. Mobile sensors remain understandably minuscule relative to those found in dedicated cameras. As a result, they’re comparatively worse at gathering light, i.e. taking pictures.

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So, device makers have little choice but to essentially pursue quantity over quality. While the backs of our smartphones hence aren’t becoming easier on the eyes, mobile photography is still improving.

Few will argue OPPO’s new concept doesn’t leave room for refinement, but that doesn’t make it misguided. Look no further than pretty much anywhere else for evidence of that. Because it’s already apparent virtually every mobile giant will integrate even more cameras into its 2020 smartphones.