Remember the ultra-compact cameras with retractable lenses? They were all the rage two decades ago, before the advent of phones with good cameras which have all but killed the standalone, compact camera category.
Now, retractable lenses are making a comeback. Chinese smartphone maker Oppo has tweeted a short teaser video showing a smartphone with a retractable camera module.
Tweet may have been deleted
In the video, we see the main camera module pop up when the camera app is activated, and retract when it’s not needed any more. The video even implies that the module automatically retracts when the phone is dropped, likely to prevent damage. The camera module is also shown popping up in heavy rain, which implies that it’s waterproof.
One thing we don’t know from the video is how the pop-up camera helps produce better photos; typically, it would mean better zoom capabilities. Oppo says we’ll get to know more on Oppo Inno Day, an event to be held on Dec. 14.
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Notably, Oppo isn’t the first manufacturer to add a retractable camera to a smartphone. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Zoom, which launched in 2013, had a massive, retractable camera module on the back, giving it 10x optical zoom capabilities, which were unheard of at the time.
Remember this guy? Credit: Samsung
Oppo’s approach is different, though, as it would not make the smartphone bulkier than a regular one, unlike Samsung’s monstrously large camera phone.
It’s unclear whether Oppo is launching a phone with a retractable camera, or will it just showcase the new technology without attaching it to an actual device yet. We’ll know more on Dec. 14.