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The Smartphone With a Built-in Microscope Lens

This isn't an early April fool's joke, dear reader. Oppo's latest flagship device has a built-in microscope included, and the results are impressive.

Marques Brownlee is back once again to show us what we can expect to see from the leading tech manufacturers in the coming year. This week, Brownlee gets access to the Oppo Find X3 Pro smartphone, which on the surface looks like many of the other flagship phones you can currently get your hands on. This phone, however, has a macro lens with a built-in ring-light around it. Boasting a 60x magnification and f/3.0 aperture lens, it's understandable why the camera maker calls this a "Microlens" rather than a macro.

Brownlee proceeds to show this particular lens in action, and we are shown a gallery of images that he has taken with the phone. I must say the results are impressive. I have talked before about the benefits of trying to see the world through different eyes, and a camera like this would help with that.

The video contains a full in-depth review of many of the other features the phone has and is well worth a watch in its entirety. For those short on time, the second half of the video is where all the microscope action happens. Brownlee concludes by saying that although having a microscope in a smartphone is a bit of a gimmick, it's a very good gimmick executed well. When you compare what Oppo has done with other manufacturers, their attempt at macro is light-years ahead.

What do you think of this "Microlens"? Would you use such a feature? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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3 Comments

Lee Huberts's picture

I think that this is just a technical demonstration rather than a feauture someone is going to use everyday on thier phone

Richard Jacob's picture

If you are into nature and taking pictures of small critters and details of plants and fungi then you could be using this on a daily basis. That's a small market but not entirely insignificant. If I am a guide on an organized walk or just out and about I will use my cell phone to take pictures of what I find rather than my DSLR. As they say the best camera is the one you have with you.

Never Mind's picture

Short answer: buzzword and pure marketing. Please do not advertise them saying it "boasts" 60x magnification. Well, unless they paid you to say that. Because it's not true:

60 times *what*?

a) I doubt it's a 60:1 macro, since the magnification would be much much larger than those samples, especially with the tiny sensor size. So this "magnification" is not measured in physical units on sensor.

b) If measured in pixels/mm? I doubt so too since since neither mm or um seem to make sense.

c) What your eyes see versus the image on the screen of this phone? At what zoom level? Because those 3Mpx won't cover the full screen when displayed at 1:1. But when you fill the screen each pixel will be a (possibly filtered) square block.

You claim it's "Understandable" that it's called a microlens instead of a macro??? No, it's not understandable. You get even better details from 1:1-5:1 macros on FF dslr. How can this be 60:1? Did you actually believe that those samples are magnified even 1:1? Because they are not (check the sensor size)

So please check facts before unknowingly or knowingly lying to readers.