The periscope zoom camera in the new Huawei P30 Pro (or the Oppo Reno) blows our mind. It feels like magic to have this power in a phone, and its mechanism is so simple that you have to wonder how the hell nobody came up with this before.
As this P30 Pro tear-down video by YouTuber JerryRigEverything shows, the periscope that allows this magic on Huawei's camera phone is “just” an ingenious optical array of prisms and lenses.
The periscope optical zoom uses an array of lenses that runs parallel to the phone’s backplane. A prism on the phone’s back redirects the light to this array, which zooms the image that finally gets to the sensor.
The array has optical mechanical stabilization, which is an absolute must for these type of zooms. The zoom works in both video mode and still photo mode.
MORE: Seeing the Huawei P30 Pro 50x Zoom In Action Is Really Impressive
If you wanted to have this lens array in a traditional camera sensor setup, your phone will have a giant protuberance on the back.
But thanks to the prism trick, you only bend the light in the direction of the lens array. This optical mechanism can actually deliver an amazing 50x zoom in combination with artificial intelligence-powered digital zoom.
Aside from the amazing zoom, the Huawei’s camera performance is impressive. With a 40-megapixel sensor with a top 409,600 ISO; a 20-MP wultra-wide-angle lens; and a Time-of-Flight sensor that delivers great-looking portraits with a variable bokeh effect, the phone even beats the Pixel 3 by a far margin.