Microscope camera on the Oppo Find X3 Pro: how it works and how it looks

One of the highlights of the Oppo Find X3 Pro is a microscope camera that can show details at up to 60x magnification. This begs the question: How is this possible and how good are the recordings actually? We present a mix of nerd knowledge, how-tos and picture riddles.

It is true that I was surprised when I tried the microscope camera on the Oppo Find X3 Pro for the first time. We are already used to macro cameras on mobile phones, but in the field of microscopes we plunge into completely different worlds. If, like me, you are a bit of a photography enthusiast, you may also be interested in the following questions:

  1. How do you take microscope images with the Find X3 Pro?
  2. Micro vs. Macro: How does the microscope camera work?
  3. Microscope camera in the Find X3 Pro: just a gadget?

You can also use the table of contents to jump to the corresponding section if you are not interested in one of the questions. If you have any more questions, I welcome you in the comments. You can also click to take a look at our image contest in the gallery below:

One big advantage of smartphone cameras is that, in most situations, they produce usable images fairly quickly and without extensive adjustments. We’ve got some tips for better smartphone photography for you, but you don’t need a lot of magic with the Oppo Find X3 Pro either. You can control the microscope’s camera in the camera settings. The mobile phone automatically switches to the macro camera at most.

The microscope camera uses a lens without autofocus or manual focus. There is no familiar touch on the screen to focus. Instead, you need to change the distance between the camera and the object in question. You make it a little easier if you put one side of the cell phone on the table or on the floor.

Oppo Find X3 Pro Micro 4

The microscope camera is the large lens on the left in the quad camera module./ © NextPit

Now you have a kind of rocker that not only allows you to easily adjust the distance, but also keeps the phone a bit still at the same time. Now slightly lift the cell phone and push the object towards where you suspect the camera is. With a little bit of alignment, you’re sure to have the object of desire in the picture right away.

Oppo Find X3 Pro Micro 1

It is best to place the mobile phone at an angle on the object. / © NextPit

Now change the camera distance so that it is between 1 and 3 millimeters from the lens. If the image is not clear, you can try tilting the phone a bit. Because if you shoot the small object at a bit of an angle, you’ll see a gradient of sharpness and you won’t have to guess the distance exactly.

Oppo Find X3 Pro Micro 3

Pick up the phone to the left to adjust the distance. / © NextPit

When you touch the shutter button, the image is in the frame. The main discipline is, of course, not to blur the image. You may have a bit more luck with the volume controls; alternatively, you can also activate the recording by touching the screen in the settings. There is no self-timer on the microscope camera.

Oppo Find X3 Pro Micro 2

With a little sensitivity, the recording is already in a can. / © NextPit

When taking microscope images, you can also switch from 30x magnification to 60x magnification. Does the camera have multiple focal lengths? Let’s take a closer look at the technology.

Oppo reveals that the microscope camera offers 30x magnification, has an f/3.0 aperture, and takes pictures through a 3-megapixel sensor. The aforementioned 60x magnification works through digital zoom, which I really wouldn’t recommend for 3-megapixel images.

A classic microscope consists of a light source, a condenser to focus the light, a slide, an objective, and an eyepiece. If you remember from biology class, light shines through the object and is magnified by various lenses and rotated so that it isn’t upside down when you look through it. To focus, you can change the distance between the lens and the object. Of course, this system does not exist in the Find X3 Pro.


The Find X3 Pro is also good for macro photography, but the details are less recognizable. / © NextPit

Although Oppo does not give too much information about the microscope camera, a press photo showed that the lens consists of four lenses. Oppo has now chosen the focal length in such a way that it results in an image scale that corresponds to 30x magnification. A small LED ring, which is placed around the microscope camera, serves as the light source. In addition, you should also use the camera in bright environments.

While microphotography is about enlarging objects, macrophotography is more about depicting subjects to scale. The goal is 1:1 or 1:2 scales, but now 1:4 scale lenses are also sold as macro lenses. However, in the best case, a subject should appear on the sensor as large as it would in real life. However, these requirements of classic photography are no longer as relevant on smartphones. As a general rule, the lenses on the back of cell phones are called macro cameras, which have a shorter close-up limit: objects that are close to them can still be sharp.

Another short digression: over the weekend I talked to my sister about the microscope camera of the Find X3 Pro. She is a PhD student in biology and therefore very familiar with microscopy and the digital possibilities of modern microscopes. She sees the Find X3 Pro as less suitable for professional use. 30x magnification is not enough, because even children’s microscopes offer magnifications up to 150x. The configuration options of the Find X3 Pro are also not extensive enough to be able to work scientifically with the mobile phone.

Although quite practical when working in the field, for example to have microscope photos directly in the mobile phone memory, this can be done more cost-effectively and variably with attachable mobile phone lenses.
Laboratories are often adequately equipped with high-quality integrated microscope cameras to obtain reliable scientific data. A cheaper and less professional alternative, for example for use in student lab internships, are 3D printable “cell phone holders”, which students can use to take pictures directly through the microscope with their cell phone.

What do you think of the images the Find X3 produces? Can you think of scenarios where the camera would be useful or is it just a gimmick?