Most smartphone makers have pulled out of the megapixel race in order to explore other ways to advance mobile camera technology. The current top trend in mobile photography involves the use of dual rear cameras which provides a number of benefits.

Unfortunately, the ever-thinning smartphone chassis hasn’t left much internal real estate for advanced camera hardware. As such, handset manufacturers have had to resort to ugly camera bumps to physically accommodate optical components but a new approach from Chinese electronics maker Oppo could lead to the extinction of the eyesore.

Oppo’s new camera system, said to be inspired by submarine periscopes, is on display at Mobile World Congress this week.

The unique dual-lens system turns one of the lens arrays sideways 90-degrees, thus positioning it horizontally across the width of a device. Through the use of a prism, light gets diverted to this angled telephoto lens which Oppo claims delivers an unprecedented level of clarity at any zoom level.

There’s also a clever two-part optical image stabilization system that helps keep things steady when zoomed in.

The technology was licensed from Israeli startup Corephotonics and has been undergoing fine-tuning at Oppo for more than a year. The result is a module that measures just 5.7mm thick and offers a 5x lossless zoom. Oppo has 50 patents on the camera tech, we’re told.

No word yet on which devices will be the first to adopt the new technology or when we can expect them to arrive.

Images courtesy TechCrunch