Oppo Find X7 Ultra first impressions

For the love of photography

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Smartphone brands have long used the crutch of the camera to lure unassuming consumers into believing they could bag the next Lucie. But Oppo is no rookie at collabs. With a history of partnering with brands such as FC Barcelona, Lamborghini and more recently, Hasselblad, this phone maker has come of age when it comes to honing its photography pipeline.

I was ushered into their Shenzen HQ, situated on a sufficiently high floor in one of the most iconic buildings to dominate the South China skyline. Without squandering away precious time on visitor registration, the Indian media squad was whisked straight to Oppo’s swanky holding area, which also served as a museum, taking us back on memory lane. From early Oppo products which had their beginnings in audio. Headphones, MP3 players, Blu-ray players all came before their foray into smartphones and the exhibit area charted a neat timeline on various screens.


But of course, we were there for a reason and that reason was special enough to clear multiple immigration officers and an 8-hour journey. The Find X7 Ultra. A smartphone that’s more of a camera than a phone, at least in the brochure. With a fresh design that doesn’t try to conceal its multiple lenses, the two-tone back of the phone looks classy with a textured colour finish on the lower half and a gloss white for the top half, dominated by a massive circular camera module centrally mounted. An array of quad 50MP cameras would require ample real estate, let alone a pair of periscope lenses designed to offer the most versatile focal length range.

Tuned by Swedish photography legend Hasselblad for its colour science, the star of the show isn’t just one thing here. Sure, the Sony LYT-900 1in sensor is a big draw, but Oppo hasn’t ignored the virtues of the camera “system” as opposed to just one headlining feature. So instead of the rare one periscope zoom lens, the engineers went for complete overkill and packed in two periscope lenses, equivalent to 65mm and 135mm. Shoehorning this level of hardware in a smartphone chassis is no mean feat as we all know, but to wedge all the parts in and still make it water and dust-resistant, a 5000mAh battery and a gorgeous 6.8in Dolby Vision HDR capable display is some serious flex. Mind you, it also looks like one of the most premium phones out there and certainly much more than what its asking price would be if it were to be launched in the Indian market.

Oppo Intelligent Imaging Labs

That’s right, as great as the hardware is on the Find X7 Ultra, Oppo is opting out of bringing it to our shores for this generation. Insiders claim that the next-gen Ultra could make it to India though and this experience is to get us acclimatised to what the brand is capable of. Well, colour me smitten. Speaking of colour though, this is where a big part of the Find X7 Ultra magic lies. As we discovered during a day out visiting the factory in Dongguan and gaining access to the Intelligent  Imaging Lab, Oppo is taking its relationship with Hasselblad very seriously and the investments they’ve made to reap its benefits can be seen. New models from the Find X, Find N and Reno series are put through their paces in this facility during their testing phase and during this process, a mind-boggling 75000 photos will be taken for analysis by the engineering team. This thorough job is accomplished by four robots combing through 16 lifelike scenes and taking photographs from 500 different points mapped out for them. These robots may also continue taking shots beyond this number and upload them to Oppo imaging servers in real-time for engineers back in the lab to analyse. The whole process allows the Oppo imaging engineers to learn how the camera reacts to indoor and outdoor lighting, natural or incandescent and they’re also adding more scenes like live broadcast and snowy situations to gather more data on varied use case scenarios.


Back to the Find X7 Ultra, it’s easy to appreciate its natural colour palette across the different lenses and its ability to capture details even from a distance of up to 50mts. Even portraits maintain their bokeh and accurate segmentation up to 9mts away, allowing you to capture moods without springing a surprise on them and spoiling the expression. The Hasselblad contribution is visible in the tonality of the images, which aim to capture the classic essence of their high-end full-frame cameras. Switch to Master Mode and this is even more obvious with images taking on a more aggressive vignette and sharpness to emulate the X2D 100C medium format mirrorless camera that costs ten times the Find X7 Ultra!

Consistency across the four different lenses is what Oppo claims it has worked on and certainly, between 0.5x, 1x and 2x there is little to no variation in colour temperature, white balance and colour fidelity, but between the sensor-cropped 2x and 3x is where you will find a shift in noise levels, EV and colour balance. It’s not problematic for stills, but if you plan to do a slow pan/zoom-in video, you’ll realise it’s not the same as the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Having said that, the footage that the Find X7 Ultra does capture does possess more detail and less noise, especially in low-light conditions.

The interplay between highlights and shadows is beautifully balanced and it preserves this relationship even in low-light shots captured on the 6x periscope lens. Options for the Master mode include shooting in JPG, RAW or RAW MAX and it lets you reap the joys of computational AI processing even in RAW MAX. Certified by Adobe, if you plan to go big on a professional monitor and use Lightroom for edits, this also offers a much bigger canvas to work with along with a 16-bit dynamic range and all the metadata you need.

All things considered, what makes the Find X7 Ultra the best camera phone for me is the knowledge that regardless of the lens I use or the focal length, the result would be stunningly dreamy. Not the most accurate always, but certainly always full of expression. The Master filters are great at evoking “mood” out of seemingly ordinary images, but if you know your angles and compositions, the results are positively jaw-dropping in detail, colour accuracy and creamy bokeh, natural or otherwise. Dropping to f1.4 and going up to f16, it provides enough range to satisfy every kind of creativity. The Hasselblad contribution also goes down to the coating on the lens that defines the kind of bokeh shape it generates and it is by far the most natural and organic-looking bokeh of any phone out there. Oppo’s Hypertone aims to keep parameters like HDR effect, sharpness, skin smoothening etc in check and it works like a charm, never tripping into Samsung territory of exaggerated reds and yellows.

The only real chinks in its armour are the shift in balance while dialling through lenses during video mode and the AI eraser in the native photo edit app. The Samsung S24 Ultra smokes it in the detection of objects and filling the blank spaces with relevant material. Otherwise, all signs lead to making it a colossal achievement in a complete camera system.

Discounting a handful of fellow phone photography enthusiasts who would like to consider themselves pro photographers with a smartphone in their pockets, most people will still buy the Find X7 Ultra as a phone first. And here too, the numbers add up to typical “Ultra” levels of performance. Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, 16GB RAM, up to 1TB storage, QHD+ display with 1600nits, 120Hz LTPO, 100W SuperVooc wired charging, 50W wireless charging, WiFi7 and an adequate 5000mAh battery round up the key specs and aren’t they delish? There’s nothing more that one could wish for in comparison to the other flagships really, but when it comes to experience, you will have to work your way around typical Chinese phone bloatware. Thankfully, a lot of it can be uninstalled and the remnants can be tucked away in a folder far, far away.

During our excursions to various sights and facilities, everyone in the group was clicking away aimlessly with their own review units of the Find X7 Ultra and the Oppo Share feature ensured no one missed AirDrop to exchange the bucketload of pics back and forth with each other. It even proved to be quicker than Apple’s wireless sharing protocol! The screen looked fantastic and all the pictures viewed either on our resident Mac Studio Display or on the phone’s screen itself looked identical in terms of colour balance and brightness, proving its solid credentials.


So while this masterclass of a phone won’t be seen in anyone’s hands or pockets in India, it did prove that Oppo is serious about photography and is ready to take on the current crowd favourites. By the time the next-gen models roll into town, Oppo would’ve done its bit by introducing trickle-down technology from the Find X7 Ultra into more affordable devices from the Find N and Reno series, which are sold in India. Unless Apple and Samsung do something radical with their 2024 flagships, this may well be the phone to pry out of my hands for the rest of the year.