A telephoto module with actual moving optics to cover a 4–9x range has been presented by the manufacturer of camera componentry; digital zoom is not necessary.
Even though LG no longer manufactures smartphones, LG Innotek, a significant producer of mobile camera components, is still operating. At CES 2023, it will unveil a new telephoto zoom camera module with genuine, continuous optical zoom. In order to accelerate the deployment of its innovative technology alongside the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in upcoming top Android phones, the business is collaborating with Qualcomm.
While most lengthy smartphone cameras employ digital zoom to extend beyond their original focal length, which degrades image quality, LG's design uses moving lenses, which are similar to traditional DSLR camera lenses and preserve image clarity. In order to reduce space overall, this camera module also employs a folded-optic design, sometimes known as a periscope lens. A lens with a 4–9x range and real optical zoom is the end product.
Oppo is also developing a smartphone with genuine optical zoom, although Sony is currently the only big manufacturer to do so. The new telephoto module LG is displaying may span an equivalent range from 100mm to more than 200mm, which is quite a bit longer than the 3.5-5.2x lens on Sony's Xperia 1 IV, which is comparable to 85-125mm. In my testing, the Xperia 1 IV's smaller zoom range significantly reduced the effectiveness of the zoom lens, and participants in MKBHD's yearly blind smartphone camera test concurred that Sony's image quality lags barely below the competition.
If you want to capture images at 200mm, optical stabilization, which is a requirement, is also a part of this new LG design. The module moves the lens elements for zooming using a tiny, incredibly precise actuator that, according to the manufacturer, can move in 1 m increments. LG also notes that by using its system, phone makers would be able to place fewer total lenses on the back of their products. In order to save space and electricity, this design combines the 4x and 9x lenses instead of using both.
The camera module will help LG Innotek "solidify the global No. 1 position in the smartphone camera module industry," according to a press statement from the firm. It already has a good position, largely because Apple is its biggest client. Although it's unlikely that the iPhone 15 would have a folded-optic telephoto lens, LG appears anxious to integrate its camera technology into a variety of 2023 flagship phones.