Mad zoom capabilities with the periscope camera on a smartphone

by George Lovell | | 0 comments

Taken on a mobile phone. Tell me this isn't absolutely wild.

What is a periscope camera?

It's a technology that will aid in unleashing your inner spy, reading signs from a mile away, inspecting craters on the moon, or just being a bit of a nosey neighbour.

More and more smartphones are coming equipped with a periscope zoom lens. This lens utilises a prism mirror system to extend its focal length - capturing light with an array of 90-degree lenses and sensors.

This short video from Samsung gives a cool visual depiction of how the prisms are utilised in conjunction with autofocus support to provide a stable image.

A standard telephoto lens camera offers 2-3x optical zoom. A periscope lens typically offers 5-10x optical zoom, with minimal loss in resolution. When combined with digital zoom, we create an even greater "hybrid zoom".

Whilst a typical zoom lens will protrude out from a device, a periscope lens can fit quite neatly into a compact space.

The periscope camera was first popularized by the Huawei P30 Pro, which was released in 2019, which could take photos at 50x magnification. Many other manufacturers followed suit, introducing periscope cameras to their flagship devices.

If you are lucky enough to own a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, then you'll know just how impressive the camera is - with 10x optical zoom and 30x digital zoom, you can capture a near-lossless image from far away - like the one pictured here.

Apple are still working on it, and it's suggested that the iPhone 15 Pro (2023) will have a periscope lens. This will be the final piece that is currently lacking in the iPhone's otherwise excellent camera setup. There's no rush to get it out this year though. How many consecutive years can Apple convince people that they need to purchase their new product using the slogan: "Our Best Camera Yet"? Fans will go crazy when Apple finally invent this revolutionary technology.

A telescope that fits in your pocket. What a time to be alive.

Thanks for reading!

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