In 2019 optical zoom comes to smartphones
Thanks to the telescope technology, a 10x optical zoom becomes possible and this from this year.
In fact the use of a telescopic lens is not something really new. This principle has already been used on a camera produced by Minolta (since bought by Sony) under the name of Dimage X.
Despite the advantage of the compactness it offered, the camera has not been very successful because of a lower image quality than more conventional devices.
But now the technique has been greatly improved, especially by the company Corephotonics who worked with Oppo to implement the principle in a smartphone. It has been reported that this company would have been bought by Samsung, but nothing official.
The smartphone version of the telescopic lens looks like this:
The Oppo version uses a third sensor and combines the views of the three sensors to allow zooming.
A demonstration of a prototype was given in front of a crowd of journalists who were able to note that this time the enlarged image had a perfect sharpness, equivalent to that of a camera lens.
This implementation seems very promising. The smartphone is not much thicker than another and the image has nothing to do with what gives a digital zoom. Availability to the public is planned for the second half of 2019.
This is a new blow for camera manufacturers. This does not mean that they are no longer relevant. Compact cameras offer a 30x zoom, a lot higher than that of Oppo. And the size of the sensor remains a handicap in low light where mirrorless are still unavoidable. But if Pixel's Night Sight technology combines with telescopic zoom on a smartphone, it becomes more difficult for manufacturers to justify the exorbitant cost of a 250mm lens, a 10x magnification.
See also : Which hybrid camera to buy?