Zoom for mobile cameras: types and evolution

Zoom for mobile cameras: types and evolution


It is often said that smartphones have compact cannibalized cameras. If there is a detail that characterizes it, it is your goal to unfold when it is activated.

A goal in which we have an optical zoom, but how this type of zoom was implemented on mobile devices? Let's see it!

What types of zoom are there?

When we talk about zoom, there are two types, digital and optical . Without going too deep, both do the same, however, a quite different result is obtained.


The digital zoom, which we usually find on mobile devices, is actually not a zoom. When you use it, the camera takes a picture at normal size and then cuts it to "zoom in".

What we get after all is an enlarged crop to get the picture. Therefore, using this type of zoom is not recommended, since loses image quality in the process.

If we talk about optical zoom, some mobile devices incorporate, we have a system that has no loss of quality in the image. Since the zoom process is through the movement of the lens inside the lens .

Being a flare through the lens of the lens, we get an image in the original resolution of the camera without any clipping. The zoom effect is like taking a magnifying glass away and zooming in or out of an object.

The difference between both types of zoom is above all in the quality of the image obtained. Obtaining a loss of detail quite remarkable in the case of using digital zoom.

Evolution of zooming on mobile devices

Speaking exclusively of mobile devices, we found different ways to zoom in photo cameras. From the use of digital zoom, to optics, through modules that we add to our smartphone.

High resolution digital zoom

This is a variation of the digital zoom that we generally know as it is based on the use of high resolution images. In the case of Nokia, it has placed a 41-megapixel sensor – 38 usable megapixels – getting photos of 7728 × 4254 pixels.

When making use of a high resolution image, there was less loss of detail when zooming or trimming. The idea of ​​Nokia was good but did not reach the level obtained using an optical zoom.

The representatives of this type of zoom are Nokia 808 Pureview in 2012 and a year later in 2013, the Nokia 1020 . Both used a 41-megapixel camera.

Integrated optical zoom in the device

In this case, we talked about the most traditional zoom type and the best results. A series of lenses thanks to which we can increase what we want to highlight when taking a photo.

Generally comes with tagline x2, x3, etc … This means the zoom level that is achieved, double, triple and so according to the numbering. The larger the figure, the further we get an image increasing.

The disadvantage of using this type of zoom on mobile devices is in the space required. Since they are lenses that vary their position, they are generally more "large" devices than if they were using digital zoom.

The first optical zoom device was Vodafone Sharp V602SH in 2004. Two years later, Nokia invaded the powerful Nokia N93 .

If we talk about smartphones as we know them today, Samsung did the honors back in 2013 with its Galaxy S4 Zoom . In 2015, it would be Asus who would make a new attempt at the stylized Zenfone Zoom .

Optical zoom using an addon

An alternative for those who need an optical zoom, without damaging the design of the device. Sony first and Motorola then made addons or modules attached to the device.

Thanks to this system, we enjoy a manageable design in our hands and pockets. Without having to dispense with the possibility of having an optical zoom when we need it.

We commented that Sony was a pioneer in making an optical zoom as a complement, in fact, there were several versions of this device. The QX1 QX1 .

Most recently, Motorola surprised us with Moto Mods, devices that were connected to Moto Z. Among them was the Moto True Zoom a camera with optical zoom that did not come anything and nothing less than signed by Hasselblad.

Zoom using two lenses from different foci

The latest foray into the terrain of zooms on mobile devices. Incorporate two lenses with a different focal length for the Smartphone – a wide angle and a telephoto -, so switching between one and the other reaches the long awaited zoom effect.

 Dual lens system on OnePlus 5 "width =" 750 "height =" 422 "/> </p>
<p> Through the use of algorithms, a continuous zoom is achieved at the transition between the two lenses. Getting the effect of having an optical zoom on a small device. </p>
<p> The year 2016 was the boom of devices with dual cameras. Of all of them, those who used two focal focus lenses to zoom were the <strong> iPhone 7 Plus, </strong> <strong> <strong> <strong> <strong> <strong> One Plus 5 <strong> Xiaomi Mi 6 </strong> and <strong> Asus Zenfone 4 </strong>. </p>
<p> <strong> The future of zooming in on smartphones </strong> </p>
<p> What will be next? Well, apparently we expect <strong> devices with a "slim" design that has an optical zoom </strong>. Maybe you're thinking about the kind of magic you're working on, but it's simpler than it sounds. </p>
<p> Oppo Optical Zoom "width =" 750 "height =" 311 "/> </p>
<p> It is based on a system of <strong> lenses arranged horizontally </strong> therefore there is no need to make the device "fatter" to accommodate the lenses and their movements as they enlarge. </p>
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A concept we saw in the last MWC in Barcelona, ​​in which Oppo presented a device called Oppo 5X . What is the spearhead of this smartphone zoom deployment.


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