LG’s camera module promises 4x-9x optical zoom with no bump, Qualcomm collaboration
(Pocket-lint) – LG Innotek has announced the Optical Telephoto Zoom Camera, which is getting its first reveal at CES 2023.
The new model claims to offer optical zoom for smartphones through a range of focal lengths, from 4x-9x zoom. This is offered, according to LG Innotek, in a module that won’t result in a big bump on the back of your phone.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an attempt at seamless optical zoom in smartphone cameras. It’s also something that Sony has been investigating, with the Xperia 1 IV offering 3.5x-5.2x zoom, using moving lens elements.
The aim is to reduce the number of camera modules needed on the rear of a smartphone. Many phones offering advanced zoom solutions will have a close zoom and a far zoom, allowing two optical zoom lengths, but then using digital zoom in various forms to give other options.
The suggestion from LG is that you’ll get a full range of focal lengths that are all optical, avoiding the image degradation that comes from digital zoom cropping, meaning higher quality results and more options for users.
This is all well and good, but we all know that modern smartphone cameras are as much about the software as they are about the hardware. LG Innotek says that it’s actively working with Qualcomm to ensure support for the module in Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
That’s exciting news, because it suggests that this camera module could find its way into a 2023 smartphone. Qualcomm’s input is described by LG Innotek as ensuring there’s smooth software experience – and that’s going to be important if you’re looking at the visual rendering of this moving lens on the display.
Ultimately, it needs to feel like it’s part of a camera system and that’s where the software experience will become much more important.
In an attempt to keep those images nice and stable, the new module integrates optical image stabilisation.
The question beyond here is whether we’ll actually see this in a phone – and we’d certainly be excited to see its implementation.
There’s still time to pick up a great gift from the Google Store.
Writing by Chris Hall.
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