The iPhone 15 is anticipated to be Apple’s first phone with extended optical zoom, achieved using Periscope technology. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S23 Ultra looks set to steal the show by delivering the same optical zoom implementation reserved for Apple’s next flagship.
Although LG were quick to make the announcement, it would appear that Samsung managed to get the most valuable contracts, with the South Koreans developing their own optical zoom implementation based on flat lenses (which slide over each other without the need for extra space to achieve the magnification effect), the resulting product being so good that it has been selected for both the Galaxy S23 Ultra and rival iPhone 15.
Compared to conventional solutions, periscope technology deploys the camera lens horizontally, widening the optical zoom range available on upcoming iPhone models. Instead of cramming the lens on top of the optical sensor, periscope cameras avoid space constraints by using a prism lens to reflect light at a 90° angle. Arranged along the longitudinal axis of the casing, the lenses responsible for focusing the image can move without being constrained by the thickness of the phone.
With this technology, Apple could far exceed the optical zoom range available with the iPhone 13 series, limited to 3x on the Pro Max model. For example, the Galaxy S22 Ultra raises the optical zoom level from 3x in telephoto mode to 10x using the camera equipped with periscope lenses.