LG has announced a new camera module that promises to deliver true optical, telephoto zoom while still reducing the size of the camera bump.
The new LG Innotek module includes a 4-9x optical zoom pericope-style lens with the ability to maintain image quality throughout that zoom range.
“The main advantage of this product is that optical zoom camera filming is possible in all magnifications freely in the sections of 4-9 times with one module,” LG says in its press release ahead of CES 2023 in January.
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As this all happens within a single module, LG says, it’s possible to reduce the size of the camera bump and potentially streamline smartphone design for manufacturers adopting the LG Innotek design.
This would be a significant change for mainstream smartphones, given they’ve genuinely used a hybrid-style zoom, combining digital and optical. Digital zoom, of course, results in image degradation along the way as it just magnifies the size of the image. Optical zoom doesn’t suffer from that problem, but fitting that tech inside of smartphones has been problematic – especially with the same module.
LG adds: “Existing ‘fixed zoom module’ enables optical zoom camera filming only in the specific magnification, and digital zoom is applied to other magnification sections.
“For example, both the 4-time and 9-time fixed zoom modules must be mounted for filming in high-definition in the two magnifications of 4 times and 9 times. For the smartphone manufacturers, less modules will result in providing more space inside the phone, and in enhancing the battery efficiency.”
It remains to be seen which phone manufacturers will be lining up to adopt the module. However, it’s been optimised to work well with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that’ll be powering a host of top Android phones in 2023.
However, LG Innotek is also expected to be a major supplier for the iPhone in years to come, so we might see the iPhone finally get its periscope lens in 2023.