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The world’s first phone camera with 10x optical zoom will launch in a few months

Published Dec 20th, 2019 12:24PM EST
Huawei P40 Pro Specs
Image: JEROME FAVRE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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Whether it’s the latest iPhone, Galaxy S, Pixel, or Huawei phone, the camera is a phone’s most important feature because it’s one of the most useful functions to have in one’s pocket. Unsurprisingly, smartphone makers aren’t done upgrading it, and we’re already getting more and more reports about the new camera features coming to phones next year. The Galaxy S11 has been the star of rumors and leaks so far, with recent stories saying the phone will have a primary 108-megapixel camera capable of binding nine pixels into one to create gorgeous 12-megapixel images. That’s not everything, however. A secondary camera of the periscope variety will bring enhanced zoom to the Galaxy S series. But Samsung won’t have the best optical zoom out there, as it turns out. Instead, it’ll be a different mobile device that will deliver 10x optical zoom, a first for the industry.

Ming-Chi Kuo, a TF International Securities analyst who usually posts predictions about the future iPhones, said in a new research note (via MacRumors) that the Huawei P40 Pro will feature a redesigned periscope lens with incredible 10x optical zoom.

Oppo is also working on a 10x zoom phone, although it’s unclear when that device will launch. The P40 Pro, meanwhile, will be unveiled in March, as Huawei confirmed a few days ago, and it will feature a never-before-seen design. Renders that emerged a few days later revealed that the display might have four curved edges, including the top and bottom ones. The phones are also expected to feature multi-lens camera modules and one of them will likely be a periscope cam, considering that the P30 Pro first introduced the technology.

Separately, Samsung leaker Ice Universe posted on Twitter a short note detailing the capabilities of the periscope lenses that Samsung and Huawei will use next year. We’re looking at a 48-megapixel lens capable of 5x zoom for the Galaxy S11, while the P40 Pro will have a 16-megapixel lens that will support 10x zoom.

Kuo also said in his note that enhanced optical zoom will extend to more high-end phones next year, without specifying other devices. The iPhone 11 series offers 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom. The better the optical zoom, however, the better the quality of photos and videos captured while zoomed in. It’s unclear whether Apple will go past 2x optical zoom next year, or whether the company will use a periscope lens of its own inside its upcoming iPhone 12 handsets.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.