this new lens will finally allow real zooms on smartphones

Ahead of CES in Las Vegas, LG Innotek unveiled a photo module for smartphones allowing you to switch from a x4 to x9 zoom. The supplier could soon equip smartphones from several manufacturers.

The photo module of the iPhone 14 Pro Max for illustration // Source: Anthony Wonner – Frandroid

In the same way as processors, screens or photo sensors, smartphone manufacturers go through suppliers to integrate the photo lenses offered on the back of their smartphones. While the main players for sensors are Sony, Samsung or Omnivision, there is a greater diversity of suppliers for optics, such as Cowell Optics, Sunny Optical Technology or… LG Innotek, a subsidiary of the Korean giant.

As reported by the American site The Verge, LG Innotek is also preparing to announce a new objective for the less interesting on the occasion of the CES in Las Vegas which will open its doors on January 5th. We are not used to Frandroid to go around the news in terms of smartphone lenses, but the module presented by the firm is particularly atypical in that it will allow a sliding optical zoom.

Concretely, the overwhelming majority of smartphones are equipped with fixed focal length lenses, that is to say that the lenses are immobile within the optics. It is of course possible to “zoom”, but this is done in stages. Thus, on a smartphone like the iPhone 14 Pro, we are actually entitled to three cameras, each with a fixed focal length equivalent to 13, 24 or 77 mm. If it is possible to go through intermediate focal lengths, this is necessarily done via a hybrid zoom, using both a second sensor, but also a digital enlargement of the image.

A lens allowing you to go from x4 zoom to x9 zoom

The photo module presented by LG Innotek precisely meets this need. In detail, the manufacturer indicates that it can achieve a sliding zoom from x4 to x9 with this lens. Concretely, starting from a 25 mm equivalent wide-angle main lens, the LG Innotek optical zoom could make it possible to reach all focal lengths between 100 and 225 mm. However, we do not know what the focal aperture – and therefore the brightness – offered by this lens will be on all of these magnification values.

The optical zoom module designed by LG Innotek
The optical zoom module designed by LG Innotek // Source: LG Innotek

Remember also that LG is not the only supplier to work on a real sliding optical zoom on smartphones. Sony has integrated a similar module on its Xperia 1 IV. This allows you to go from a focal length of 85 to 125 mm, but at the expense of brightness with an aperture of f / 2.3 to f / 2.8 and with a small sensor. It is also unknown for which sensor size the LG photo module was designed.

Above all, the main advantage of the photo module developed by LG Innotek is that it can be offered to all manufacturers of smartphones on the market. Unlike that of Sony, developed in-house for its own devices, the LG module can also be integrated into smartphones from Oppo, Xiaomi, Samsung or Apple – already a customer of LG Innotek. It remains to be seen whether the manufacturers will seize it in the coming months.

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