Chinese goliaths such as Huawei and OPPO brandished the periscope style optical zoom technology. The South-Korean giant joins the club with its own 5x Optical Zoom. Samsung Electro-Mechanics engineered this zoom module. It is supposedly undergoing mass production hinting at an imminent availability within phones.

Samsung 5x Optical Zoom: How it works?

Samsung implements the same periscope-style arrangement equipping the Huawei P30 Pro (review) and OPPO Reno 10X Zoom to deliver the zoom.

Oppo 10x Zoom
Oppo 10x Zoom pictorial representation

Unlike digital zoom, optical zoom requires a higher focal length between the lens and the sensor. Here comes a problem. It is tough to house proper optical zoom without a wider chassis. So, by this cutting edge solution, the lens is followed by a 90-degree angular prism that directs the light to a vertically positioned camera sensor. Additionally, the OIS unit is placed on the other end for it to work even when the zoom is maxed out.

Samsung 5X Optical Zoom

Samsung 5x optical zoom sensor is 5mm thick and is slimmer than the 2x optical sensors with 6mm thickness. This means the camera setup wouldn’t protrude much from the device.

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Which device would pack the new zoom technology?

Samsung 5x optical zoom
Note 10 Creator’s creation, Source: Kelly

Samsung hasn’t made any announcement on which device would ship with this new piece of tech. The rumor mill points towards the upcoming Note 10, which could flaunt a vertical camera setup. However, we won’t be sure of the same as the recent 64MP sensor would also skip the S-pen wielding phone.

The company has lately utilized the mid-range A series as the testing ground. So, we could expect a Galaxy A phone too to carry the new sensors and zoom module.

Samsung 5x Optical Zoom: Why is it important?

OPPO Reno is out with a 10x hybrid optical zoom capability. Huawei trumps this with its P30 Pro that features 5x optical, 10x lossless and beyond that up to 50x digital zoom. This shows the camera prowess in capturing details, which enables a decent output at such a magnified range.


Samsung 5x Optical Zoom
Sample shots showing the real-life performance of 2x and 5x zoom modes

Samsung flagships bear reliable cameras which do stand neck to neck with the competition. However, as an industry leader, the company still lags behind the Huawei and OPPO, when it comes to innovation in the imaging division.

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This new 5x optical zoom and the recent announcement of a 64MP GW1 sensor and camera-centric Exynos 9609 mobile chipset are moves in the right direction. When players like Samsung and Apple introduces or reimagines a technology, it gets wider adoption. The thinner zoom module would favor the competitors too.  That said, its the companies in the east that’s pushing the limits and forcing the market to innovate.


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