Did you know that Samsung has been making phones with optical zoom cameras since 2004?

Did you know that Samsung has been making phones with optical zoom cameras since 2004?
At CES 2015, Asus made headlines with the announcement of its two latest phones – the Asus ZenFone 2 and the Asus ZenFone Zoom. What's special about the latter is that its 13MP main camera features 3x optical zoom. In other words, you can get up to 3 times "closer" to your subject without doing so degrading the image's quality (much). Pretty cool, right?

Alas, optical zoom is something we very rarely see on a phone's specs sheet. It's just too big of a trade-off as its inclusion requires the use of big, bulky optics. Nevertheless, there's a company who has been making phones with optical zoom cameras since 2004. That's Samsung.

The Samsung SPH-S2300

The Samsung SPH-S2300

Before we dwell any further, we must note that Samsung wasn't the first to launch a phone with a camera offering optical zoom. Sharp launched the V602SH flip phone, with its 2x zoom lens, in June of 2004. But Samsung's offering, the SPH-S2300, came only a month later. As a matter of fact, the camera on Samsung's phone was far superior as it had a higher resolution of 3.2 megapixels and could zoom at up to 3x. Also, the snapper had auto-focus, an adjustable xenon flash, some manual controls, and could go up to sensitivities of ISO 400.

Now, if you're wondering why you've never heard about the Samsung SPH-S2300, that's because it launched solely on the Korean market. So did its successor, the Samsung SPH-V7800, which packed a 5.2MP camera and an identical 3x optical zoom lens. Also, it was less bulky and much easier to use as a phone, whereas the S2300's shape and button arrangement made it frustrating for one to use its phone capabilities.

Unsurprisingly, Samsung did not stop there and launched several more zoom-capable cameraphones over the following years. The Samsung SCH-V770 came out in 2005 and had a 7MP camera with 3x optical zoom. The Samsung SCH-B600, which was released in 2006, had an even more generous 10MP camera sensor with the same 3x optical zoom capabilities. Then the Samsung SCH-W880, also known as the AMOLED 12M, reached the 12MP milestone in 2009. It stood out with its 3x optical zoom lens, dedicated camera shutter button and controls, and a fair amount of manual settings.

So all in all, cameraphones with optical zoom may seem like a fairly recent contraption, but they're actually nothing new. Samsung has been making them for over a decade, and they keep on getting better and better. Have you ever owned one, or would you if given the chance? Let us know in the comments!


references: DCViews, Esato forums

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11 Comments

1. The_Godfather

Posts: 196; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

YES....

3. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

Well optical zoom is being made as well by Nokia and Sony Ericsson before Samsung did.

6. iushnt

Posts: 3066; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

Link?

10. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

9. Sealblaighter

Posts: 424; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Nope. Samsung made mobile phones with optical zoom before Nokia or SE. Anyway SE was always behind Samsung.

2. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2260; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

zenfone 2 is better,...sammy.

4. muhsen

Posts: 281; Member since: Jun 07, 2012

ehm ehm...where's the phone that came from the undisputed mobile imaging leader? The N93 and then the N93i !!!!!! I understand that samsung was the one who first introduced optical zoom on phones but as u said it was for Korea only until the samsung G800 and G810, which u also weirdly ignored (and in a very quirky weird form factor). The first one available worldwide in a not-weird or unusable mobile body was the N93 with its innovative flip-swivel-camcorder formfactor and it was what brought the media attention to Optical Zoom in the first place. I don't understand how u ignored this (not to mention ignoring the G800 and G810 from samsung as well). of course, credit is where it is due but simply giving the whole credit to phones that weren't available to most of the world and ignoring the one that brought optical zoom to mass market and in a proper way is just like saying the mobile touch revolution was started by samsung not apple with the iphone just because samsung was the first to produce touchscreen phones. Ignoring the most important Optical zoom equipped device (the n93) and the 2nd most important one, which is from Samsung ( the G810, which is coincidentally a symbian device like the n93) makes this article really flawed. Some research before writing articles would be abit useful, wouldn't it ?.

7. pegasso

Posts: 285; Member since: Nov 27, 2011

i remember Samsung G810, my friend had one. It was a nice phone.

11. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

I had the N93 eheheehhehe the look on my friends faces, they were soooo amazed^^ btw, sharp was the first one. Sammy and all others came right after them = http://www.gsmarena.com/the_first_optical_zoom_camera_phone-news-43.php

5. shamrock

Posts: 75; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

well said mate... it's PA, what do you expect? can't blame them for not doing their research. That's what we're here for, right?

8. techsavvy.jaz

Posts: 163; Member since: Feb 07, 2012

I had the Samsung G810 with 3x optical zoom, the camera was great even without it, listening to music on that device was better even compared to the latest flagships (well, most of them), had a good display, overall was a very good device, and deserves a mention here along with the N93, like someone said here.

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