Here's how an iPhone 7 Pro optical zoom would work (Apple patent)

Way back in 2005, when the tiny Konica Minolta DiMAGE Xg point-and-shoot was all the rage (we know as we had one), it featured optical zoom in an impossibly compact body with no protruding lens. How did the camera maker do it? Well, it employed a periscope-style system that was housed inside the camera, and an ingenious kit of refraction lenses brought light to the sensor all the while the so-called "folded optics" were moving up and down the camera's body to achieve the equivalent of 3x optical zoom in a totally flat and pocketable camera chassis...
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34 Comments

23. Macready

Posts: 1813; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

Mirrors barely lose any visible light, unless purposely made (partially) semi transparent, like seen in DSLR's. Cheap aluminium mirrors reflect 85-90%, which translates to a worst case scenario of less than a quarter of a stop to about one seventh of a stop light loss. For reference, you need hawk eyes to see 1/3 EV loss, or 1/3 EV more noise in practical terms. With better materials, a relflectivity of over 95% can be achieved, in other words, 0.07 EV light loss or less... So that's probably the least of your worries. I'd be more worried about the limitations to sensor size (as you mentioned), physical aperture width (also limited by zoom capabilities) and dust, as you will have another flat surface close to the sensor to gather visible dust spots.

32. AlikMalix unregistered

Thanks.

33. NorthernViking

Posts: 40; Member since: Mar 25, 2015

Zenfone Zoom have this already. TIme for Asus to sue Apple.

35. Trakker

Posts: 283; Member since: Feb 11, 2016

This may be smaller than on normal cameras but that isn't enough to warrant a patent acceptance. But not to worry because Apple's own pet judge Lucy Koh will make damn sure they win that patent.
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