How often do you use the camera zoom on your phone?


Smartphones have had "optical" zooming options for a while now, popularized en masse when Apple extolled the virtues of the 2x magnification of the iPhone 7 Plus. These are not done by using a mechanized protruding lens or anything of the sort, but rather two sensors, one of which sports telephoto lens and phone makers are using software to seamlessly combine the capture for better results if the need arises. 

The newly-announced P30 Pro does things a bit differently, raising the "optical" zoom bar to clean 5x, and 10x "lossless" with some hybrid software trickery. Instead of using the thickness of the phone to scootch the regular and telephoto cameras, Huawei employed the "periscope" method, placing the "zoom" camera sensor at a 90-degree angle down the phone’s chassis, allowing it to increase the telephoto distance, hence the magnification rate. 

The pressing question of how to actually bring light to it is solved via a prism that refracts the light entering through the lens and points it towards the sensor further down the pipe. There have been plenty of cameras with that internal "periscope" style magnification with various degrees of success, as usually the prism and lens have to be very precisely manufactured so you don't get soft and blurry shots. The P30 Pro seems to have stricken a good balance and lets you zoom in closer than ever before on a phone with good-looking results. Unless it's very dark out there, that is, as the telephoto camera sensors are smaller and collect less light than the main ones as a rule.

The P20 Pro's 3x telephoto zoom still does the job

The P20 Pro's 3x telephoto zoom still does the job


A clever technology that is nice to have in your phone but how often do people actually use their phones' zooming abilities? While there are plenty of scenarios magnification can come in handy, some users are not even aware they have telephoto cameras inside their handsets, and others don't really care. This is why we wanted to ask you, while manufacturers seem to be pouring resources and equipping their flagships with telephoto cameras for a good while, how often do you actually use that option in your phone's camera app.

How often do you use the telephoto zoom on your phone?

Very often
26.78%
Sometimes
44.17%
Never used it
29.05%

FEATURED VIDEO

26 Comments

1. dnomadic

Posts: 378; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

I find the Telephoto VERY useful. I have Kids that play Sports and this is helpful when Shooting Video. I Would say that I use it about as much as by beloved wide angle. 3 Cams is sufficient to meet my needs on my S10+.

3. alanrock

Posts: 258; Member since: Oct 04, 2018

agree on that... both zoom and wide angle lens are useful.

10. Phullofphil

Posts: 1746; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

I don’t purposly use it all the time but my phone uses it when o operate the camera automatically when I take photos that need jr such is allot.

2. Guseinguliev

Posts: 90; Member since: Mar 04, 2019

The camera in the smartphone for me is not very important.

20. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1504; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

Same here.

4. maherk

Posts: 6702; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Almost always. Whenever I take my kids outdoors I use it, and even in some indoor parks where parents aren't allowed to step inside the dedicated areas for kids, I also find the telephoto lens quite handy.

5. sleepypandaeyes

Posts: 356; Member since: Apr 12, 2015

Never as non of my phones posses optical zoom and I'm unwilling to sacrifice image quality to digital zoom in

6. libra89

Posts: 2251; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I use it sometimes.

7. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Honestly I use telephoto more than wide angle.

23. Youngquenga41

Posts: 63; Member since: Apr 03, 2017

You dont have a phone with wide angle lens, so how would you know how good it is?

8. Poptart2828

Posts: 322; Member since: Jan 23, 2018

Shouldn't the poll have the iPhone 7 included since the author was masterful in injecting apple propaganda within the first sentence of this article. He should have finished it strong with another apple reference on one of its newer offerings. Maybe next time

9. User123456789

Posts: 550; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

I'd rather have a 1/1.5" 27mm wide instead of 1/2.5" 26mm + 1/3.4" 52mm ...

12. ssallen

Posts: 154; Member since: Oct 06, 2017

To be fair, "Never use it" people are probably because optical zoom has always sucked. If a quality zoom came out people probably would use it far more often. Maybe Huawei has solved it.

13. shield

Posts: 814; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

Ultrawide is better for me, i wait on new LG with 48MPx Ultrawide and Main.

14. KingSam

Posts: 1367; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

I've only had a telephoto on iPhone 7 plus and it was meh so I didn't use it as much.

15. ph00ny

Posts: 1993; Member since: May 26, 2011

I used it once or twice and realized how worthless they were and never used them again. 2x on these phones do not make much difference outside of close objects

16. monoke

Posts: 1142; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

Never but that's because digital zoom is crap on mine. If there was at least 5x optical, damn right I'd be using it. Waiting for the periscope contraption on other devices for sure.

18. Vokilam

Posts: 1087; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

I like to use it for macro shots. Sometimes your phone just can’t focus on an object that’s too close - using a telephoto lense keeps gets it closer and in focus.

19. master-mkk

Posts: 213; Member since: Aug 27, 2014

I don't use the telephoto camera at all because most of the time cropping the picture that came out from the main better camera will give better results but I have to admit that the periscope cameras like the one in the p30 pro will change that they are very capable and the results are impossible to obtain from regular focal length one they just need to work on the aperture and stabilization then it would be perfect

21. Leo_MC

Posts: 6616; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

For me the camera is mainly a good scanner. When I want to take a picture, I just point & shoot - I don't care about settings, I don't care about ISO, zoom, width (sometimes - during the night - I used to adjust the brightness, although with the XR I found that there's no need, because I can just adjust it after I have taken the picture): just take out the phone, fire up the camera and press a button. I know that I could probably take great photos, if I learn to use a camera, but I rather use my brain more often to store pictures than use my brain to tweak a device.

22. kakudiego

Posts: 123; Member since: May 21, 2014

Wide angle is far useful

24. LiveFaith

Posts: 363; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

It's as easy as a tap. Use the 2x zoom regularly on my Note. Would love to have a wide angle too.

25. JCASS889

Posts: 462; Member since: May 18, 2018

ehh cameras on phones still cant touch a dedicated camera with a big lens. even a small form factor camera is so much better.

26. jasaero

Posts: 46; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

Seems to be a kinda silly poll when most phones will only do 2X optically and then need to do some crop and maybe computational stuff to get zoomed shot. With these 5X and then computational stuff doing 10X that looks mostly usable.... Seems it would sorta change your answer.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.