LG’s days of making smartphones may be over, but LG Innotek – a major supplier of mobile camera modules – is alive and well. It’s introducing a new telephoto zoom camera module at CES 2023, with true, continuous optical zoom. The company is working with Qualcomm to accelerate adoption of its new technology alongside the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in upcoming flagship Android phones.
While most other long smartphone cameras use digital zoom that degrades image quality to extend beyond their original focal length, LG’s design uses moving lenses – much like a traditional DSLR camera lens – that preserve image detail. This camera module also uses a folded optical design, known as a periscope lens, keeping the overall size low. The result is a lens that covers a range of 4-9x, with true optical zoom in between.
This new design from LG also includes optical stabilization, which is a must-have if you’re trying to shoot at 200mm. The module uses a small, high-precision actuator to move lens elements to zoom; the company says it can move in 1 μm increments. LG also points out that the design would allow phone makers to put fewer lenses on the back of their devices. Instead of containing a 4x and a 9x lens, this design combines the two to take up less space and reduce power consumption.
LG Innotek is making no small deal about its new technology: the press release says the camera module will help the company “solidify the global No. 1 position in the smartphone camera module market.” It is already in a strong position, thanks in large part to it its biggest customer: Apple. The iPhone 15 is rumored to include a folded optical telephoto lensand while this particular model is unlikely to be included, LG seems keen to integrate its camera technology into a wide range of 2023 flagship phones.