Smartphones with DSLR-Rivaling Optical Zoom in Two Years

24 April 2014
An optical zoom solution that would allow smartphone cameras to rival the performance of digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) will likely be invented within the next couple of years, predicts Symon Whitehorn, camera expert at HTC.
In an interview for Vodafone UK's blog, Whitehorn said that smartphones, most people's go-to device for taking pictures, will take over more and more from specialized cameras. According to him, HTC is close to breaking the technological threshold that still gives big cameras an advantage: optical zooming.
The problem with optical zooming and phones has always been that the multiple lens elements just take up too much space. With phone manufacturers - and users, really - going for devices that are as thin as possible, most attempts to incorporate optical zoom in smartphones have resulted in unsatisfactory products.
"I can't give too much away, but within 12-18 months we'll see huge advances in phone optics," Whitehorn said, adding that this is why the company doesn't depend on digital zooming solutions for its smartphone cameras. At the end of the day, digital zooming is just cropping a picture and reducing image quality.
According to Whitehorn, every new generation of smartphone cameras has brought them closer to actually rivaling the performance of "cameras where one piece of glass inside it costs £3000 alone." In his words, reaching that level is on the horizon and, once it's done, professional cameras will become more specialized out of necessity - for shooting sports events, for example.