CES: LG Innotek Intros Optical Zoom Camera Tech for Mobile

LG exited the smartphone market in 2021, but its LG Innotek division continues to supply components, and is touting a major breakthrough with its Optical Telephoto Zoom Camera Module to be unveiled this week at CES 2023. As part of the rear-mounted smartphone camera systems, the new optical zoom allows still images and video to be magnified by four to nine times “without image quality degradation even when zooming from long distance,” the company says. The results are achieved by integrating the telescopic camera functions that are mostly applied to professional DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

The new optical zoom process eliminates so-called “camera bump” using software exclusively developed by LG Innotek over the past 20 years, recently optimized with tech from Qualcomm.

The two companies are collaborating to promote software for optical continuous zoom that will be applied to the new premium Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform, LG Innotek CEO Jeong Cheol-dong said in a news announcement.

Specifically, the new mobile zoom features enhances optical image tuning in areas including auto-focus, auto-exposure, auto-white balance, lens shading correction and much more. “Users will be able to focus quickly and the photos and videos will have stunning image quality,” the announcement claims.

“The camera component supplier has unveiled a telephoto module with real moving optics to cover a 4-9x range — no digital zoom required,” The Verge summarizes, explaining that “while most other long smartphone cameras use image-quality-degrading digital zoom to reach beyond their native focal length, LG’s design uses moving lenses — much like a traditional DSLR camera lens — which preserves image detail.”

LG’s Optical Telephoto Zoom Camera Module also includes optical stabilization, which The Verge calls “a must-have if you’re trying to take pictures at 200mm,” noting the use of “a tiny, extremely precise actuator to move lens elements for zooming; the company says it can move in increments of 1μm.” This new design will allow phone manufacturers to eliminate the need for multiple rear-facing camera lenses, conserving space and reducing power consumption.

Android Central suggests Samsung’s Galaxy S24 Ultra may be among the first devices to use what LG Innotek is informally calling its new “Optical Zoom Camera.”

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