Apple executives explain why the iPhone doesn’t use 10x optical zoom
The iPhone 15 Pro Max was unveiled last week, and beyond its potent A17 Pro chip, another notable feature is its quintuple optical zoom lens (equivalent to a full-frame 120mm). However, pitted against such luxury, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra from the Android suite boasts a tenfold optical zoom, seemingly edging out in imaging prowess. Addressing such comparisons, an Apple executive elucidated the reasons behind eschewing the tenfold optical zoom in an interview with Numerama.
Apple’s Senior Executive, Jon McCormack, delineated the rationale from both usability and photographic philosophy perspectives:
From the vantage of usability, McCormack opined, “Our quintuple zoom renders a remarkably steady shot. Consider a tenfold zoom; without the aid of a tripod, and for those with even a hint of tremor, its deployment becomes arduous. We introspect deeply on user-friendliness before augmenting new features.”
Pivoting to the philosophical aspect of photography, he elucidated, “The iPhone’s photographic capabilities are inherently imbued with a social essence. A tenfold telephoto zoom, equivalent to 240-250mm, portrays subjects as though they are distant, stripping the image of intimacy.”
Another luminary from Apple, Maxime Veron, weighed in from a hardware perspective, stating, “Our telephoto end aperture stands at f/2.8, facilitating impeccable light management.”
Gleaning from the aforementioned discourse, the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s choice of quintuple optical zoom over tenfold can be distilled into three core reasons:
1. Given the limitations of stabilization technology, a quintuple zoom proves more user-friendly, effortlessly capturing lucid imagery compared to its tenfold counterpart.
2. A tenfold optical zoom conveys a pronounced sense of spatial compression, making subjects appear remote, an effect that is incongruous with the iPhone’s photographic ethos.
3. Quintuple optical zoom can achieve a larger aperture, ensuring an influx of light to maintain impeccable image quality.