Why is the iPhone 15 Pro Max camera limited to 5X optical zoom? Know amazing reason

Despite the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra offering a 10X optical zoom, the iPhone 15 Pro Max opted for a 5x zoom capability. Now, Apple's VP of camera software engineering explains the reason.

| Updated on: Sep 21 2023, 08:59 IST
iPhone 15 Pro Max: Price, Camera, Display, Chipset, and more
 iPhone 15 Pro Max
1/5 Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max launch is expected to happen on September 12 at the Apple event. The Apple launch event is expected to roll out four new iPhones including the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max. It is expected that there will be two smartwatch launches as well, which are Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. Let’s have a look at what iPhone 15 Pro Max has in store for its users in terms of price, camera, display, and more. (Unsplash)
 iPhone 15 Pro Max
2/5 iPhone 15 Pro Max Design: The phone may come with a titanium frame that will reduce its weight considerably. There might be a new Action button, which will replace the current Mute button. All iPhone 15 models will have Dynamic Island. Additionally, the iPhone 15 Pro Max may get smaller bezels as well. In terms of display, it may get a similar size as the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which has a 6.7-inch display. (Unsplash)
 iPhone 15 Pro Max
3/5 Camera: All iPhone 15 models will feature a 48MP camera. However, the iPhone 15 Pro Max may get a new periscope camera which may enhance the zoom range. Some leaks have suggested that iPhone 15 Pro Max camera may have a 10x zoom, others say 5x. It may also feature a Sony IMX-803 image sensor. Additionally, it will also come with an ultra-wide Camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture. (Unsplash)
 iPhone 15 Pro Max
4/5 Performance: The iPhone 15 Pro Max is expected to come with a faster A17 Bionic chipset with a 3-nanometer node. As per Macrumor reports, it will improve processing performance by 10 to 15 percent. This may also result in battery saving too. Additionally, the Pro models may be coupled with an 8GB of RAM. The chip will likely make iPhone 15 Pro Max the fastest phone in the world. (Unsplash)
 iPhone 15 Pro Max
5/5 Price: The iPhone 15 Pro Max price hike is highly likely as compared to the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The smartphone price may be hiked by as much as $100 to $200. However, the specs and price are based on leaks and the original details will be revealed at the Apple event. (Unsplash)
 iPhone 15 Pro Max
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Camera stability was one of the main reasons behind not extending the optical zoom beyond 5X for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, says Apple. (REUTERS)

Tomorrow, September 22, the iPhone 15 lineup will go on sale after having been launched on September 12. However, the chances of you being able to grab an iPhone 15 Pro Max are quite low unless you were able to pre-book it since the model has officially sold out and only a limited supply is available for retail stores. Part of this popularity is the new 120mm tetraprism lens that adds a 5x optical zoom capability to the smartphone. However, many have been questioning why Apple did not extend it to 10x optical zoom like its rival Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Finally, the company has responded to the queries and given an explanation.

Numerama conducted an interview with Jon McCormack, Apple's vice president of camera software engineering. The French interview was translated to English by a MacRumors report. Following are the excerpts from it, which dive into the reasoning for sticking out with 5x optical zoom.

Why is the iPhone 15 Pro Max limited to 5x zoom?

In the interview, McCormack said, “The 5x zoom is something that we can stabilize incredibly well. If you look at the 10x zoom unless you have the steadiest hands in the world or a tripod, it's really difficult to use”.

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Even during the Apple event on September 12, the company made claims about the new camera system's stabilization, calling it the company's most advanced camera stabilization system yet. Apple attributed it to a combination of optical image stabilization and an autofocus 3D sensor-shift module.

Another reason was given by Maxime Veron, Apple's senior director of iPhone product marketing. He explained that the 5x optical zoom allowed the lens to open at an aperture of f/2.8 which helps in "excellent light management". On the other hand, the Galaxy S23 Ultra's telephoto lens has an aperture of f/4.9. A lower aperture will allow more light to be captured and click more detailed images. It also helps in night photography.

Apart from the optical zoom lens, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is also equipped with a new titanium frame, a new Action button that can be programmed for a variety of use cases, a USB-C connector port, and more.

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First Published Date: 21 Sep, 08:58 IST