The author of this piece is Robert Triggs, who writes for Android Authority.
Samsung Semiconductor is teasing the possibility of 200-megapixel telephoto cameras being incorporated into phones.
According to the company, utilizing 200-megapixel telephoto cameras would result in improved portrait and zoom capabilities.
There are ongoing rumors that the vivo X100 Pro Plus may potentially be the first smartphone to feature a 200MP telephoto lens.
In the past year, there have been releases of smartphones featuring cameras with 200MP resolution. However, these high-resolution sensors have only been used for the primary camera. Recently, Samsung Semiconductor has suggested the possibility of using 200MP sensors for telephoto cameras, which could be a significant improvement for various reasons.
Samsung published a blog post on their website, referring to 200MP telephoto cameras as the upcoming trend in smartphone photography. The company mentions that using a telephoto camera is better for taking portrait photos because it minimizes distortion compared to using the primary camera sensor. See the comparison image below.
The company clarifies that telephoto camera sensors are typically smaller than primary camera sensors. As a result, there is often a noticeable difference in quality between primary and telephoto cameras. By using a larger telephoto sensor, this gap in image quality can be reduced while also allowing for a shallower depth-of-field, creating the desired blurred background effect for portrait shots.
Having a higher number of megapixels results in the ability to crop more in an image.
Samsung correctly notes that sensors with extremely high resolutions, such as 200 megapixels, have the capability to provide lossless cropped zoom due to the abundance of pixels (as shown in the comparison below). In fact, we have already witnessed the Realme 11 Pro Plus, a mid-range device, utilizing a 200MP primary camera to offer 4x lossless zoom. While this may only apply to the resolution and not necessarily the image quality, since the camera cannot utilize pixel-binning like it can at 1x, it is still an improvement compared to traditional digital zoom.
A 200MP sensor appears to be a notable improvement for telephoto cameras, which Samsung also appears to acknowledge.
An instance of this is when using a 3x telephoto module paired with a 200MP sensor, the lossless zoom can be utilized at increments of 3x, 6x, and 12x.
In fact, we’d bet that Android OEMs could get solid results beyond 12x too, depending on their software processing smarts. After all, phones like the HUAWEI P60 Pro pack a 48MP 3.5x tele camera and still deliver decent image quality at 10x. We’ve also seen the likes of the Google Pixel 7 Pro packing a 48MP 5x periscope lens and getting usable images at 10x or 15x.
There may soon be a phone with a 200MP telephoto camera available. However, it is unlikely that it will be from Samsung. Rumors suggest that the vivo X100 Pro Plus will have a 200MP tele shooter, but there is no confirmation of its availability outside of China at this time.
A 200MP telephoto camera has its drawbacks. These may include a bigger camera protrusion, higher cost, and reduced performance in low-light conditions. However, the benefits of outstanding long-distance zoom and superior, undistorted portrait shots may be too tempting to overlook. Therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising if the top camera phones in 2024 come with a 200MP telephoto lens.