Someone stop this madness. The smartphone zoom war is getting more and more absurd

Since telephoto lenses have entered the world of smartphones, manufacturers have been doing everything to exaggerate their actual performance. Huawei popularized the concept of “hybrid zoom” at one time.

If the smartphone had a telephoto lens generating a 3x optical zoom, the company promoted a 5x hybrid zoom. If it had a 5x telephoto lens, information about the 10x zoom appeared in the promotional materials.

It was a slight curvature of reality, but & hairsp; – & hairsp; in my opinion & hairsp; – & hairsp; acceptable. In the declared values, it was still possible to obtain a picture of satisfactory quality.

In 2020, however, Samsung jumped on the stage with its Space Zoom

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is armed with a 40-megapixel camera with a generating telephoto lens 4x optical zoom. However, this value did not satisfy marketers who placed a giant on the phone’s housing the inscription “100x”.

Was the 100x zoom usable with this phone? Let the picture speak for itself. Here is the graphic from the official presentation.

This is how Samsung advertised the 100x zoom on the Galaxy S20 Ultra

This year’s Galaxy S21 Ultra got a 10x telephoto lens. While the 100x digital zoom option & hairsp; – & hairsp; is still unusable & hairsp; – & hairsp; still exists, at least Samsung is not promoting it on the phone case.

Digital marketing is a one-way ticket. Competition could not remain in debt

In the case of the Mi 10 Ultra and Mi 11 Ultra models, Xiaomi proudly boasts 120x zoom.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra has an inscription on the housing declaring a 120x zoom

Is there anything to be proud of in this case? Well…

Photo of a road sign with a 120x zoom

It’s hard to resist the impression that Xiaomi puts the inscription 120x on the covers of its smartphones only because 120 is more than 100 that Samsung promotes. And since this is just a number that does not reflect the usefulness of the camera? Who cares …

Huawei raises the stakes and gives a 200x zoom

Although the Huaweia P50 Pro telephoto lens generates suddenly 3.5x optical zoom, the company claims that thanks to software tricks it managed to pull out as much as 200x digital zoom.

Are the results satisfactory? It’s hard to say, because Huawei does not want to praise photos with 200x zoom. Which is not surprising to me, considering that the photo promoted on the manufacturer’s website with an approximate 100x looks like this:

The photo promoted by Huaweia with 100x zoom

If you want to know what a 200x photo would look like, just stretch out ¼ of the above photo to the full screen.

It’s a bit of math now

Since the Huawei P50 Pro has a 64-megapixel camera supported by a telephoto lens that generates a 3.5x optical zoom, obtaining a 200x zoom requires the use of a frame section with a resolution of approx. 0,01 Mpix. It’s some 120 x 90 pixels.

Various sharpening and smoothing algorithms can be used to noticeably improve the photo, but the laws of physics are inexorable. With such a close-up, the amount of digital data is too small for the best AI algorithm to be able to generate a picture of satisfactory quality.

After all, this zoom war is getting sick

We are already at such a stage of absurdity that, in principle, producers can add next zeros without much remorse. Zoom 100,000x? Why not. What does it matter if the final photo is super-magic or ultratragic?

Anyway, it seems that manufacturers are doing exactly that & hairsp; – & hairsp; they add zero. Before the premiere of the Galaxy S20 Ultra, it went online prototype photoon which the inscription was placed 10x, not 100x. Apparently, in the last stage, marketers obtained that one zero more would not hurt anyone, and sales could skyrocket.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra could have looked a bit different

The worst thing is that each of the mentioned phones has a great zoom, allowing you to take a picture with a 10 or even 20x zoom in satisfactory quality. After all, & hairsp; – & hairsp; for smartphones & hairsp; – & hairsp; continues to perform very well. Isn’t it better to boast about actual, useful performance?

I am afraid, however, that from number marketing there is no turning back. If someone ever gets a good quality 50x zoom, they will have to promote the 500x or 1000x zoom. How else to convince consumers that he has done something better than the competition?

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