Periscope lens on iPhone 15 Pro Max only ‘confirmed’

Home » Periscope lens on iPhone 15 Pro Max only ‘confirmed’
Periscope lens on iPhone 15 Pro Max only 'confirmed'


There were initially conflicting reports on whether the periscope lens would be coming to both iPhone 15 Pro models, or just the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The consensus view has for some time been pointing to the top-end model only, and a reliable leaker now says they have obtained “independent confirmation” of this.

This means that if you’re looking for a big step-up in optical zoom on the telephoto lens, you’ll need to brace your wallet for an iPhone 15 Pro Max purchase …

Periscope lens allows for longer optical zoom

Our piece way back in 2020 explains how optical zoom works, and how a periscope lens allows for longer lenses within the slim casing of a smartphone.

The tl;dr is that there isn’t enough depth in a smartphone to allow for very long lenses, so a periscope lens has most of the lens elements sitting sideways beneath the rear casing, and uses a prism to bend the light 90 degrees from the outer element in the camera bump.

This can comfortably allow for optical zoom of up to 10x in a smartphone camera, though we don’t yet know the maximum focal length of Apple’s implementation.

iPhone 15 Pro Max only

While most recent reports have pointed to the periscope lens being exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, and there are some accusing Unknownz21 of old news, the leaker says that the new information is independent confirmation, rather than a rehash of earlier reports.

Finally received independent confirmation of this:
Periscope lens will be available exclusively on the iPhone 15 Pro Max […]

I don’t rely on rumors of any kind, so I was still unsure.

The leaker suggests there will be little to no external evidence of the upgrade. Asked whether the camera layout would change in any way, they replied “not really.”

6x zoom? 10x zoom?

There’s still no information about how far Apple pushes the optical zoom. There have been suggestions of 6x zoom, while others believe Apple will match the 10x zoom of Samsung’s S23 Ultra.

The reason for the uncertainty is that there is always a trade-off between maximum focal range, and image quality. This is the reason why you can buy a low-quality consumer-grade 18-400mm lens for a DSLR, but pro zoom lenses offer dramatically shorter ranges while costing much more – and photographers still use prime (non-zoom) lenses for ultimate quality.

Samsung tends to chase numbers, such as the (fake) 200-megapixel claim it makes for the S23 Ultra, hence opting to push optical zoom to the limit. Apple, in contrast, tends to prioritize quality over specs, so the company may choose to limit the range to 6x.

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