Zoom module delivers DSLR features to smartphones
LG Innotek’s Optical Telephoto Zoom Camera Module (LG Innotek)
LG Innotek launched a telephoto zoom camera module at CES 2023, to bring DSLR-type capabilities to smartphones. The Optical Telephoto Zoom Camera Module, which is mounted on the rear side of the smartphone, integrates telescopic camera functions of professional cameras.
Unlike competitor camera phones that use a combination of optical and digital zoom, the new module will function like a real DSLR camera that magnifies by moving the lens elements physically. This negates the need for a second of two fixed telephoto lenses in current high-end smartphone cameras.
An external camera also gives smartphone manufacturers more space inside the phone and enhances battery life, which LG Innotek says is driving an increased demand from customers.
The lens offers zooming to magnifications between 4x and 9x in a single module, which has not yet been achieved without using multiple devices. An innovative zoom actuator, the component that moves the lens to change the focal distance, helps make this possible. To obtain the high-definition quality, the zoom actuator must move the lens quickly and accurately to set the focus, and LG’s actuator can move the lens with micrometre precision.
The actuator’s thickness was also minimised to remove the ‘camera bump’, while the optical image stabiliser reduces blurring when shaking, an important element in zoom cameras, where shaking shows up more clearly in the images.
LG Innotek is partnering with Qualcomm Technologies on software that will enhance image tuning for the optics, including auto-focus, auto-exposure, auto-white balance, lens shading correction and more.