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The Samsung Galaxy S20 were introduced last week and one of the main focuses of the presentation was their cameras. The Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus have telephoto lenses capable of offering us an optical zoom of up to 3x. However, it seems that things are not quite as the South Korean explained.

Since these are equipped with telephoto lenses, the zoom would be expected to be optical. But if we look at Samsung’s official specification list, we see “3x optical hybrid zoom” mentioned.

The optical zoom represents the real approximation made by the camera lens, while the hybrid zoom is a mixture of this with digital approximation made by software. So what are we left with: is it hybrid or optical zoom?

Galaxy S20

Real zoom of the Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus cameras falls short of the advertised

With a more in-depth analysis on Samsung’s own website, we learn that the telephoto lenses on these models are closer to an angle than they should be. In both cases, the lenses offer an angle of view of 76 degrees, very close to the 79 degrees offered in their main lenses.

This means that both models will be able to perform an optical zoom of just 1.06x. To get to the 3x zoom, the technique of crop in the image, which also justifies the high resolution of these lenses.

In both Samsung Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 + we have 64MP “telephoto” lenses. This is so that the sensor can capture more information so that the final result of the crop have better quality.

This scenario is even stranger when we note that the previous two generations had truly telephoto lenses. Why did Samsung choose this solution?

Samsung is not being completely honest with its users

This does not mean that the results obtained will be of poor quality. The tops of the Samsung range have always presented high quality cameras and the results are more likely to be quite good.

The bad thing about this situation is that Samsung is not being completely honest with its users. The same can be applied to the Galaxy S20’s ability to record at 8K, however, the South Korean never mentioned that the same S20 and S20 Plus will have to use the 64MP lens to achieve this.

In short, only the Galaxy S20 Ultra will have a really zoom lens – in this case periscopic. This will offer a true 10x optical zoom, which can later reach 100x by software.

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