According to a malicious leak, the Google Pixel 7 could be joined by a premium sibling. I am not referring to the 7 Pro, but to another alternative, possibly even more premium.
As a photography buff, this news made my head spin. Google phones regularly appear on TechRadar's list of the best camera phones, and if this hypothetical future powerhouse didn't need to consider things like "affordability," it might have a shot at it. place.
But if that's going to happen, there's one camera feature on this mighty Samsung phone that Google needs to emulate, or better, improve: the periscope zoom camera.
There were many features of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra camera that I loved trying out: the professional-grade video recording mode, the easy One Take tool, the wonderful portrait capture mode, and more. But when I think back to my testing time with the phone, it's the periscope zoom camera that stands out.
The camera bump of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. (Image credit: Peter Hoffmann)
This telephoto periscope camera had a 10MP 1.12um sensor paired with a 4.9mm f/230 periscope lens, offering 10x optical zoom on the "main" camera. It is used to bring distant subjects closer.
I initially played with this to see how far I could jump in a landscape, taking in distant buildings and landmarks from afar, but I quickly found it even better for taking photos of birds and insects. Also, I've relied on it for "macro" shots of things like flowers and people, as I like how depth of field is displayed on lenses with a longer focal length.
In fact, I started using this 10x zoom camera to shoot portraits, preferring it in many cases to Portrait mode, even though that meant I often had to back away from the subject.
So if a Google Pixel 7 Ultra arrives without a long-range camera like this, it probably won't even give you the time of day, but if you get that kind of snapper, there are some issues with the S22 version of the Ultra that Google could fix. .
Building with pixel(*7*)
While the zoom images on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra looked great, I still found some rough edges that I'd like to see ironed out on a successor - or rival - phone.
First of all, the sensor. 10MP doesn't give you as many pixels for post-production editing, and I think a larger sensor would have been great as the images were a bit darker than they should have been. Perhaps a larger, higher resolution alternative would be better.
The camera bump of the Sony Xperia 1 IV. (Photo credit: Sony)
Second, zooming in at great distances (perhaps the subject is a celestial body like the moon) on a smartphone can have horrible side effects, especially if your hands aren't steady. Even a slight wobble can cause you to point the phone at something completely different from your subject. I don't find this problem to be as prevalent on large body cameras as they are generally easier to grip and also have a lot of stabilization built in.
Perhaps Google could copy the big zoom and add a lot of digital stabilization when zooming in. Many camera phones have OIS for some of their zoom snappers, like Samsung, but its space zoom isn't as stable as similar modes from other brands like Vivo; perhaps Google could copy the solutions of this company.
My third wish-list item is an even longer focal length, though I think this addition would be so specific that Google probably won't consider it. I can't remember ever seeing a smartphone with anything over 230mm, and it would probably need such a complex periscope lens system that it's just not worth the money. But a man can dream.
As a compromise, for people who like zoom photography, perhaps Google could emulate Sony's Xperia 1 IV and its variable optical zoom.
On the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the 10x zoom is optical, but at 9,9x you're in digital zoom, as smartphone cameras typically use fixed focal lengths and rely on digital zoom to fill in gaps. This is not the case with the latest Sony smartphone, as it can vary between 85mm and 125mm.
It's not the greatest range though, and only gives you the equivalent of a 5.2x zoom. Perhaps if Google took this system, but let it vary between, say, 190mm and 230mm, it could combine the best of the Samsung and Sony flagships.
I've dived deep into "wish list" territory here, but with the Google Pixel 7 Ultra barely a glimmer in leakers' eyes, that's where we're at.
If Google wants to compete for the top spot in our camera phone rankings, it should take note of Samsung, and borrowing the periscope zoom lens should be the first item on its "to do" list.