All because of very high-quality stabilization
In an interview with Numerama’s Nicolas Lellouche, Apple’s VP of Camera Software Engineering John McCormack explained why the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a 5x optical zoom, rather than the 10x zoom of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Apple says the telephoto lens on iPhone 15 Pro Max features its most advanced camera stabilization system yet, combining optical image stabilization and 3D AF sensor shift. McCormack said the iPhone’s 5x zoom lens can be stabilized “incredibly well” compared to a 10x zoom lens.
“The 5x zoom is something we can stabilize really well,” McCormack said. “If you look at the 10x zoom, unless you have the steadiest hands in the world or a tripod, it’s really difficult to use.”
Apple’s Senior Director of iPhone Product Marketing Maxime Veron, who was also interviewed, added that the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 5x lens has an F/2.8 aperture for “excellent light control.” For comparison, the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 10x lens has an F/4.9 aperture. This aperture on the 15 Pro Max allows the camera’s sensor to capture more light, which can be especially useful for night mode photos. This is confirmed by a comparison of smartphones, in which in the dark the 25x digital zoom on the iPhone 15 Pro Max works better than that on the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
5x optical zoom is exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, while the iPhone 15 Pro remains limited to 3x optical zoom.
Sales of new products will begin tomorrow, September 22.