There is no denying that both the Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20+ are impressive phones in every aspect. Whether you are talking about the display, the battery, the chip, or the camera, things are pretty impressive. At this point, Samsung is pushing the limits and keeping us guessing what innovation they are working on for their future devices.
However, as per a report, it turns out that both the Galaxy S20 and S20+ do not ship with the actual telephoto camera. Whereas the more expensive S20 Ultra does come with a real telephoto lens. Surprised? We are too.
The Hybrid Optical Zoom is Where Things Get Tricky
If you look at the spec sheet for either of the devices, you will find out that both of them are offering a 3x "hybrid optical zoom". This clearly means that you have both standard and optical zoom working together to give you a cropped image. However, things get a bit more interesting when you compare the field of view of the main camera with that of the telephoto camera; the difference is only 3 degrees with the main camera giving a 79-degree field of view while the telephoto offering only 76. A bit of math and you will realise that the telephoto lens is only offering 1.06 zoom compared to the actual camera. This goes to show that the rest of the zoom is almost entirely done digitally.
This issue was pointed out by the folks over at NotebookCheck who highlighted the differences in a screenshot from the official spec sheet. You can check the image below.
This level of zoom can be achieved easily on any smartphone that has a half-decent main camera. However, the one thing that has left us scratching our heads is just why would Samsung do something like that. For the sake of comparison, the 12-megapixel telephoto camera on the Galaxy S10+ camera offers 2x optical zoom.
The justification here could be that thanks to the 64-megapixel sensor, the hybrid zoom is efficient enough to punch in and digitally crop without ruining the sharpness of the phone. We cannot confirm just how it performs in real life, but this is surely something to look for. If you are concerned about the Galaxy S20 Ultra, then worry not, as it still provides the real telephoto experience.
Samsung has not provided any official statement so far, but keep an eye and see what the deal is about.