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Camera zoom could get a lot better on the iPhone 17 Pro Max

Apple is starting to take optical zoom on its flagship iPhones more seriously.

Published onJuly 11, 2024

iPhone 14 Pro showing cameras placed on a couch
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
  • The iPhone 17 Pro Max will reportedly pack a 48MP tetraprism lens, which would boost the camera zoom functionality and outputted image quality.
  • Both the iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max will likely feature the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 12MP tetraprism lens, which enables the 5x optical zoom.
  • The tetraprism lens could receive an even more significant upgrade when the iPhone 19 series debuts in late 2027.

With the iPhone 15 Pro Max, Apple gave its mobile camera a long overdue upgrade, pushing its maximum optical zoom from 3x to 5x. It also extended the digital zoom limit from 15x to 25x, allowing users to capture faraway subjects. These camera zoom enhancements were enabled by the 12MP tetraprism lens, which debuted exclusively on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. To further improve the zoom functionality and outputted image quality, Apple will reportedly bump the tetraprism lens’ resolution from 12MP to 48MP when the iPhone 17 Pro Max launches next year.

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will upgrade the tetraprism lens on the iPhone 17 Pro Max, boosting its resolution from 12MP to 48MP. This should significantly enhance the outputted image quality, even when using the (cropped) digital zoom.

While the tetraprism lens is currently exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, Kuo expects Apple to bundle it with both iPhone 16 Pro models. This would allow users opting for the smaller flagship to utilize the same zoom capabilities.

Beyond the two upcoming iPhone generations, Kuo states that 2027’s iPhone 19 series will also introduce some remarkable camera upgrades. He believes that Apple will further expand the optical zoom range by potentially incorporating more than four prisms in the lens. This would lengthen the light path and increase the zoom range accordingly.

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