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You told us: You mostly stick with 1x zoom on your phone camera

It seems like polled readers don't spend much time at 4x or higher. Is that just because image quality is bad, though?

Published onAugust 2, 2023

samsung galaxy s23 ultra camera app
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Today’s smartphones offer much-improved camera zoom quality compared to devices from a decade ago. That’s in large part due to the introduction of telephoto cameras, periscope shooters, new and improved processing techniques, and high-resolution sensors.

Senior Features Editor Rita El-Khoury recently suggested that people use 2x zoom more often. We also asked you which zoom level you used the most, and here’s how you answered that poll.

Which zoom level do you use most on your phone?


This proved to be a popular poll, as over 3,500 votes were counted. The most popular choice? Well, 55.2% of respondents said they mostly stuck to the default 1x zoom level when using their smartphone camera.

This makes complete sense as the primary camera is usually the best camera on your smartphone and it works best at 1x. Plus, shooting at this zoom factor gives you some headroom to crop into the image afterward.

Otherwise, 36.1% of surveyed readers say they mostly use 2x or 3x zoom. Of course, Rita noted that 2x allows for better framing, but it also allows you to get a closer shot of a subject without physically moving closer. Many phones today also offer great image quality at 2x without a dedicated short-range telephoto camera, using super-resolution, multi-frame image processing, and/or image cropping from a high-resolution sensor.

We see a sharp drop-off after 2x to 3x though, as just 5.7% of respondents say they take photos at 4x or higher. That’s understandable as only the best camera phones, which tend to have a tele camera, still have good image quality beyond 3x. Finally, just 2.96% of surveyed readers noted that they didn’t take photos with their phones in the first place.


  • Marco Studenski: I do agree with this, and there are definitely times when I am switching to 2x to take a better photo. But since my 2x is digital crop, I’m also usually just fine with improving the framing of a 1x shot after it’s taken. Most of the time, my 7 Pro is taking fine enough of a shot that cropping a 1x looks the same as 2x with super zoom activated.
  • Andy: I have to say I did find myself using the 2x like 90% of the time since I have the Pixel 6 and this phone doesn’t even have the P7 Pro zoom capabilities. I fully agree with everything you said, and btw nice pics!! Great job! I can’t wait to have my Pixel 8 Pro when it launches
  • Al: This advice is almost correct. The real answer is to use the focal length that’s appropriate for the scene and pleasing to your own eye. In at least a couple of the examples shown above, I prefer the wider shot. It’s true that, more often, the 2x or 4x will result in better photos. But, when you’re shooting an interior like a small cafe or interesting room/exhibit, or when the sky is really nice and dramatic with good clouds… the wider angle can be nice.
  • John Lin: One person’s choice/preference of focal length should not define your own choices, pick the best focal length you feel best fit the scene and stick with it. Taking shots composed for a tighter field of view then taking the same photo from the same location using a wide angle does not necessarily mean a tighter FoV is always better. Composition is key and one should pick whatever focal length they want to compose the shot with. There is no right or wrong answers with photography.
  • Toye Gabriel: 1x isn’t wide, depends on the occasion, if I were in a car I wouldn’t use 2x, plus you could actually just…take a step closer 🌚. I also appreciate ultra wide shots too, I think it depends on what your capturing and how far the subject is so I don’t think it’s too wide

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