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We asked, you told us: You've all used your phone's tele lens as a magnifier

It turns out that plenty of you zoom in to view text and other details.

Published onJune 2, 2022

Google Pixel 6 Pro standing on a table
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Telephoto and periscope cameras are among the most useful cameras on smartphones today, allowing you to snap great images without getting physically closer to the subject.  We also thought that these cameras were useful as magnifiers for the world around us, enabling us to read text and discern other details from a distance away.

We wanted to know if you used your phone’s telephoto camera for this task as well, posting a poll in our opinion piece. The results are finally in, and here’s how you voted.

Have you used your phone’s tele lens to zoom without taking a pic?


Almost 3,000 votes were counted as of writing, and it turns out that a massive 72.36% of respondents said they had zoomed in with their tele cameras without actually taking a picture.

Roughly 15% of polled readers said their phone doesn’t have a telephoto lens, claiming a very distant second place in the poll. Of course, telephoto cameras aren’t common in budget phones or even in affordable flagships (e.g. OnePlus 9, Pixel 6, Xiaomi 12), so we’re not surprised by people choosing this option.

Guide: The best camera phones you can get right now

Finally, 12.29% of respondents said they always take a picture when zoomed in. At least one reader noted that they took a photo when the viewfinder wasn’t clear enough, owing to additional software processing taking place to deliver a clearer image.


  • Indefinite Implosion: If I can’t see something clearly even with the viewfinder zoomed, I take a photo. Because “Super Res zoom” on Pixels performs additional processing after taking the photo to clean it up more.
  • TwinturboS4: I used my S22 ultra to see parking signs two blocks away easily.
  • erik: Just today I zoomed in on a tree to see something. The Pixel 6 is amazing with the still photos. Can only hope the next has better zoom on videos, since right now it’s a 7x max with lots of noise. I took some pictures of airplanes flying and showed them to a friend and he tried to claim the iPhone is just as good, so I pulled out my iphone and showed him the same plane on max zoom on iPhone. Not only do you not get very close with the iPhone, it’s also very grainy.
  • Ruli Manurung: Trust me, you will start doing this more and more as you grow older 🤣 I started wearing reading glasses during the pandemic, and for tiny fonts (seriously, have you tried to look at the wattage and voltage ratings on your phone chargers recently?) I absolutely use this feature all the time!
  • Daniel Konopka: Oh god yes this is the best, just did that before this article came up

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