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You told us: Telephoto cameras narrowly trump ultra-wide shooters on phones

Ultra-wide cameras are still preferred by many readers.

Published onApril 27, 2021

HUAWEI P30 Pro periscope camera

Modern smartphone camera systems often include more than just a solitary primary snapper. It’s likely you’ll see phones across the pricing range with ultra-wide angle and telephoto snappers. But if you had to choose just one, which would it be?

We posed this question to our readers in this poll. Here’s what they told us.

Periscope/telephoto camera or ultra-wide?


We saw over 2,400 votes on this poll, and the results are pretty close. The slim majority of readers (54.2%) would choose a periscope or telephoto camera over an ultra-wide shooter.

Despite this, ultra-wide cameras only received ~200 fewer votes. These readers opted for ultra-wide cameras’ versatility for video. Some even use theirs as a makeshift macro shooter. Overall, several readers note they just use their telephoto cameras more often.

Ultimately, the fine margins between the two camera philosophies suggest there’s no clear winner. Different equipment appeals to different people, while each camera is better suited to select scenarios.

Here’s what you had to say

  • Rahul Pai: Ultrawide for sure. My main cam is high res enough that I can crop for “zoom”. My phone actually has 2x telephoto, but the cropped version of the main camera is actually better quality (galaxy s10, the telephoto only really works in bright lighting). Ultrawide is really useful to get multiple people/ a whole scene in view without having to walk backwards 10 meters. Also sometimes there isn’t space to move backwards.
  • Wongwatt: Why should I have to choose? There’s no reason why any decent phone shouldn’t have at least an ultra wide and a 5x periscope — modern phones with high prices that lack both are inexcusable.
  • Shizuma: Telephoto without even a second thought, I’ve never once went to take a picture with the already wide standard lens and thought I wish this was wider, however I frequently wish for zoom, on my old note 8 I used the 2x zoom lens more often than the regular lens.
  • The One: I prefer the ultra-wide, but that’s because I understand how much 2x telephoto kinda sucks on phones. If it was 3x or better, then I’d prefer it. I find that most average users pinch to zoom WAY too much, so they probably prefer telephoto as well.
  • Ali Marwan: I have owned my 7 Pro for 2 years and only took like 3 ultra wide images. I honestly don’t have any use for it.
  • MM_Rafez: I would go for telephoto any day. I wish some manufacturer gave us big sensor with a telephoto/periscope lens at wider aperture so that we could get portrait shots with natural bokeh.
  • mattc: I know that I use the telephoto much more regularly. It’s great for portraits. Said using P30 Pro.
  • stephan cevallos: Telephoto. For some reason the ultra-wide on my note 20 ultra sucks. It needs bright light or it doesn’t work.
  • DBS: Ultra-Wide. Not even a question. It’s much more useful to have a lens that lets you fit more into one shot AND is also good to use as a macro lens. Telephoto/periscope is OK but it seldom produces anything worthwhile. And the amount of times you need it is close to zero.

That’s it for this poll. Thanks for your votes and comments. As always, if you have any additional thoughts, be sure to drop them down below.

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