With ever-higher camera resolutions, have zoom lenses had their day?

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra zoom illustration
(Image credit: Jon Deveo)

With each new generation of a device or camera, we expect more – more megapixels, more zoom, better battery life, faster processing and higher resolution. Even with iterative updates, the gains may be marginal but they’re still seen as gains.

Last year, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra wowed with its stunning 10x optical periscope-designed zoom camera. So this year, I wondered how much more reach we were going to get with the updated flagship’s camera array. To my surprise, the answer was less, kind of. The optical zoom capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra maxes out at 5x zoom, giving us an equivalent focal length of 115mm. Of course, that seems like a massive downgrade on the 230mm equivalent focal length of the 10x camera from last year, however, all is not as it appears.

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Jon Devo

Jon is a gadget reviewer, content creator and influencer. He spends his time reviewing products, covering technology news, giving talks on content strategy and creating content in partnership with a wide variety of forward-thinking brands. He also contributes to commercial radio, as well as in national print newspapers and magazines.