May 28, 2023

Zoom lenses, as you probably already know, are used for subjects that are far away. A telephoto camera, like the one on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, uses multiple lens elements arranged along a common axis. There must be a specific distance between the front and back elements. To boost the zooming capability, that distance must be increased, but there is a limit to that because smartphones are space constrained. If you increase that distance beyond a certain point to increase the zoom factor, you’d have a long lens jutting out of phones and no one wants that.
That’s why the best Android smartphones like the Galaxy S23 Ultra use something known as a periscope lens. It solves the depth problem by using prisms and mirrors to bend the light and increase the range. 

But, there are trade-offs to everything. In this case, periscope lenses take up more horizontal space. 

That’s why, Apple will change the placement of cameras on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, says leaker Unknownz21, who tweets from the handle @URedditor. They say that ultrawide and telephoto will trade positions.

The ultrawide sensor will be moved to the top of the camera array and the telephoto will take its position, between the flash and the LiDAR unit.

YouTuber Vadim Yuryev explains that the position is being swapped because the periscope lens needs more space. It can’t go down because that’s where the battery is and it can’t go to the right because of the LiDAR scanner.

So, it’s still very much going to be a stovetop layout and might not seem all that different from afar. 

This move also explains why the iPhone 15 Pro won’t have a periscope camera. The current size doesn’t allow for it. Next year’s iPhone 16 Pro will probably be bigger to allow for a periscope lens. 

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