Periscope Telephoto Camera: A Waste of Resources or a Leap Forward in Smartphone Photography?

In recent years, the smartphone industry has witnessed a remarkable technological advancement – the emergence of a periscope telephoto camera. These innovative camera systems promise incredible zoom capabilities, allowing users to capture distant subjects with unprecedented clarity. However, as this technology becomes increasingly prevalent in flagship smartphones, a debate has arisen: Are periscope telephoto cameras a waste of resources, or are they a stepping stone to something great?

The Periscope Telephoto Camera Revolution

The traditional telephoto lens in a smartphone camera typically relies on a physical zoom lens that moves inside the device to achieve optical zoom. This mechanism often results in bulky smartphones or limited zoom capabilities. Periscope telephoto cameras, on the other hand, utilize a horizontal lens arrangement that uses mirrors or prisms to bend the light at a right angle, thus allowing for more extended optical zoom without significantly increasing the device’s thickness.

Advantages of Periscope Telephoto Cameras

1. Improved Zoom Capabilities:
Periscope telephoto cameras have opened up new possibilities for smartphone photography by offering impressive optical zoom levels, often reaching up to 10x, 20x, or even 50x zoom. This feature has transformed smartphone photography, enabling users to capture distant subjects with exceptional detail.

2. Enhanced Low-Light Performance:
These cameras often feature larger sensors, which, combined with their advanced image stabilization technologies, allow for better low-light performance. This translates to clearer and more detailed photos even in challenging lighting conditions.

3. Versatility:
Periscope telephoto cameras are versatile, allowing users to capture a wide range of subjects, from breathtaking landscapes to detailed close-ups of wildlife or architectural details. They bridge the gap between smartphone photography and dedicated digital cameras.

4. Creative Potential:
The ability to zoom in closely on subjects offers new creative opportunities for photographers. It allows for unique compositions and perspectives that were previously unattainable with traditional smartphone cameras.

Challenges and Concerns

While periscope telephoto cameras offer several advantages, there are also valid concerns about their impact on smartphone design and resource allocation:

1. Increased Complexity and Cost:
Implementing periscope telephoto cameras requires advanced engineering and additional hardware components, increasing the overall cost of smartphones. This cost can be a barrier for budget-conscious consumers.

2. Durability and Reliability:
The moving parts and intricate mechanisms of periscope telephoto cameras may raise concerns about their long-term durability and reliability. Users worry about potential maintenance and repair costs.

3. Thickness and Design:
Although periscope telephoto cameras are more space-efficient than traditional zoom lenses, they can still impact the overall thickness and design of smartphones. Some users prioritize slim and sleek designs over enhanced camera capabilities.

The Stepping Stone to Something Great

Periscope telephoto cameras are not merely a gimmick but represent a significant step forward in smartphone photography. They address a genuine need for extended zoom capabilities without compromising the overall design of the device. Moreover, they push smartphone manufacturers to invest in camera technology and innovation, ultimately benefitting all users, including those who may not frequently use the zoom features.

Looking ahead, periscope telephoto cameras could serve as a stepping stone to even greater advancements in smartphone photography. As technology evolves, these cameras may become more compact, durable, and cost-effective. Future iterations may incorporate improved computational photography techniques to further enhance image quality and user experience.


Periscope telephoto cameras have sparked a debate about their value and impact on smartphone design and resources. While there are valid concerns about cost and durability, these innovative camera systems have undeniably transformed smartphone photography. They offer improved zoom capabilities, enhanced low-light performance, and greater versatility, opening up creative possibilities for photographers.

Rather than viewing periscope telephoto cameras as a waste of resources, it is more accurate to consider them a stepping stone to something great in the realm of smartphone photography. As technology continues to advance, these cameras are likely to become more refined and accessible, ultimately benefiting users and further pushing the boundaries of what is possible with smartphone cameras.

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Onsa Mustafa

Onsa is a Software Engineer and a tech blogger who focuses on providing the latest information regarding the innovations happening in the IT world. She likes reading, photography, travelling and exploring nature.

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