The iPhone 16 Pro Max May Get a Super Telephoto Camera

iPhone 12 Concept Image Camera Credit: Hasan Kaymak
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Yes, we know that the iPhone 15 lineup has yet to officially debut, but how about an iPhone 16 Pro Max rumor? It’s not too early, right? Right? Anyway, a new rumor out of Asia claims that Apple’s 2024 iPhone 16 Pro Max will be the first iPhone model to be equipped with a super telephoto periscope camera, which will provide dramatically increased optical zoom capabilities.

The claim comes from a Weibo account that sports the moniker of Digital Chat Station, which has previously been accurate in sharing information about other upcoming Apple products.

As noted by MacRumors, a telephoto lens requires a focal length greater than 300mm to be labeled “super” or “ultra” telephoto. Such a lens can greatly magnify and focus on distant subjects. The two most recent iPhone lineups, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro, have telephoto cameras with a focal length equivalent to 77mm. That means a 300mm or larger focal length on the iPhone 16 Pro Max would be a massive leap.

Super telephoto cameras are generally used by professional photographers to shoot sports and wild animal photos. Additionally, super telephoto cameras usually result in extremely soft backgrounds, making them ideal for portrait photography, providing there is enough distance between the photographer and the subject.

Apple’s upcoming iPhone 15 Pro Max is expected to boast a periscope telephoto camera system. A periscope lens camera system would allow the light entering the iPhone’s back-facing telephoto lens to be reflected by an angled mirror toward the camera’s image sensor, allowing Apple to fit a longer telephoto setup inside the iPhone. This will allow users to zoom in closer on subjects without the blurriness of digital zooms. It would also be a big step toward this rumored improvement on the iPhone 16 Pro Max camera.

While the periscope telephoto lens is expected to be an iPhone 15 Pro Max-only feature, it’s also believed that Apple will bring the telephoto camera system to both iPhone 16 “Pro” models. However, it should also be noted that if the iPhone 16 Pro Max is the only model with a super telephoto camera system it would help Apple differentiate its two highest-end iPhone 16 models. An exclusive feature like this would help drive many customers to purchase the most expensive iPhone model.

The Weibo account also reiterated its previously published rumor that the iPhone 16 Pro Max’s camera sensor will be 12% larger, making it 1/1.14 inches in size. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models have a 1/1.28-inch sensor and the iPhone 15 Pro Max is expected to continue to use that sensor size. The larger a sensor’s size, the better a camera’s dynamic range and background blur. A larger sensor also enhances low-light photography capabilities.

It should be noted that Digital Chat Station did not call out the iPhone 16 Pro Max by name. However, it is believed to be referring to that iPhone model, due to the Weibo user’s previous predictions.

Previous reports have indicated that Largan Precision will be the sole supplier of the iPhone’s periscope lens system. However, more recent reports indicate that Genius Electronic Optical (GSEO) will also be brought on as a supplier of the camera module.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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