iPhone 13 Pro has 3x optical zoom. How much farther will iPhone 15 camera let you zoom in?

The iPhone 15 camera system with its rumored periscope lens could let you zoom in up to ten times optically, one analyst has predicted. Here’s how that could work.

Photo showing a closeup of the rear cameras on Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
Image credit: Jeremy Bezanger / Unsplash


  • At least one of the iPhone 15 models in 2023 should have a periscope lens
  • It’d power a higher degree of optical zoom than the iPhone 13 camera
  • Some Android phones already deliver up to 10x optical zoom

The iPhone 15 camera system may feature 10x optical zoom

The iPhone 13 Pro Max camera provides 3x optical zoom, but the iPhone 15 camera system with its rumored periscope lens could let you zoom in up to ten times optically.

MacRumors has the story:

At least one iPhone 15 model launched in 2023 will feature a periscope camera system, allowing for increased optical zoom, according to analyst Jeff Pu.

The article doesn’t provide any details beyond stating that certain Android flagships like Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra and Huawei’s P40 Pro+ have periscope lenses featuring up to 10x optical zoom. “With the addition of a periscope lens,” the article speculates “the iPhone 15 Pro could follow suit” and provide a higher degree of optical zoom at up to 10x.

Optical zoom: iPhone 12 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

The iPhone 12 Pro Max’s 65 mm telephoto lens with an aperture of f/2.2 lets you zoom in optically up to 2.5. As opposed to digital zoom which lacks detail and markedly degrades image quality, optical zoom preserves all details because the camera’s optics are adjusted when zooming in. Read: How to take long exposure photos on iPhone

The 75 mm telephoto lenses on the iPhone 13 Pro models sport a smaller aperture than their iPhone 12 Pro counterparts. At the same time, the iPhone 13 family has larger sensors that capture more light for increased low-light performance. This lets you use Apple’s Night Mode with the iPhone 13 Pro telephoto camera for the first time.

In terms of optical zooming, both the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max up the ante with 3x optical zoom in and 2x optical zoom out when shooting photos, totaling an optical zoom range of up to 6x. You can also use up to 15x digital zoom when snapping photos and up to 9x digital zoom when shooting video. Read: How does a persicope leans work?

What’s a periscope lens?

Periscope lens is a technology that allows for a major increase in optical zoom capabilities a miniature lens array with its limited space simply cannot deliver. A typical smartphone periscope camera uses prisms and mirrors that bend the light 90 degrees, directing it deep inside the enclosure for magnification purposes.

The iPhone 15 family in 2023 will mark the first time Apple has made an iPhone with a periscope lens. According to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a periscope-lens iPhone is arriving in 2023 rather than in 2022 as he previously predicted.