Samsung Electro-Mechanics has developed an ultra-slim optical 5x zoom camera module, which will enter mass-production later this month.
Optical zoom allows a user to zoom in on a distant object and take a picture by moving the lenses in the camera module. The larger the distance between the image sensor and the lenses, the higher the magnification of optical zoom. However, the optical 5x zoom requires a 2.5x longer focal length than the optical 2x zoom. In order to establish a high optical zoom, the height of the camera module has to be increased, causing protrusion of the rear camera.
Samsung Electro-Mechanics says it achieved high-magnification optical zoom without increasing the height by using the periscope structure instead of the conventional method of stacking sensors and lenses vertically. By refracting the incoming light at right angles and placing sensors and lenses in the horizontal orientation, the developers lowered the height of the 2x optical zoom camera module, while securing 2.5x longer focal length. In addition, the developers changed the shape of lens, which is usually circular, in the camera module to further reduce the height.
The size of the new 5x optical zoom camera module is 5 mm, which is lower than the typical mid-6 mm height of 2x optical zoom modules.