How the ZenFone Zoom Optical Zoom Mechanism Works?

January 3, 2016

The Asus ZenFone Zoom features a unique and innovative optical zoom mechanism. This mechanism allows the ZenFone Zoom to optically magnify the image up to 3 times. In conventional mobile phone and tablet cameras, the lens (or lenses) are arranged vertically and in parallel to the image sensor. The light travels through the lens to the image sensor.

This slim design of mobile devices obviously limit the amount of lenses and distance that they can be arrange one from the other. this is why most mobile phones have no optical zoom at all, or they have an optical zoom but at the cost of a thicker device profile.

What ASUS did is quite similar how an optical viewfinder works in a SLR camera, using mirrors to reflect light. The light is initially captured through a lens, but instead of letting the light pass through directly to the sensor, it is reflected onto a mirror. That mirror than reflects the light so it travels horizontally in parallel to the phone’s width. By doing so, there is more room for lens placement and more room to for lens movement, which can produce the optical zoom. At the far end, the light is reflected again against a mirror which transmit the light to the image sensor. This innovative optical zoom mechanism does take some space, but it’s much less intrusive and therefore the ZenFone Zoom only has a very slight bulge at its back.

The Asus ZenFone Zoom is only 12mm thick, which is sim enough to be comfortable in your pocket. In return, you get to enjoy a true 3x optical zoom, which allows you to get closer to your subject and enjoy full-resolution images in any zoom factor. It’s the thinnest 3x optical zoom phone in the world. the zoom mechanism doesn’t make any noise. It also uses 10-element HOYA lens that promote excellent clarity and crisp detailed image.

I’ve been researching a bit about this innovative design, and found an article on hoya.co.jp website, posted on August 1, 2013. This optical zoom mechanism which is called ‘CUBE lens unit technologies and lineup’ was designed by Hoya Group DCM SBU. You can see that it is 6mm in depth. You can see that unlike most mobile phone cameras, the ZenFone Zoom features a variable aperture and focal length of 28-84mm f/2.7-4.8 (the focal length is in 35mm conversion). This means that at the widest angle (28mm), the maximum aperture is f/2.7 and at the tele-end it’s f/4.8. It’s pretty slow compared to other smartphones, but this is the price that you pay if you want to have an optical zoom in such a slim phone. If Asus opted to use a faster aperture, it would have made the phone much more expensive and the lens compartment much thicker because it had to use larger lens elements.



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