The report looks into the rising popularity of telephoto lens-equipped smartphones and the reasons behind it
OPPO leads the trends and continues to bring the technology from flagship to mass-market models
January 2024 – A new report by market research firm Counterpoint sheds light on the evolving landscape of smartphone photography. According to Counterpoint Research’s most recent report, over 200 million telephoto lens-equipped smartphones were sold globally in 2022, with that figure expected to rise even further by 2024. The reason for this growing trend is because of consumers’ growing desire for telephoto photography, something that was once exclusively found in professional cameras. This emphasises the lens’s critical significance in current mobile photography as well as its widespread appeal.
Rising popularity of telephoto lenses in smartphones
Camera-related innovations have been a major factor guiding the direction of smartphone evolution over the past decade. Among them, the telephoto lens has become an important factor that determines how far the camera system can go. The penetration rate has increased over the years to more than 19 per cent in H1 2023, nearly 3 per cent higher than in H1 2022. This growth indicates a larger trend in consumer behaviour, showing a preference for smartphones with enhanced photographic capabilities.
The telephoto lens feature was initially available exclusively on premium smartphones. However, the study has also found that mass-market adoption of telephoto lens is increasing, particularly among sub-$400 segments. The increasing popularity of telephoto lenses in affordable smartphones mirrors consumers’ inclination for advanced features without the accompanying high cost. In acknowledgment of this demand, smartphone manufacturers have promptly responded by enhancing their mid-tier line-ups with telephoto capabilities, enabling a broader audience to partake in upgraded photography experiences that were traditionally exclusive to high-end models.
The significance of telephoto lens in mobile photography
The telephoto lens has become a staple of mobile photography, allowing users to capture images that stand out for their precision and elegance. Beside capturing a distant landscape, telephoto lens also stands out in shooting portrait as it can compress the subject and background and create dramatic bokeh effect, and the 50mm or 85mm equivalent focal length provides a field of view similar to human eyes with minimal distortions.
According to Counterpoint’s analysis, these lenses are becoming increasingly integrated into smartphones around the globe. The ability to zoom without sacrificing image quality, combined with the unique visual effects a telephoto lens can produce, has made it a popular choice among smartphone users. The proportion of smartphones equipped with a telephoto camera has increased both internationally and in China, reaching 19.3% and 24.4%, respectively, demonstrating the importance of telephoto lenses in today’s mobile photography environment.
OPPO’s pioneering role
The report also looks at OPPO’s role in popularizing telephoto lens technology. OPPO has been instrumental in making high-quality mobile photography accessible to the masses. The newly launched Reno11 series, positioned as “The Portrait Expert”, has been instrumental in bringing high-end telephoto lens features to more affordable smartphone models with the innovative “Telephoto Portrait” feature. This strategic move by OPPO has not only democratized access to professional-grade photography features but also underscored the brand’s position as a leader in mobile photography innovation.
The Reno11 series boasts features such as a 32MP 2x optical zoom camera powered by Sony IMX709 flagship sensor, enabling users to capture sharp, detailed images from a distance. The series also integrates advanced AI algorithms to enhance image quality, especially in portrait photography, providing users with the tools to capture life’s moments with unparalleled clarity and creativity.
Counterpoint’s analysis anticipates a positive outlook for telephoto lenses, affirming their pivotal contribution to the progression of mobile photography. The integration of telephoto lenses is just the beginning of a larger trend. The future of mobile photography is expected to see continual advancements, with telephoto lenses playing a significant role in how consumers capture and engage with the world around them. This trend is poised to redefine the standards of mobile photography, pushing the boundaries of what smartphones can achieve.