Despite having a telephoto camera module, iPhone 11 Pro zoom is still far behind the top performers that use Super-Resolution Zoom.
Zoom has recently become one of the most important features of smartphone cameras with the leading OEMs advertising their devices achieving high picture quality at sometimes crazy zoom levels.
Like every high-end smartphone, iPhone 11 Pro uses a dedicated telephoto camera module to achieve the maximum zoom quality. It appears, however, that simply utilizing a telephoto module, even of a great design and quality which is undoubtedly the case with an Apple product, is not enough to achieve the top zoom performance. According to the DxOMark benchmark, iPhone 11 Pro achieves a Zoom Score of 74 while, for example, Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro hits 110, a drastic 1.5x difference!
To go beyond the camera hardware capabilities, top Zoom performers utilize a computational imaging technique, Super-Resolution Zoom. As its name suggests, it uses a super-resolution technique to increase the resolution of the images suffering from the lack of pixels in case the target zoom level exceeds the optical zoom of the telephoto module.
For example, a device with a 12 MP 2x telephoto module at 4x zoom practically does a 2x zoom with the telephoto module, using only 1/4 of its sensor, or just 3 Megapixels.
Besides improving the resolution, Super-Resolution Zoom also increases the SNR, lost due to the small aperture of a telephoto module, the higher the optical zoom level – the smaller is the aperture.
We made a few tests to check how Almalence Super Resolution Zoom, the most advanced digital zoom technology, would improve iPhone 11 Pro zooming capabilities. Check a couple of examples below:
The pictures speak for themselves. Apple can definitely achieve better zoom picture clarity by utilizing a computational super-resolution technology.