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Optical Zoom without a Camera Bump? Samsung Electro-Mechanics Starts Production of Ultra-slim 5x Optical Zoom Camera Modules

2019-05-20

◇ 5x optical zoom at a lower height than 2x optical zoom
◇ 2.5x focal length increase with a periscope structured camera module
◇ Custom products available due to lens, actuator, and other core component technologies


Samsung Electro-Mechanics (CEO Yun Tae Lee) has developed an ultra-slim 5x optical zoom camera module. Starting this month, Samsung Electro-Mechanics will be mass producing camera modules that offer 5x optical zoom at a lower height than current 2x optical zoom allows.


Optical zoom allows for zooming in on a distant subject by moving the lenses in a camera module. A larger distance between the image sensor and the lens allows for higher optical zoom magnifications. 5x optical zoom requires a focal length 2.5x longer than 2x optical zoom. That is why high-magnification optical zoom requires taller camera modules, resulting in the derisive nickname “Katuktwi (a camera bump, Korean acronym for ‘protruding rear camera’).”


Unlike the conventional method of stacking sensors and lenses on top of each other (vertically), Samsung Electro-Mechanics achieved high-magnification optical zoom without increasing height by using a distinctive periscope structure. By refracting incoming light at right angles and placing sensors and lenses horizontally, Samsung Electro-Mechanics succeeded in lowering the module’s height to less than that of a 2x optical zoom camera module while securing a 2.5x longer focal length.
Furthermore, Samsung Electro-Mechanics reduced the height even further by creating a new shape for the normally round lens. As a result, Samsung Electro-Mechanics succeeded in developing a 5X optical zoom camera module of 5mm, whereas a typical 2x optical zoom module is about mid-6mm.


Vice President Jung Kyun Cho, Head of Camera Module Team at Samsung Electro-Mechanics, said that, “This product can solve the camera bump problem, which is considered the weak point of high-resolution and high-magnification optical zoom lens smartphone cameras. Because Samsung Electro-Mechanics designs and manufactures its own core components such as lenses and actuators, we can provide differentiated products.”


Since Samsung Electro-Mechanics entered the camera module market in 2003, it has developed products such as the world’ first OIS (Optical Image Stabilizer) dual camera module and variable aperture camera module, and these components are used in major premium smartphone models. In addition, based on its mobile sector technologies, Samsung Electro-Mechanics also plans to expand its business with global automakers through distinctive automotive camera modules.


※Camera Module
A component that converts light (optical) signals into digital image signals. Used for taking pictures or videos.
※Optical Zoom
A technology that allows for zoomed recording of a distant subject without quality degradation by physically moving lenses within the camera module, functioning in the same way as a telephoto lens. cf] In the case of digital zoom, the recorded image is enlarged using software, so higher zoom levels mean more image quality degradation.


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