Is a Telephoto Lens Necessary in Mobile Phones? (2023 Updated)

is a telephoto lens necessary in mobile phones

Recently, one questions is asked most of the times and it’s what is the use if telephoto lens in mobile phones? Or is a Telephoto Lens Necessary in Mobile Phones or not?

One of the biggest arenas in which flagship smartphones can be compared is Photography and Video quality. New upcoming phones are so crowded with cameras on the rear side that they have three, four or even five cameras and lenses. One of these unlimited cameras has to be the telephoto lens if you really are buying a flagship smartphone.

The Telephoto lens is one of the lenses that is missing in mid-range smartphone. You can see it in flagship more expensive phones but not in mid-range. So, is a Telephoto Lens Necessary in Mobile phones? If yes, then what’s the use of it and why is it missing in mid-range?

Is a Telephoto Lens Necessary in Mobile Phones?

In short, Yes, a Telephoto Lens is better to have in a flagship phones because it’s a massive upgrade for camera but in mid-range, it is not necessary to have a telephoto lens, as there are many other factors like Memory, Processor to consider if your budget is tight.

Is it Good to Have a Telephoto Lens in Your Camera?

Yes, the telephoto lens is one of the best and useful lenses that come in a smartphone and should be available in mid-range phones but unfortunately, they are only available in costly flagship phones.

So, if you don’t have the budget, it’s not necessary to have a telephoto lens. You can have a macro lens, a wide-angle lens and even a depth sensor in place of a telephoto lens.

What is a Telephoto Lens and how does it work?

Normally, a smartphone telephoto lens lies in the range of 40mm to 50mm and their field of view is 25 degrees to 40 degrees. With the increase in focal length, the field of view decreases and due to which the lens can focus on the subject in a much better way. The image sensor can also process the image remarkably. This is the total working idea of a telephoto lens. But Why is it so Important?

Importance of Telephoto Lens

Most of the people think that telephoto lens is only important for zooming which is true but not the only true thing. There are a lot of other things about a telephoto lens you need to know. Let’s get into it.

Optical Zoom

Yeah right, let’s start from zoom. With a telephoto lens on your smartphone, you can have an optical zoom instead of a pixel-bursting digital zoom.

With the optical zoom, your image quality remains much better that the hybrid or electronic zoom but in case of a digital or electronic zoom, if you zoom 20x on a 48MP sensor, I am sure you will distinguish nothing.

Portrait Shots

Portrait is literally the most important thing about the telephoto lens. If you are an iPhone owner or know a friend with an iPhone, then you know that no one can beat iPhone in portraits. It’s mostly because iPhone includes telephoto lenses.

The telephoto lens compresses the perspective. It feels like it squeezes the foreground and the background and focuses on the subject in a very better approach. The meaning is that the main subject is focused better, and the background is blurred in a very well manner carefully cutting the edges.

With a portrait shot taken from a telephoto lens, both the focus and the background are clear and crisp Even in some situations, you won’t be able to differentiate between a DSLR and a telephoto lens shot taken with a smartphone.

Compress the Perspective and Makes the Subject Appear Closer

One of the most important reasons the convince photographers to switch to telephoto lens is that it compresses the perspective and makes the foreground and background very close to each other. The telephoto lens is a bigger lens having bigger optical zoom, so it makes the subject appear closer that actual which is sometimes very handy.


Confusion with Megapixel Race

Another confusion in phone cameras is that new cameras are coming with high numbers of megapixels manipulating the customers like from 16 to 48MP, from 48MP to 64MP and from 64MP to straight 108MP primary sensor in new phones. Even still these phones can’t beat iPhone’s 12MP sensors.

Why? Because of the telephoto sensors in iPhone cameras. Even with these higher numbers of megapixels the iPhone photo seems better and provides a better and detailed photo due to the telephoto lens. Isn’t it amazing?

Now let’s get into practical experiment. I will take an iPhone and another phone having normal sensor instead of a telephoto. I will take some photos and will compare their results at the end.

Why is a Telephoto Lens Better than a Depth sensor and an Ultra-wide? 

In flagship phones, the telephoto lens obviously outperforms the ultra-wide and depth sensors. The depth sensor as will be discussed further is of no practical use.

On the other hand, the ultra-wide is also an important lens, but still, I would like to have a telephoto lens because even if you can capture a wider view with a wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lens, still you cannot get the same clarity and details in the photos.

Depth Sensor vs Telephoto Lens

Practically, the depth sensor is just worthless according to me. It doesn’t have much applied use. The camera software can easily sense the depth and make the background blurred.

Bottom Line

We will conclude our post by saying that Yes! A telephoto lens is very important for taking amazing shots and is really required in mid-range but unfortunately, we don’t see any. There are a lot of sensors coming in modern smartphones like macro lens, ultra-wide, retro sensor, depth sensor but the one actually required, the telephoto is just missing.

No doubt, there is no way, you can malign the performance of a telephoto lens, but if you are buying a smartphone in a mid-range, then you don’t necessarily need to look for a telephoto lens. There are many other specs you need to nee like the Processor, Ram, ROM, Display, Battery etc.

Well, in case if you are buying a flagship, then I will recommend looking for the telephoto lens must because you can’t call your phone a flagship without a telephoto lens.

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