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The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the superstar of the iPhone 15 lineup. However, it is far from perfect, especially with many pointing out how its 5x optical zoom is nothing compared to the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 10x optical zoom. Apple has now answered it, explaining different reasons behind its camera decisions.

In an interview with the French website Numerama, photographer and Apple VP of Software Jon McCormack and iPhone marketing senior director Maxime Veron mentioned different reasons. According to the former, Apple initially focused on practicality and what most users would just need.

Another argument put forward by Apple: optical zoom is only useful if the photos taken nearby are good. “If you look at the history of photography, the magic range is the 24-70 lens. You see the world expansively and up close .” Apple would prefer to offer excellent x0.5, x1, x2 (digital) views, rather than allowing you to go too far without closer focal lengths, when they are likely to be used the majority of the time.

Building from that argument, McCormack stressed that opting for 5x optical zoom would allow users to stabilize their cameras easily. “The x5 zoom is something that we can stabilize incredibly well,” McCormack told Numerama. “If you look at the 10x zoom, unless you have the steadiest hands in the world or a tripod, it’s really difficult to use. When we think about creating a feature, we always ask ourselves ‘Who will use it?'”

On the other hand, Veron stated that a lower zoom allows the iPhone 15 Pro Max to capture light in photographs better:

His colleague Maxime Veron has another argument, which is difficult to contest: “Our zoom opens at f/2.8, which allows us to obtain excellent light management.” It is true that compared to the f/4.9 aperture of the S23 Ultra’s periscope, the iPhone 15 Pro Max zoom appears better equipped to take beautiful night photos.

What do you think of these arguments? Are they enough to justify the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s zoom limitation? Let us know in the comment section!


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