When you think about it, it simply doesn't make sense! The modern smartphone camera is a marvelous accomplishment of imaging technology. As the camera in our phone has improved, it has become the equal of the compact camera and is approaching DSLR quality. In some cases it has exceeded that quality. Focus control is amazing. Exposure control is precise. Color balance is exceptional.
Perhaps we have gotten to the point where we all carry a camera that has a phone attached rather than the other way around.
It just doesn't make a lot of sense that with all of the amazing progress in other parts of phone camera development the zoom function is simply left out of the mix.
We keep hearing all of the admonishments to avoid the digital zoom. Even with the multi-lens cameras. Zoom with your feet. The digital zoom only enlarges the image and things get soft focused. Things get pixelated. All kinds of bad things happen.
But... we continue to hear about all of the marvelous things... about the "AI" in the camera...
Now, I have to admit that this all started when I went looking for an auxiliary lens for my phone. After comparing the images from my phone with those of several other cameras I have, like many others, decided that my phone is really my go-to camera. But I wanted to get a bit more "reach"... so I went looking. Frankly, the quality of the example photographs I saw for a number of even the four-star and five-star rated lenses ranged from just above poor to horrifying. Soft focus. Flat contrast. Vingetting. They were no better than what a digital zoom might be expected to give. Or so I thought.
But that one thought still kept at me... what about all of the astonishing "AI"...
So I took my single-lens camera-phone outside and shot a number of photographs incrementally increasing the zoom factor from 1.1x to 2.5x and guess what... the images held together from the base image (no zoom) through the 2.0x zoom factor. Above a zoom factor of about 2.3x images started to get a bit "soft"- not objectionable and frankly not enough that most people would notice, but to me it was a bit soft.
The images below were the very first done and, with the exception of resizing for this article, are exactly as they came out of the camera...
This gives me exactly what I need and, based on the examples, kept me from spending money only to end up moderately to highly disappointed. I have learned to stop worrying and love my digital zoom