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(Pocket-lint) - It's no surprise the camera market has massively declined in recent years. Phone cameras have been getting better and better. Except, typically, for one thing: their lack of optical zoom.

However, 2019 could see all that change, as reports suggest that Samsung is in late talks to acquire an Israeli company, Corephotonics, which specialises in optical design. And, rumour has it, there's a 25x optical zoom in the pipeline. How about that for your next Galaxy phone, eh?

Samsung has a long history with both cameras and phones, including various attempts to meld the two into one - hark back to 2012's Galaxy Camera, followed by the 2014 sequel, neither of which made much sense - but it's in the company's Galaxy series of phones that it has really started to succeed. The Galaxy S9+, for example, has a great camera unit.

Zoom in phones has typically been digital, i.e. a case of cropping into the image to give the impression of zoom. But that can only work so far, as it's not really possible to resolve distant detail without an optical resolution. We've seen some soft attempts, with 3x zoom in the Huawei P20 Pro, the current best solution.

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There's more to come too. Oppo has a 5x optical zoom module in the works, with a 10x zoom expected after. Whether these designs are from Corephotonics is unclear. So if Samsung can get a foot in against Oppo - which is one of the largest phone makers in the world (despite no UK presence - a launch is imminent) - then a 25x module would be the headline-grabbing, camera-killing feature that could cement its future as the phone maker to beat.

These are only reports for now; there's no confirmation as to whether a deal will be made, nor what that will truly mean for your future handset. But it likely spells exciting developments.

Writing by Mike Lowe. Originally published on 29 January 2019.