A new research note about the hybrid glass-plastic lenses that Huawei is planning to use for the P70 Art, one of its first flagship models for 2024, and that Apple used on the iPhone 15 Pro Max was published today by TF International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Such a hybrid lens, which provides up to 5x optical zoom, is used by the Tetraprism periscope camera in the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The designation 1G3P indicates that one part glass and three parts plastic make up that lens.
According to Kuo’s research note, there will be some changes in the industry as a result of the Huawei P70 Art and iPhone 15 Pro Max using glass-plastic hybrid lenses. Kuo believes that instead of using lower-quality wafer-level glass in these hybrid lenses, this trend will lead to the use of molding or spherical glass. Additionally, according to the analyst, 1G3P lenses are starting to compete more with 8P lenses, which are composed of eight plastic lenses. The lower height of the 1G3P lenses is an advantage, and they are becoming more reasonably priced than the 8P lenses.
In terms of cost, the Huawei 1G3P hybrid lens costs $12 when it is still in prototype form. As yield rates rise, the analyst sees the price in mass production falling to $6–$7. Apple plans to incorporate the Tetraprism lens into the iPhone 16 Pro next year, thanks to increased yields at Largan.
Glass-plastic hybrid lenses, according to the analyst, will be more adept at correcting lens deformation brought on by compact camera module (CCM) design. The fact that Kuo predicts more expensive phones to use glass-plastic hybrid lenses—a move that follows Apple and Huawei as an example—may be the most significant aspect of his observation. Given that Huawei develops HarmonyOS and Apple uses iOS, Kuo must be discussing the use of this optical technology in flagship and high-end Android phones.
As of right now, Kuo states that “Largan and Sunny Optical are the leading manufacturers of glass-plastic hybrid lenses”. But since Largan has more experience in this field and has an advantage with plastic lenses, Kuo chooses Largen, saying it “has a higher advantage over Sunny Optical.”