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A true zoom lens, also called a parfocal lens, is one that maintains focus when its focal length changes. Most consumer zoom lenses do not maintain perfect focus, but are still parfocal designs. Most camera phones that are advertised as having optical zoom actually use a few cameras of different but fixed focal length, combined with digital zoom to make a hybrid system.
The convenience of variable focal length comes at the cost of complexity – and some compromises on image quality, weight, dimensions, aperture, autofocus performance, and cost. For example, all zoom lenses suffer from at least slight, if not considerable, loss of image resolution at their maximum aperture, especially at the extremes of their focal length range. This effect is evident in the corners of the image, when displayed in a large format or high resolution. The greater the range of focal length a zoom lens offers, the more exaggerated these compromises must become.