HTC's top imaging expert has claimed the company is well on the way towards launching a smartphone boasting a camera with optical zoom tech.

Speaking to the Vodafone blog, Symon Whitehorn says HTC is "not far away at all" from harnessing a key feature that could allow smartphones to encroach on DSLR territory.

He said: "Optical zooming in a smartphone is not too far off at all for HTC. I can't give too much away, but within 12-18 months we'll see huge advances in phone optics. That's why we don't necessarily believe in doing a high-resolution, photo enlarging solution.

"Everyone wants optical zooming, and that's on the horizon. We're trying to match the performance of dedicated cameras where one piece of glass inside it costs £3000 alone. We're never going to match that in the short term but we are getting towards those effects."

To soon for 4K?

Whitehorn said HTC is working towards improving smartphone camera tech to the point that it's harder to justify taking out a big camera and even buying one beyond "specialist and nostalgia reasons."

Elsewhere, the imaging guru also claimed HTC could release a 4K ready smartphone right now, but said the firm is "waiting until 4K can really fit into people's lives, and to make sure that that decision makes sense."

The firm has certainly been playing a huge focus on the camera tech within its latest phones.

The HTC One (M8) features Duo Camera Ultrapixel lenses that allow users to alter the depth of field after the fact. We're excited to see what's next.