Digital Camera Tips: Digital vs Opitcal
Digital Zoom vs. Optical Zoom
People are always asking, "Is There Any Difference Between Digital And Optical Zoom?"
There certainly is. Today's first question
should really be," When Is A Zoom Not A Zoom?" because
that's practically what it amounts to when it comes
to digital vs. optical zoom. Let
There's a HUGE difference. Digital zoom isn't a true zoom -it just electronically enlarges the elements in the center of the frame to look like you've zoomed in. In other words, it really just magnifies the image, something like a magnifying glass would do.
It produces a grainy looking picture
because there are no more pixels in the picture than
when you started. Most of the time, you can get the
same results with photo software. But to be fair, a
digital zoom can sometimes come in handy to "crop" your
An optical zoom, however,
An optical zoom allows you to get closer
to the subject without moving. A camera lens with a
2X zoom range won't bring you in as "close" to
a subject as a 4X zoom lens. So if you like to get
closer shots, get more zoom. It's especially important
if you're taking sports or macro photos, or doing
Zoom ranges on digital cameras vary from
3X to 12X. Most cameras are in the 3X or 4X range.
Higher zoom ranges, such as 10X are great for nature
and sports photography, but need to
One of my pet peeves are the frequently
advertised phrases —" total zoom," "complete
zoom" or "seamless zoom." These
terms are totally misleading. The advertisors simply take the digital zoom and
either add it or multiply it against the
It's a clever trick but nothing could be further from the truth. There's no way the digital zoom can multiply or even enhance the distance of the optical zoom. Only pay attention to the optical zoom because that's the only zoom that will be of real use to you in bringing your subject up close effectively.
Anyone who starts using a digital camera soon realizes how important batteries are. They're a necessity you can't get away from. In the next lesson, we'll cover a few important points about digital camera batteries you need to know.
See you next time!
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