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Camera’s and Optical compared to digital zoom types

March 19th, 2012 · No Comments

Today’s cameras come with two listed zooms, Optical and Digital, I will attempt to explain in short order the difference between the two.

An Optical lens is just like binoculars, you truly zoom from where you are to where the subject of your picture is. The higher the optical zoom the closer you can get to the subject matter. This is  great for sports and nature shots where you cannot be right on the space of a Grizzly bear or down on the baseball diamond. The quality of the picture taken no matter what the zoom is will be the same. If you blow up an image taken via optical zoom, it remains a quality picture (to a certain point).

Digital zoom was a word developed to sell more cameras. Much like the word “Sniper” or “Tactical” on a firearm or ammunition. Same product with a fancy word to increase sales and price.

Now, I am not against digital zoom, I just want to be sure we fully understand what it is and means. Digital zoom is simply cropping the picture, not actually zooming in. The more you zoom the lower the quality and more pixelated the image becomes. This zoom is simply removing the image around your cameras subject, and is why you see blocky images at times, when you look at a picture, expecially enlarged pictures.

Now, before someone freaks out, please remember, the higher the “mega pixels” in a camera the clearer the zoomed image. Basically a pixel is the number of dots in a certain area, so 1.3 mega pixels is 1.3 million dots 9of color making up the picture) while 8 mega pixel would be 8 million dots in the same amount of space, this makes for a “clearer” image and for one that can be blown up to a larger size or zoomed in further.

For example, a 1.3 Megapixel camera with a 3x optical zoom will be very grainy, while a 3 Megapixel camera will be clearer, with an 8 Megapixel camera giving the best of these three cameras quality.

So if you are using a digital camera or looking to purchase one, make sure you know how much you will need to zoom in, if you are not sure, go with the highest megapixel and the highest optical zoom you can afford.

Until we meet again, have a virus free week.

Tags: Non-Tech · Soap Box

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