View Full Version : Digital Zoom
08-07-2006, 03:47 AM
I wonder whether anybody uses digital zoom on a regular basis.
I have read in several books that it is best to stick with optical zoom, yet most cameras have digital zoom built in.
So what is its purpose ?
08-07-2006, 09:20 AM
I think the "digital zooms" number one purpose is for marketing.
I had 2 point and shoot cameras that went beyond optical zoom to digital zoom with an obvious falling off of quality.
I only tried the digital zoom option when I first got the cameras and didn't use it after that.
A few years ago, the max zoom was a number they could put on the box that was greater than the megapixels.
I never bought a point and shoot camera based on its zoom capabilities.
08-07-2006, 09:36 AM
Since any digital photo can be enlarged (or "zoomed in") using any photo editing program, the digital zoom only serves one purpose - it works as an additional zoom for people who have digital cameras and only have their images produced commercially, with no editing, or people who take the card out of the camera and plug it into a printer and print the photos SOOTC (Straight Out Of The Camera). Essentially, it's the traditional "snap-shooter" who would take advantage of this, but they will suffer a loss in quality.
And yes, it's main purpose is marketing, though anyone with experience will pay little heed to digital zoom.
08-07-2006, 09:50 AM
Many thanks for the quick replies. I was thinking along the same lines re. the marketing angle
08-08-2006, 06:48 PM
Hi Ron, yes that's right it's all marketing hype; they're just cropping the image in camera. Seems to me they think that the bigger the number they can print on the camera the more we're going to go for it. Well...:p to that :)
Welcome to the forum btw.
11-09-2006, 10:51 AM
Digital Zoom can come in handy. I was several blocks away from the Texas Capitol Building when I took this shot. My Canon S2-IS has 12X Optical Zoom but I was so far away I couldn't come close to capturing these windows without having to crop 90% of my pixels out. I was planning to print 16"x20" or larger, so saving pixels was critical. Against everything I'd heard, I decided to try the digital zoom feature (first time).
The camera was slow to focus at this length, but by propping myself against a truck, I was able to make the shot. A tripod would have been handy.
The image has been sharpened, straightened, and converted to black & white.
So, marketing hype - maybe, but I've found digital zoom to be useful in some situations.
11-09-2006, 10:58 AM
What would have been interesting is if you had also taken the same shot with the best optical zoom you have, without the digital zoom, and then cropped and enlarged to get the same composition as you got with the digital zoom. That would certainly tell you if the digital zoom was any better.
11-14-2006, 05:41 AM
I certainly never meant to imply that digital zoom was better -- even to the naked eye it's obviously not. But, if I'd gone the optical zoom, crop, and enlarge route -- even with "smart" enlarging software -- I would have killed way too many pixels to end up with a good-sized enlargement. I shoot with a 5 megapixel camera -- every pixel counts!
Of course, after I win the Lotto and have the $7,000 to drop on this 16.7 megapixel, hi-tech sweetheart:
and the appropriate lenses, I'll be singing a different tune!
11-17-2006, 12:07 PM
Digital zoom basically crops an image and enlarges the pixels through interpolation...this is why you get the loss in quality. It is a replacement for optical zoom in those impossibly skinny cameras that cannot house a mechanical optical zoom setup. At small zoom lengths, the loss is not as visible (to me anyway) but at longer lengths, it becomes increasingly apparent. So it's kind of a dilemma. Yes it is cheaper for long lengths, but at the cost of picture quality. I use an SLR for most of my photographs so it's a non-issue for me most of the time, but I also do own one of those impossibly thin cameras and I use the digital zoom sometimes to crop down a shot.
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