Optical vs. digital zoom: What you need to know
Aug 17, · While optical zoom magnifies without losing image quality, digital zoom reduces it. And the more you zoom in, the worse the image quality gets. Enhance! Digital zoom, however, is having a bit of a moment. Optical zoom is expensive, both in terms of production cost and the tradeoffs necessary to add it to a thismestory.com: Harry Guinness. May 06, · Optical and digital zoom are two very different ways to snap a closer photo without moving your feet. Optical zoom — the only zoom that’s really worthwhile — .
Some camera features are worth paying for, while others seem to exist exclusively to print big numbers on the box to sway naive buyers. Optical and digital zoom are two very different ways to snap a closer photo without moving your feet. Now that the camera in your smartphone can boast either type, understanding the differences between optical and digital zoom can help you decide which device to buy, and it can also help determine how you shoot with the gear you have.
Optical zoom is created by moving the physical glass within a lens. Depending on how the glass elements are arranged, the lens will capture a wide angle or bring distant objects up close. A 24mm, for example, is a wide-angle, while a mm is a telephoto.
The X rating on a device, such what is optical and digital zoom mean 3x, 10x, or 83x, indicates the zoom multiplier, but not the actual focal length range.
Essentially, digital zoom is no different than if you cropped the photo in post. Because a cropped image tosses out pixels, digital zoom reduces resolution and image quality. Images start to get less detailed, less sharp, more pixelated, and noisier once you start using digital zoom.
Some manufacturers list a specification for a hybrid zoom — this is simply using the optical zoom and digital zoom together. If you use a 10x optical zoom and mix that with a 2x how to make money as a fitness model zoom or crop, you get a 20x hybrid zoom.
While a 20x hybrid zoom is better than a 20x digital zoom, image quality still degrades with the digital part of that optical-digital mix. Just a few years ago, smartphones only had digital zoom.
Paired with a tiny sensor, zooming in with a phone quickly became a pixelated mess. To imitate the appearance of a zoom lens, phones use digital zoom to transition from one lens to the next in a way that is mostly invisible to the user. This does mean that some quality is lost in these in-between stages. To maintain the highest quality, always manually select the lens. Huawei found a workaround for those size limitations, however, incorporating a 5x zoom lens in the P30 Pro.
The lens is actually oriented the wrong way, down the length of the smartphone instead of the narrow width. These folded optics use a mirrorso that, despite the lens running the wrong way, you still point the rear of the smartphone to snap a photo. The feature, introduced on Google Pixel 3 modelscaptures several photos instead of a single photo and stitches them together.
That increases the resolution, so the loss of detail that zooming in creates is much less noticeable. Stick to optical zoom. Here, digital zoom is often unavoidable, given the size constraints of the device. This has forced companies to invent novel ideas to get around the usual limitations of digital zoom, technologies that will only improve going forward. Artificial intelligence is also being used to improve image upscaling, which could also lead to better digital zoom in the future.
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What is optical zoom?
Aug 20, · With optical zoom, a camera can give great image quality at any focal length, wide or telephoto. With digital zoom, a camera will give its best image quality at its widest focal length, and “zooming in” will actually be equivalent to just cropping in from that widest angle. Digital Zoom Technology Is Improving. Nov 08, · There are two basic ways of zooming in photography: optical zoom and digital zoom. Optical zoom leverages the physical change in a lens to adjust the distance between camera sensor and subject, whereas digital zoom uses magnification technology to enlarge an area of an image (thereby compromising the integrity of the picture by cutting down on the megapixels). An optical zoom is a true zoom lens, like the zoom lens you’d use on a film camera. They produce much better-quality images. Digital zoom: Some cameras offer a digital zoom, which is simply some in-camera image processing. When you use a digital zoom, the camera enlarges the image area at the center of the frame and trims away the outside edges of the picture.
Optical zoom is used while taking a picture using a camera to get a close shot of the subject without moving physically closer. Digital zoom is a part of digital cameras , and camcorders , which helps to crop the entire image, and then digitally enlarge the size of the viewfinder of the portion that is needed to zoom in on. While taking a picture, the photographer may need to focus on one area in the picture frame.
When using the zoom feature the camera enlarges that area to fit the full picture frame. Optical zoom lenses physically extend to magnify the subject. When the user rotates a special button or presses the switch to the subject is either magnified or reduced in size. The user can take a photo of the subject from a greater distance and still get a clear, close-up image in a higher rating optical zoom camera.
The concept of optical zoom is the same as the zoom on a non-digital camera. Optical zooms have adjustable focal length and every optical zoom lens has a range. By changing the focal length the photographer can make objects appear bigger and fit in the full photo frame.
When satisfied with the zoom position he can shoot the photo by simply applying the shutter button. Through digital zoom technique one can decrease or narrow down the apparent angle of view of an image. It is accomplished by cropping the image down to a centered area with the same aspect ratio as the original, and enlarging the result back up to the pixel dimensions of the original. This is done electronically, without any adjustment of the camera's optics.
As enlarging disturbs the original pixel layout of the image, which is captured by the camera's image sensor, it reduces the image quality. With digital zoom, photographers use built-in software in the camera to define a portion of the photo. After selecting the portion, the software crops the rest of the photo and enlarges the selected area to fit the complete photo frame.
The software calculates new values for the pixels that were cropped in order to result in a full frame photo. The main disadvantage of this digital process is that the enlarged photo quality is lower than the original photo taken. For example, lets us assume that a photographer has a 2MP 2 megapixels camera, and he wants to zoom in 2X. He applies the digital zoom. To accomplish this zoom the camera crops half of the photo and enlarges the other half to create a 2X zoom effect.
In the process a 1MP area is discarded. The other 1MP area is enlarged in a process that copies every pixel once to generate a 2MP photo. Although the new photo seems to include 2MP it really includes only 1MP of information. This results in a photo with a quality equivalent to a 1MP photo.
Optical zoom capabilities can make a big the difference in the final photo. The higher the optical zoom, the photographer can take the photo of the subject from a greater distance and still can get a clear quality shot. In digital zoom, enlarging the "zoomed" area reduces the image resolution and the image quality.
So using digital zoom is not a good idea. The same kind of enlarging, cropping can be done later, using photo editing softwares, like Adobe Photoshop. In fact using PC software is always the preferred method to built-in digital zoom since it allows the photographer to try different zoom sizes, different zoom areas and different zoom algorithms while not losing the original photo.
While cameras may have a digital zoom of over x, cameras are generally restricted to a zoom of 25x. In terms of simple zooming capability, it may mean that digital zooms bring a picture closer or zoom closer but since they lose picture quality so they do not capture the picture well.
So a 25x optical zoom may turn out better results than a x digital zoom also. When cameras are advertised, they have much much higher digital zoom than optical zoom. This is a good video that explains what digital and optical zoom are and the differences between them:. Share this comparison:. If you read this far, you should follow us:. Diffen LLC, n.
Digital Zoom vs. Optical Zoom. Comparison chart Digital Zoom versus Optical Zoom comparison chart Digital Zoom Optical Zoom About Digital zoom is a part of digital cameras, and camcorders, which helps to crop the entire image, and then digitally enlarge the size of the viewfinder of the portion that is needed to zoom in on While taking a picture using a Camera to want to get a close shot of the subject without moving physically closer, photographers use the optical zoom.
Function Digital zoom crops the image down to a centred area with the same ratio as the original, and also interpolating the result back up to the pixel dimensions of the original. Optical zoom, enlarges a picture while keeping the resolution and sharpness of the picture high. Resolution and image quality Digital zoom, crops a portion of the image and then enlarges it back to size. And due to this, image quality is reduced in comparison with the original one. There is no relation between optical zoom and the resolution of the photo, as optical zoom only enlarges the whole image or the subject to a certain range.
So image quality only depends upon the mega pixel MP of the camera. Use Using the digital zoom allows the user to get closer to the subject when the photographer wants to be discreet about taking pictures, like taking a picture of a person in a graduation ceremony.
Optical zoom is very useful, while taking a picture of a landscape, or to get a closer view of a subject, without reducing the quality of the entire image, like taking a picture of a Rainbow in the sky.
Digital zoom crops the image down to a centred area with the same ratio as the original, and also interpolating the result back up to the pixel dimensions of the original. The optical zoom ratio of a digital camera measures how much the lens can actually zoom in to make subjects appear closer. Digital zoom, crops a portion of the image and then enlarges it back to size.
Using the digital zoom allows the user to get closer to the subject when the photographer wants to be discreet about taking pictures, like taking a picture of a person in a graduation ceremony.