Explaining Optical Zoom and Digital Zoom for Camera Buyers

Concerning digital cameras, there are two types of camera zooms, optical and digital.  These same descriptions fit video cameras too. Optical is the true zoom.  With optical, the camera’s lens is created to zoom in on an object.  The more optical zoom, the better.  Digital is a fake zoom.  Instead of zooming, digital cuts into the image making it appear like zoom.

Many times, the consumer runs across advertisement showing both zooms.  The digital is always longer than the optical zoom. Yet, one must always pay attention to the optical.  If a salesperson attempts selling you a camera based on digital zoom, walk away or find another salesperson.

Oh yea, as for optical zoom, be willing to pay more money.  The more optical, the more money leaves your wallet or purse.

All camera phones have digital zoom, and that’s why camera phone zoom sucks.

Observe.  I go to Cranes Roost in Altamonte Springs, Florida.  I see a bird.  Yet, the bird is far away.

A lake

Look what happens when I use my camera phone’s digital zoom.  You get an unclear image.

White bird at Cranes Roost Altamonte Spirngs, Florida

In the past on another blog, I’ve blogged bad pics I thought were a good idea at the time.  But an unclear image like this?  Never!   Look at how unclear the bird’s head is.  It could have been worse if I zoomed in even more.

This following pic illustrates a true zoom.  Using the zoom on my Canon Rebel DSLR, I photographed this camellia flower at Mead Gardens in Winter Park, Florida.  Actually, I placed a long telephoto lens on the camera.

Blooming flower.

Now, you see why digital zoom sucks and why optical performs a whole lot better.

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