Breaking News

Digital Photography Training – Digital Versus Optical Zoom

Digital Photography Training – Digital Versus Optical Zoom

Simple digital cameras offer plenty of features for you to get creative with, although they are naturally more limited than a digital SLR camera. It can be frustrating trying to work out how to get the most out of your new toy.

One feature often promoted and rarely understood by beginning photographers is the digital zoom. Even more confusing is the fact that most digital cameras also have what is called an optical zoom.

Twenty years ago, compact cameras simply didn’t have a zoom. If you wanted to zoom in close to a subject without physically getting closer, you’d buy a more expensive SLR camera with interchangeable lenses.

But technology has changed the camera immensely, giving us wide variety and endless choice.

Why are my zoom photos blurry and dull?

If you have been taking photos using the camera’s inbuilt zoom and been disappointed by the blurry, dull results, you need some basic digital photography training. Put simply, learning about the difference between the digital zoom and the optical zoom will help you make better choices on which to use. You can tell if a camera has an optical zoom. The lens will pop out – the longer the lens, the further it will see.

What they don’t tell you is that the optical zoom is a good quality lens – the digital zoom is little more than the camera computer enlarging your image to the point where it can ruin your photos with blur and low light pixilation.

More about pixels

Enlarge any digital image enough and you’ll notice it’s made up of tiny little squares. These are called pixels. Image quality is most often described in terms of how many pixels a photo has. A million pixels is equal to 1 megapixel (MP). Your camera is rated according to its effective megapixels, or the number of megapixels that actually appear in each photograph.

The more megapixels you have, the higher the resolution of your photos. Higher resolution is important for enlarging images or cropping and enlarging portions of images.

All digital photography training will teach you to beware the digital zoom

The digital zoom is a marketing gimmick allowing digital camera manufacturers to claim a higher zoom factor than their cameras can really achieve.

So, don’t rely on digital zoom. Assess a camera based only on the optical zoom. You will probably end up using part of the the digital zoom capacity rarely, only for shots where you’re more concerned about getting closeup than you are about picture quality.

Well, since digital zoom just enlarges an image area much the same as you would on the computer, by enlarging one tiny area, you are simply magnifying a sample of fewer pixels. You should expect a significant loss of quality, making your photos lose sharpness and clarity.

For great pictures, use the optical zoom only

Optical zoom will give you more pixels, hence a sharper image that can be blown up in printing to give a stunning result.

Like many, I never use the digital zoom on my camera, in fact it is usually turned off through one of the program settings. That way I won’t ruin a perfectly good shot by zooming beyond my cameras quality limits.