Digital Zoom Versus Optical Zoom

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When using cameras, an optical zoom is real zoom that is changing the focal length of the camera, while digital zoom is a computer-generated zoom that takes away from the quality of an image. Find out why optical zoom is optimal over digital zoom with help from a videographer in this free video on cameras and zooming options.

Part of the Video Series: Digital & Video Cameras
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Video Transcript

Hi my name is James Flint. I'm a photographer and videographer and I'd like to take a minute to talk to you about digital zoom versus optical zoom. Basically optical zoom is real zoom that is changing is changing the focal length of your camera. As you can see here the lens on my camera switches and has a range from 18 millimeters to 70 millimeters and you know zooming in with this camera is a true optical zoom. Now a less expensive lower end consumer based camera that can still have optical zoom but some of them have what is called digital zoom and this is more like a computer generated zoom and it's really going to take away from the quality of your images. Basically the thing to take away from this conversation is you want to go with optical zoom, you want to stay away from digital zoom. Every camera is going to advertise it. If it is a fixed lens camera where you are not removing the lens that's where you really need to determine does this thing have a digital zoom or an optical zoom? This consumer based video camera has an optical zoom. It is 12 times optical zoom so it will allow you to zoom in and out and it is actually changing the focal length of the built in lens. If your camera has a digital zoom feature, I recommend just leaving it off, don't use it. If you find that the camera you are using doesn't have enough zoom and it is not able to get closer to things you are photographing or filming you probably just want to get a camera that has some removable lenses so you can get a better lens and have the optical zoom. So in review digital zoom is created by the computers, it is not really the lens doing it whereas optical zoom is a true zoom created by a lens and that is what we recommend. Stay away from digital zoom and use optical zoom.

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