How To Compare Digital Zoom Versus Optical Zoom

Digital photography can be more thrilling with the use of zooming features in cameras. The zoom power of your camera gives you the chance to bridge the distance between you and your subject. It allows you to get closer without stepping in closer. This feature is particularly useful for instances where you do not want to offset the aura of the moment, or if there is a barrier preventing your from getting closer. But while the zoom feature is useful, a question for many is the difference between digital zoom and optical zoom. Here is a comparison of the two types of zooms, to allow you to decide which is best for which photo opportunity.

  1. Digital lenses enlarge the cropped image. This process of cropping and enlarging an image is termed as interpolation. Here, pixels are enlarged to make the image larger. Image quality, however, does not improve since no additional pixels are added. Pixels are the units of information in digital photography. More pixels mean more details. 
  2. If digital zoom depends on the process of interpolation, optical zoom is solely reliant to its lens’ focal power. An ordinary lens gives you a “real image.” On the other hand, the lens of an optical zoom camera allows you to get closer to your image without the need to move physically. The image capture depends on the focal length of your lens. For example, an 85 mm can capture portraits while a 10 mm can capture landscapes a lot better. Unlike the digital zoom, an optical zoom brings sharper images for its user.
  3. Optical zoom works like a microscope. Once an image is subject to its process, it spreads the details of the picture and consequently, makes the image appear larger. In an optical zoom, instead of spotting a little insect, you can see a huge creepy insect with full details of its wings, eyes, and mouth. Digital zoom, on the other hand, is like stepping closer to a painting: the more you get closer, the easier you will see the image and the larger the pixels emerge. If your subject calls for distant capturing, choose an optical zoom. If your subject does not require a bit of distance for capturing, use a digital zoom.
  4. When it comes to file size, the digital zoom cameras can provide you with smaller files that will allow you to store more images in your hard disk. This is because of the smaller number of pixels found in digital zoom cameras. Optical zoom cameras, on the other hand, have bulkier files that can easily amount to several megabytes per file. If you prefer quantity to quality in terms of stored digital files, choose digital cameras. If you can settle for fewer files that come with higher resolutions, choose optical zoom cameras.

Cameras are becoming more and more accessible for a growing number of people. If you are planning to get one for yourself, choose a camera with the type of zoom lens that you will use – digital zoom for simple photographs, and optical zoom for complex art photos.


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