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Old Wednesday 12th May 2010, 14:25   #1
samdennis1675
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Better quality with Opt. or Dig. zoom?

I just got a Kodak z915 camera with 10X optical zoom and 5X Digital zoom. Obviously for wildlife I want the closest view. My question is is it better to use the 10X optical zoom and crop the photo, or will final quality probably be better using the digital zoom? Is there a rule of thumb for that? I have lots of experience with film (35mm) cameras, but this is my first digital camera. Thanks.
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Old Wednesday 12th May 2010, 15:16   #2
Shaggy2070
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I found with my Fuji s5600 I got better image quality cropping the optical zoom shot rather than using the digital zoom.
So I would say don't digi-zoom just crop.
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Old Wednesday 12th May 2010, 22:26   #3
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Optical zoom is real magnification, achieved with glass (the lens) that does project a larger image onto the sensor. Optical zoom is good.

Speaking in general terms, without reference to any camera in particular, digital zoom is a faked magnification, with the camera doing a crop internally and then (possibly) buggering up your file to try to invent enough pixels to give you a file as large (in total pixels) as one without the digital zoom. At its best, digital zoom will probably accomplish nothing that you cannot do for yourself in editing software. At its worst it will do things to your file that you would really wish it hadn't. Almost certainly you should avoid digital zoom like the plague.
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Old Wednesday 12th May 2010, 22:36   #4
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I agree with the others, that a crop done afterwards will be better. As a rule, save a copy of the edited image: if you later get better at processing images, you can go back and improve the edited version if the original still exists.

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Old Thursday 13th May 2010, 08:50   #5
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I agree with the others, I've never actually seen the point of digital zoom, anyone any ideas? maybe just a marketing ploy, personally I think its fairly useless!
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Old Thursday 13th May 2010, 14:44   #6
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There are two types of digital zoom.

The first, often called smart zoom, uses a smaller part of the sensor to make an image of smaller pixel dimensions but with more of the subject in. Often you first have to pick a smaller image size to access it. This is exactly the same as taking a larger image and cropping it on the computer which is fine if you have a computer, I know folk with digital cameras that just take the card into Boots and get printouts. One advantage of doing it on camera rather than in computer is that the image will be focused and exposed for the zoomed in area rather than the total zoomed out area.

The second sort of digital zoom is where the centre of the sensor is used but the image is increased in size back up to the original pixel dimensions. This increase is done by interpolating, guessing!, the extra pixels. It works OK for a few % but after that it looks awful. It is mainly used in video cameras, where the final pixel dimensions are fixed, but can be seen in phone cameras and some cheaper digital cameras.

I can see the point of the first type if you don't like playing about with your pictures on a computer. The second type is hard to justify but for a lot of folk the content is all that matters, they would rather have a bigger but worse image of whatever than a smaller but better one.

If you don't like it you can turn it off.
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Old Thursday 13th May 2010, 15:15   #7
njlarsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mono View Post
There are two types of digital zoom.

The first, often called smart zoom, uses a smaller part of the sensor to make an image of smaller pixel dimensions but with more of the subject in. Often you first have to pick a smaller image size to access it. This is exactly the same as taking a larger image and cropping it on the computer which is fine if you have a computer, I know folk with digital cameras that just take the card into Boots and get printouts. One advantage of doing it on camera rather than in computer is that the image will be focused and exposed for the zoomed in area rather than the total zoomed out area.

The second sort of digital zoom is where the centre of the sensor is used but the image is increased in size back up to the original pixel dimensions. This increase is done by interpolating, guessing!, the extra pixels. It works OK for a few % but after that it looks awful. It is mainly used in video cameras, where the final pixel dimensions are fixed, but can be seen in phone cameras and some cheaper digital cameras.

I can see the point of the first type if you don't like playing about with your pictures on a computer. The second type is hard to justify but for a lot of folk the content is all that matters, they would rather have a bigger but worse image of whatever than a smaller but better one.

If you don't like it you can turn it off.
I have only seen the first type in Panasonic, but agree that it can be usefull to some extent. For the second type, only useful for someone without a computer to do the work afterwards.

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