Digital or Optical Zoom lens ?

Digital cameras have for long been marketed on more than one count: megapixel count and zoom level. Of the two, megapixel count has been projected more appropriately than zoom levels. The lines between optical and digital zoom are often blurred and marketers often combine the two to tell buyers that they are getting a 12X zoom camera. In reality, what you may be buying is a 4X optical zoom multiplied by 3X digital zoom that makes it 12X. So what’s the big deal, really? Optical, digital… zoom is zoom, right? Wrong.


There is a world of difference between the digital and optical zoom. We cannot stress enough on the loss of quality in an image, which is a result of the use of the digital zoom when shooting instead of the optical zoom. The whole hullabaloo when you see your new digital camera and notice it has a large digital zoom, which makes you smile is in reality technically of no use.

Digital zoom is not a new phenomenon and one can obtain it on their computer system too. Truly speaking, on the computer, digital zoom is more independent as you can select a particular part of the picture and zoom into it to get a magnified view of that particular part. Digital zoom is nothing but simply enlarging one part of your image without actually getting closer to the whole object. As the pixels are stretched, you can see once you have zoomed into the image, the image seems a bit distorted. What it does is a simple stretching effect, so if you do a digital zoom to click a clear picture and get the crisp and prominent details then that’s an effort gone in vain.

So if you are getting confused while buying a digital camera, wondering which one to buy, a camera with more or less digital zoom and if you are compromising on the megapixel count, the wiser thing is to buy a camera with higher megapixel value as the digital zoom can be achieved on the computer system too. Honestly, you aren’t recommended to use any digital zoom.

Is digital zooming all that bad? No, not really and it is just an additional feature in your camera generally used mainly in desperate times when there is no option.

But as digital cameras have now begun to offer both optical as well as digital zoom let us see how the function actually matters. In digital cameras that offer optical zooms, the function is similar too a zoom lens of a conventional analog camera. A conventional lens works by accumulating light rays that are projected over a portion of a film, and in this case of a digital camera optical sensor. The distance of the lens from the focus point where all of the light rays converge is known as the focal length of the lens. Unlike the optical zoom, the digital zoom works by ranging the pixels in the ultimate image after the image has been captured. The fact remains that the same number of pixels are collected when the photograph is magnified. The only thing that alters is the light rays that are projected over the optical sensors to figure out those pixels.

On the other hand, the important factor to see when you buy a camera is optical zoom, because it is common intuition that an optical lens is far better than digital zoom. Optical zoom is basically like a telescope, which makes the image closer and does not distort it. Optical zoom brings you closer to the subject that needs to be photographed without distorting the image. Hence in cameras, it is wiser to look for larger optical zoom than digital zoom. Optical zoom and digital zoom are both used to enlarge the picture but they both work on different principles. Optical zoom should be the main factor to pay more while you buy a digital camera, as it gives full justice to obtain a larger picture or in other words gets far objects near without distorting the image and gives you a crisp and sharper image which cannot be obtain with digital zoom.

In general both cases, optical as well as digital have good and bad qualities but if you are looking for a crisp and sharp image of an object it is much wiser or more likely to use optical zoom as it is the only way you can achieve it and hence the whole sham of digital zoom stays no right while buying a digital camera or does not help to take good quality pictures either.