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Digital Zoom vs Optical Zoom
When a person goes to buy a digital camera, he or she gets attracted to the range of zoom available in a particular camera.
But there are two types of zoom and the maximum that one can get is a combination of the optical zoom and digital zoom.
This is what the manufacturers often push through to make their cameras attractive to the consumers. Now the question is which one is better, having a longer optical zoom or a higher digital zoom? To understand it, we will have to know a bit about the two types of zoom.
Optical zoom is what one can call the actual or true zoom. In this part the lenses of the camera rotate and move forward or backward in a barrel to actually enlarge the image of the object.
This is actually bringing the image closer in the way telescopes and binoculars work to give you a close view of some distant object. The benefit of this type of zoom is that the optical quality of the image does not get compromised.
You will find the rating of zoom in a camera is given in the form of 2x, 5x, 10x or 20x. These are nothing but how closer the image will get when zooming to the maximum. The cameras with higher level of optical zoom cost more.
Digital zoom is not actual zoom at all. It simply enlarges the image that is already there. So if you have a blurred image, it will enlarge that blurred image instead of bringing it closer and making it clear. It appears that the image has come closer because it simply grows in size as a result of enlargement.
But if you look closely you will find that actually the quality of the image has fallen drastically. The maximum digital zoom you might use in excellent lighting condition is 2x and not more than that. Here the 2x, 3x, 4x, etc. denotes the enlargement you will get as a result of using the digital zoom.
The greatest difference that you will find between the result of using optical zoom and digital zoom is when you go to print the pictures. You will find pixels appearing in the pictures where you have used digital zoom. So for best results buy only those cameras with higher optical zoom and not higher digital zoom.