Optical vs. Digital Zoom

Difference Between Optical And Digital Zoom

Optical Zoom

The Optical Zoom is so called because it uses optical elements (Concave and convex). It performs the function of bringing the subject to be recorded in clear view by changing the focal length. The difference between the minimum and maximum focal length is expressed in the ability of magnification focal length / focal minimal (For example, a 50-250 zoom lens can be defined 4X).

At first when they come into the market the images produced by them were of poor quality. Over the time they were evolved through improved Build quality. New features like stabilizer images have made today’s optical elements bestsellers.

Digital Zoom

The Digital zoom is a feature of many electronic devices equipped with a digital camera and more often is combined with optical zoom. This type of zoom brings the object to be photographed closer without the use of mechanical elements but using an optical digital function. The classic digital zoom enlarges the image multiplying the original pixels trying to guess those around you by using the missing mathematical algorithms. Another system of digital zoom more advanced involves the use of an image of high resolution from which the software crop an image with resolution lower but of good quality. For example, a person in an image of 5 megapixels can be enlarged by 3 megapixels maintaining optimum quality. This system is used on digital cameras.


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  • Justin

    This is a pretty poorly written summary, making imprecise inferences, and it ultimately misses the main point of what the difference is between optical zoom and digital zoom – optical zoom is real and digital zoom is a sloppy shortcut. You’ll be much better off reading either of the reference links than reading the article on this page.