Optical Zoom vs. Digital Zoom

Optical Zoom vs. Digital Zoom

There are 2 different types of zoom:

  1. Useless zoom – also known as digital zoom
  2. Useful zoom – also known as optical zoom

Digital Zoom – Useless Zoom

Digital zoom takes the image already captured and magnifies it. The pixels are enlarged resulting in a reduced resolution. I’m sure you’ve seen this with images you’ve taken – when blown up it looks blurry or fuzzy. This is the useless zoom as you reduce the resolution.

Optical Zoom – Useful Zoom

Optical zoom on the other hand enlarges the image before it gets to the image sensor meaning the full resolution captures the area of the image you are interested in.


An example to illustrate using the promotional die cast car from the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway in 2016:

Original Image Digital Zoom Optical Zoom
Original Image for Optical vs Digital Zoom Comparison Digital Zoom for Optical vs Digital Zoom Comparison Optical Zoom for Optical vs Digital Zoom Comparison
Original Image Useless Zoom Useful Zoom

Make sure your zoom is the useful zoom

Optical zoom is the only way forward


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