Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Optical Zoom and Digital Zoom

optical_zoomZoom is one of the features that we look for when we want to purchase a new digital camera. There are two methods of zooming in on the subject of your photo, there is optical and digital. Optical zoom is done by mechanically moving lenses in the camera in order to gain a closer shot of the subject. Digital zoom is just taking a smaller portion of the image then stretching it to fill the whole screen.

Optical zoom is undoubtedly the superior of the two. The uses of lenses means that there is almost no loss of data, much like using binoculars or a telescope. The final image is still crisp and contains a lot of details since the zoomed picture is captured by the sensor. Digital zoom is a software implementation of the optical zoom. Instead of utilizing lenses, it uses the microprocessor to create a zoomed image after it is captured by the sensor. You can compare this to using the zoom tool of your paint program on a picture, the image become more pixilated the closer you zoom in.

Understandably, cameras with optical zoom tend to be pricier than those who only sport digital zoom. The additional lens and moving mechanism needed in order to adjust the distance of the lens from the sensor would add up to the total cost of the camera. These also tend to add a little bit more bulk to the camera compared to those who have digital zoom which tend to be very slim. It is also necessary to take proper care with the moving parts as dust might get into the mechanism and cause blockage. This isn’t really an issue with cameras that use digital zoom as their sensor has no moving parts and are very often sealed.

Lastly, using optical zoom might consume a little bit more power compared to digital. The moving mechanism does eat up a considerable amount of power when you keep adjusting the distance of the lens from the sensor.

Summary:
1. Optical zoom uses lenses to zoom in on the image before the sensor captures it.
2. Digital zoom uses the processor to magnify the image after the sensor captures it.
3. Optical zoom preserves the crispness and detail of the image while digital zoom tends to interpolate a lot of the data.
4. Cameras with optical zoom are generally more expensive and bigger than cameras that only have digital zoom.
5. Constant adjusting of the zoom level in a camera with optical zoom might drain the battery a little bit faster.


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