Does your camera have a zoom?
October 27, 2008 12:34pm CST
I am thinking of purchasing a new camera. My current camera has a times ten optical zoom on it so it is excellent. However it makes a black mark on every photo so that is why I wish to replace it. I love photography but I don't know much about cameras. What is an optical zoom? What is a digital zoom? Does your camera have a zoom? If so how good is it? Thanks.
• United States
27 Oct 08
I use a DSLR so the zoom depends on what lens I have on my camera. I have some lenses with really wide zooms, and others that are fixed and don't zoom at all! If you want a really powerful zoom, you should definitely get a DSLR camera with a telephoto lens. It is the most powerful zoom you can get! On point and shoot cameras, optical zoom is better quality than digital zoom. Optical zoom is an actual zoom... the lens focuses further away. Digital zoom just crops your image... the result is usually a very pixelated photo!
31 Oct 08
I'm afraid you have had a mixture of correct and incorrect advice, Maximax8. The answers to you specific questions: Optical Zoom increases and desreases the size of your image. The lens, or the elements inside the lens move to magnify the image (telephoto) or to fit more of the scene in (wide angle). The quality of the picture remains much the same...no quality is lost. Digital zoom makes the pixels larger or smaller: it is a bit like looking at a newspaper through a magnifying glass. The more you magnify using digital zoom, the more the image degrades. Zoom is expressed as a power (yours was 10x) or as a fopcal length range. Neither one tells you a lot by itself. 10x means that the longest focal length that the lens can achieve is 10 times longer than the shortest. But if you do not know what those figures wer, or what they mean, it is jus a number. If focal length is quoted as a set of numbers, you may be a bit better informed. For instance, if your lens is quoted as 18-55mm, it means it covers the range 18mm to 55mm, but again, what does that mean? Obviously, 30-300mm is the same as 10x zoom, but so is 18-180mm. The numbers (eg 18mm)refer to the focal length of the lens: the smaller the number, the more the lens takes in (it is "wider") and the bigger the number, the more it magnifies distant objects (it is :longer" or "telescopic"). But there is a problem. Compact cameras, SLR cameras, phone cameras, medium format cameras etc all have different sized sensors. The smaller the sensor, the more "telephoto" effect you get from any lens. So, a 50mm lens (once called "normal" because it gave a similar view to the human eye) is a short telephoto on a digital SLR, and a long telephoto on a compact camera. 28mm is wide angle on a full frame camera, just short of "normal" on a typical SLR (APS-C format) short tele on a compact, and so on. One way around this is to quote the range as it would be on a 35mm film camera (which is nearly the same as on a "full-frame" digital SLR like a Canon 5D or Nikon D3. This is getting a bit long winded: the longest zoom ranges are found on digital compact cameras, which go up to 20x and cover wide angle to long telephoto in a single lens, and have the added advantage of being able to do true macro. The longest zooms made for digital SLRs are 18-250mm (about 15x), and the cannot shoot macro, but that is a true wide angle (equivalent to about 27mm when fitted to a Nikon SLR, and 29mm on a Canon SLR) and a true telephoto (on a Nikon it is equivalent to 375mm and on a Canon, 400mm; on an Olympus, Leica or Panasonic, the same lens would rate as 36-500mm). Why then are SLRs preferred? Image quality and the ability to built a system of specialist lenses and other accessories; and image quality; and, oh yes: image quality!!!
• United States
30 Oct 08
The zoom you have is a very good one. I would get the optical zoom and not worry about the digital. The black mark indicates flaw in the lens, dirt on the sensor or several bad pixels. To repair any one would cost more than the camera is worth. I would suggest the Canon Powershot S5. It has 10x optical zoom, and image stabilization. It takes great photo in full Auto mode or with any of the different settings including manual mode.
29 Oct 08
A friend once advise me that if you are going to buy a camera, buy one that has all the features you need as you will not be able to add those features later but have to buy another new one. Though each feature correspondingly increases the price, it is still a good investment as a camera is usually used for a long time unless it gets broken. Some features besides zoom you may need to consider: resolution in effective megapixels (the higher the better but costlier), electronic viewfinder, LCD size, length and resolution of movie recording, built-in and external flash, USB-support, file storage, red-eye removal and reduction, processing speed (fps, frames per second), shock-proof, splash proof or water-proof (can take underwater shots). There are many other features but if you're not an amateur, those features like manual focus which may be standard feature will be unused.
• Defiance, Ohio
28 Oct 08
Yes, my digital camera does have a zoom on it. I really don't know the difference. How it was explained to me is how well the picture looks when you zoom in on ot. But don't quote me as I do realize I have a camera dude that knew nothing about cameras.