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Optical Zoom vs. Digital Zoom on your Digital Camcorder

It is important to understand the differences between optical zoom and digital zoom, especially since camera manufacturers typically tout the higher digital zoom range, and downplay the lower optical zoom range (especially if it is lower than similar competitive models).


How to use "Zooming" on your Digital Camcorder

The zoom feature on your digital video camera allows you to move your point of view closer to your subject. For example, if you are on a family vacation and want to get a closer look at an animal that is too far away to clearly see with the naked eye, you will typically need to use your camcorder zoom feature.


Optical Zoom

When comparing optical and digital zoom, it is more important to opt for the camcorder with a higher optical zoom than a higher digital zoom.  In general, the higher the optical zoom range, the better picture quality will be when you need to use the zoom.  The range capacity of a camcorder with optical zoom depends on the camcorder model and its lens system. This zoom takes the image and optically enlarges it, displaying the exact image 4x to 10x (or more) larger than the original.


Digital Zoom

Digital zoom, on the other hand, is a function that uses the pixels the camcorder sensors pick up to enlarge the image without capturing more information. Think of the same effect as when you magnify a digital picture from a digital camera.  Because digital zoom uses computing power to recreate the picture, loss in picture quality (also called digitization) at far distances will occur.

Buying a Digital Camcorder

Digital Camcorder Features

Optical vs. Digital Zoom on Video Cameras

Choosing a Tripod for your Digital Camcorder

Recommended Digital Camcorders


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