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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Silly question: why do cams include digital zoom?
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05/11/2006 06:27:15 PM · #1
Yes, why, if the quality of digital zoom is so poor and the advice is to never use it?

Thanks!
05/11/2006 06:28:14 PM · #2
It's a marketing gimmick.
05/11/2006 06:28:34 PM · #3
One word: marketing.

Edit: LOL, too slow!

Message edited by author 2006-05-11 18:28:50.
05/11/2006 06:29:19 PM · #4
Simply because there are people out there who don't need or care about the quality. Plus it makes it look really good to have a 10+ times zoom instead of the 3 or 4 that usually come on smaller cameras.
05/11/2006 06:30:32 PM · #5
Got it! LOL
05/11/2006 06:31:45 PM · #6
As has been stated, marketing.

I've actually heard sales agents talk about the digital zoom as if it is a good thing, at trade shows even.
05/11/2006 06:36:15 PM · #7
You know, I asked the same question yesterday... Once I used to take a person's face from far. I have Panasonic LZ2 with 6 Optical and 4 Digital zoom... Although it came out horrible, I had what I wanted at that moment. I think I could just zoom it in with my imaging program... would I have the same results? I don't know.

I am not sure but some digital zoom have better resolution than others I think...

There must be another reason better than marketing I believe...
05/11/2006 06:37:52 PM · #8
Many people take their memory card right out of their camera and into the CVS/Walgreens machine. Their photos never see a computer of photoshop. Where one might crop, another digital zooms. Same result?
05/11/2006 06:38:13 PM · #9
Originally posted by cpanaioti:

As has been stated, marketing.

I've actually heard sales agents talk about the digital zoom as if it is a good thing, at trade shows even.


yeah I love when people ask me about cameras and they say "it has a 10x digital zoom, can you believe that?" lol I laugh and tell them that is mostly likly the least of what they need in a digital camera. It can also be fun trying to expain to them why it can actually be a bad thing instead of the greatness the saleman advertises it as.
05/11/2006 06:38:27 PM · #10
I always thought it was for in-camera cropping so the "average" person could get prints at WallyMart without post-processing...
(But what do I know?)

Edit: With a less expensive camera, of course, than one with optical zoom.

Message edited by author 2006-05-11 18:39:23.
05/11/2006 06:40:09 PM · #11
Originally posted by leokoach:

There must be another reason better than marketing I believe...


Nope, no better reason, really. All digital zooms just magnify the center portion of the frame, which you can easily do yourself later. Perhaps the *only* value in digital zoom is for those that print directly from the cam and thus don't crop or resize. The digital zoom gives them a way to frame as they like and not worry about post-processing.
05/11/2006 06:42:11 PM · #12
I really cringe when I'm in a photographic store or dept of one of the large department stores & some sales person is trying to sell a digital camera based on digital zoom to a novice photographer.

Message edited by author 2006-05-12 06:31:33.
05/11/2006 06:47:52 PM · #13
I think I just saved a friend from the grief of digital zoom. The guy in the store was doing exactly what you folks describe and trying to persuade her using the digital zoom BS.
05/11/2006 06:52:58 PM · #14
speaking from the sales person side, honestly I never advise people to use digital zoom. In fact I tell my customers to turn it off. I dont know maybe im a rare breed of honest sales person, but I dont want someone to buy a decent camera, and think its taking crappy shots when its just they are using dz. the easyest way i found to describe dz to people who have no idea whats going on with cameras is it has the silly putty on newspaper effect, the more you stretch it the more distorted it becomes.
05/11/2006 07:21:54 PM · #15
Digital zoom is a good thing for those who it's made for. It's a great thing, in fact.
05/11/2006 07:29:32 PM · #16
It's trivial to implement (all software) and sounds good from a marketing perspective (similar with camcorders with 100x digital zooms)

Also it can be passingly useful for framing/ timing, if you are shooting something far away and using the LCD to compose (e.g., football game and you can't easily see what you are shooting but want to time against something happening.
05/11/2006 10:30:17 PM · #17
I've heard that the zoom can affect exposure. That is, if you use digital zoom, the exposure is set by what is in the viewfinder.

Message edited by author 2006-05-11 22:30:36.
05/12/2006 12:08:36 AM · #18
Originally posted by leokoach:

You know, I asked the same question yesterday... Once I used to take a person's face from far. I have Panasonic LZ2 with 6 Optical and 4 Digital zoom... Although it came out horrible, I had what I wanted at that moment. I think I could just zoom it in with my imaging program... would I have the same results? I don't know.

I am not sure but some digital zoom have better resolution than others I think...

There must be another reason better than marketing I believe...


Depends on the camera. Some just crop the image for you - if you did it yourself on your PC you'd get exactly the same result. This is purely a convenience thing for those who don't like computers. Its still important to understand that an image taken using digital zoom should only be printed small as it will be low resolution. Cropping afterwards allows you to choose which bits you like and which bits you don't. Digital zoom leaves a low resolution image that is unlikey to look good if cropped any further.

Other cameras crop and then upsize the image to the full sensor resolution - a bad idea at the best of times, and when you combine it with the limited processing power of the camera it produces truly awful results. If your camera does this turn off digital zoom now!. You will often get better printed results if you crop but don't resize unless you really know what you are doing.

To check which type of digital zoom you have - take two pics, one without digital zoom and one using it. Have a look at the properties of the images (e.g right click in Explorer) and if the PC tells you they are both the same resolution you have the horrible in camera resizing type of digital zoom. Some cameras will even show resolution on screen.

In my opinion - digital zoom is 99% marketing hype I turn it off on every camera I own, results using it vary from just OK to awful, I'd much rather crop later on the computer, it gives you more choice and better quality.

So many things are sold this way - that portable stereo labelled "240W PMPO" probably has a true output of less than 10W RMS.
05/12/2006 12:25:21 AM · #19
Wait guys.... there is ONE GOOD REASON for digital zoom on P&S cameras:

If you're shooting video and you need to zoom in, for most people, chances are you're never going to "crop it in post", so you need to zoom in while you capture the video.

05/13/2006 03:08:44 PM · #20
Because not all people need an image to be "perfect" to enjoy it!!
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