Digital Camera Zoom
Magnify with a Digital Camera Zoom!
No matter what sort of digital camera you buy, it will incorporate a digital camera zoom. Even the most modest basic types that we often deprecatingly call "point and press" or "point and shoot" cameras, feature the digital camera zoom. At the other end of the scale, a professional single lens reflex (SLR) model will be able to accommodate a specialist telephoto lens that gives new meaning to the idea of a digital camera zoom.
Any lens that zooms will add an enormous flexibility to your photography. But you need to understand the difference between two types, the optical zoom and the digital zoom.
The optical type is what you want, because it enables you to magnify or broaden scenes when you shoot them. It will also enable you to get in a lot closer to a particular subject; or further away, if you wish. The wider the focal range (in other words the closer in you can get) is described by what we call 'a times' or 'x' factor, for example two times (2 x) or four times (4 x). Sophisticated, more expensive models offer ultra-zoom ranges that go up to 12 x.
By magnifying a scene, you will be able to improve detail of what is far away, and also alter the composition of the shot. It's a fun function to work with.
The digital type is something to be wary of, although it does have its uses. Basically, instead of magnifying what you are shooting, it has the ability to electronically enlarge a portion of the image on the sensor and so produce a zooming effect. The disadvantage of this is that it digitally enlarges just a small portion of what is on the sensor, and the result tends to be grainy because you lose pixels. It might work for Internet images, but if you want to make good quality prints, it is not a good idea.
The professional option comes in the form of a separate telephoto lens that has the capacity of much longer focal lengths. This means that you can magnify objects much more effectively than with any other type of digital camera zoom.