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How much zoom do I really need? is it better to zoom or crop?
Just wondering.......... Is it better to zoom in while shooting or crop (or enlarge) later when post processing..

Or does it even matter at all?.

I'm trying to decide if I really need a super zoom camera or if I would get by with smaller zoom and a little bigger sensor...

Comments (9)

Optically zooming is always better than digitally zooming (zoom and crop). Sensor size and zoom range depend on the range of the photos you are shooting and the size of the final print.bobapunk..

Comment #1

Imagine: you "pays your money and makes your choice" and get an 8 mp camera..

Zoom out and you still get 8 mp but, OK, maybe only with f/56 available. Do a digital zoom and you might only get a 4 or 5 mp image but - big "but" coming - because the zoom may not be so extreme you are getting, perhaps, f/4 available..

Like everything else it's a compromise. Unless you can afford/justify two of those nice Olympus zooms that are f/2 from wide to extremely narrow and the E-3 to fit it on..

Regards, David..

Comment #2

I think it also comes down to a matter of physical bulk. Most of the superzooms are fairly hefty  who really needs 15x or 18x other than bird watchers or plane spotters?.

Personally, I reckon 6x (35mm  210mm) on a P&S like (say) the Canon A720 IS is a pretty good compromise..

A big fixed-lens zoom can get awfully cumbersome to carry up a mountain trail all day..

Cheers ..

Comment #3

It depends on maximum size you'd want to print. In order to determine this limit for any camera/lens,.

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1032&message=19030076.

And that should tell you cheaply, easily and exactly what zoom range you may need in order to produce prints of size A with a zoom of range B and a sensor of C megapixels - with or without zoom+crop in PP. The other thing to consider, though, would be the image quality different cameras can give you in terms of DR and noise, even if their sensors are similar in size..

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/..

Comment #4

You asked pretty much the same question a week ago..

And got some good answers from a number of posters, myself included..

Did you read them?.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #5

So sorrystill trying to learndidn't mean to offendstill trying to decidedon't really consider it the same question...didn't realize I'm being watchedwon't bother againall due respect..

Comment #6

I'm not "watching" you or taking offence, and I'm not having a go at you. I don't make a practice of putting people down on the internet..

It's just that - I wrote 800 words in reply to your earlier thread, a number of other people replied as well, and there was no reply from you to indicate that you had seen or understood it, or if there was anything more you needed to know. And I think that my post in that thread did go a long way to answering the question you are asking here..

Can you see why I might react this way to your new thread?.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #7

I wonder if I dare point out that your question is impossible to answer?.

Every camera changes things for you and owning one for a while changes things a little or a lot more. Sooner or later you have to buy the thing and use it and you'll find that it's not quite as you expected simply because no amount of theory approaches a bit of practice. And then you'll start thinking about a new one and that will change things again unless you run through a series of cameras that are very similar (like Olympus E-10, E-1 and probably E-3)..

Looking at zoom I can use up to 400 to 450 mm (in 35 mm terms) on one of my cameras but it's big and heavy and so after a while I stopped carrying it everywhere and reasoned that I should take it every alternate time I went somewhere. Then Murphy's Law kicked in and I never had it when I needed it and often carried around all day without needing it. And that started me thinking about... Well, you can guess. And, when I had it with me I wondered about something and started a whole new run of pictures I'd never had thought of otherwise..

I vaguely remember you mentioning the FZ8. It's a "Highly Recommended" camera. Why not kick off with it and see where you go from there?.

As for the previous poster - I sympathise with him; I've typed nearly 5,000 answer/jokes in this forum and have had just enough "thank you" replies to make me wonder why I bother. It really does get to you after a while. Although your reply went a long way towards getting you a star from me..

Regards, David..

Comment #8

About digital zoom:.

1) Useful digital zoom range depends on your display format:.

Zoom_range=Square_root(camera_pixels/display_pixels).

Say you want to display a 800x600 pixel image on a computer screen and have a 6.1mp camera; You can digitally zoom up to:.

Square_root(6.1/.48)~4x.

On the other hand, no digital zoom is available to print an 8x10" at about 260ppi..

2) Digital rather than optical zoom can be useful under low light conditions because optical zoom usually decreases the maximum aperture available..

For constant exposure, ISO, and zoom,.

Square(f-stop)(shutter_speed) = constant.

For my Fujifilm F20, wide angle is f/2.8, while max zoom is f/5.0.

This means if I use maximum optical zoom rather than shooting wide open and cropping, the shutter speed ratio must be:.

Square(5.0/2.8)=3.2.

More than three times slower shutter speed is required for the low light, optically zoomed image than for the digitally zoomed image. It is much harder to hand-hold the camera using the optical zoom in low light..

Dave..

Comment #9

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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