zoom power
I am no pro but I do enjoy photography and need some help with something that has become confusing to me..

Please help me figure out what camera people mean by 4X optical zoom, 18X optical zoom, etc. My first digital camera was 10X optical zoom (38mm to 380mm). I am looking for a new SLR-like camera and see the Fujifilm finepix S8000 fd claiming a 18X optical zoom but notice it's maximum zoom gives only 486 mm..

Is there no standard for claiming the optical zoom power of a camera???.

Isn't a 486 maximum only about 13X zoom compared to my 10X camera??? 486/38 = 12.789.

Can manufacturers claim any "X" and then the buyer beware of whatever that particular camera's lowest level might be??.

Am I wrong in my notion that 50mm is what the human eye actually sees?.

If I am right, and probably I am not, shouldn't the industry just use 50mm as 1X and let everything else relate to that?.

Somebody set me straight..


Comments (5)

The zoom factor (x10, x15, etc) refers not to an absolute value but only to the camera itself. If a camera has a lens with zoom 38-380, that's a x10 zoom. If a camera has a lens with zoom 50-500, that's also a x10 zoom.

Comment #1

Maharr wrote:.

Fujifilm finepix S8000 fd claiming a 18X optical zoom but notice it'smaximum zoom gives only 486 mm..

Is there no standard for claiming the optical zoom power of a camera???.

There is a standard. That is, take the longest focal length and divide by the shortest. In the case of the Fuji S8000 that is 486/27 = 18..

Isn't a 486 maximum only about 13X zoom compared to my 10X camera???.

What you are missing in this comparison is the fact that your 10x camera had a shortest focal length of 38mm, compared with 27mm on the Fuji S8000..

That makes a considerable difference. Looking at the numbers, you might think, it's "only" 11mm shorter. However, in terms of angle of view, the difference is considerable.Regards,Peter..

Comment #2

Perhaps the expectation of a large zoom power such as 18x, might be that it allows magnification of very small or distant subjects. However, that is only part of the story..

What the zoom lens really gives you is flexibility. That is, the ability to tackle a large range of different subjects with a single lens..

Here's a graphic I prepared some time ago, to illustrate the effect of the 18x zoom of the Olympus SP550, the first of the 18x superzoom cameras..

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

It's clear looking at this example, which shows the field of view of the lens, that it's is the extra ability in the wideangle range that is where the advantage lies..

I'f you've never used a wideangle lens, it might be hard to understand why this is useful. But in practice, the wideangle capability is often more important than the telephoto range. Though that does depend on the individual photographer and what type of subjects they intend to shoot.Regards,Peter..

Comment #3

Thanks for your help Peter..

Perhaps you would be willing to help once again. I am considering the purchase of a replacement of my Olympus C-740 UZ purchased 2003 (pre 1st grandchild). I have enjoyed the camera but am looking for improved shutterlag and zoom..

I am sidebyside comparing fugifilm finepix S8000 fd with Olympus C 560 UZ and C 550 UZ..

I don't see reference to shutter lag in any of the data..

Also I do not know if sensor shift stablization is ok..

What do you think?.


Comment #4

The zoom factor is just a ratio between the shortest and longest focal lenghts, usually expressed as the focal lengths on a 35mm camera that have the same apparent acceptance angles as the lens on the digital camera. E.g., a 50-200mm lens has a 4X zoom ratio..

A 50mm lens on a 35mm camera has an acceptance angle of about 45 degrees, which is about the same angle the human eye sees sharply; your peripheral vision is wider, but not sharp. That's why 50mm is called "normal." It doesn't mean anything for zoom ratios, though..


Comment #5

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