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Weekly Video Tip: Digital Zoom vs. Optical Zoom

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By Stephen Schweickart

We’re all familiar with the zoom control on a video camera, and what it does to the picture. But what we may not understand is the difference between digital zoom and optical zoom. Many camcorders offer both.

Digital zoom makes the image appear closer by simply enlarging the individual pixels in the video. You’re simply blowing up the picture electronically, which increases the chance for distortion, blurring, and lack of detail. The end result will be a real compromise in the quality of your video.

On the other hand, optical zoom makes the object appear closer through the optical adjustment of the lens, and not the enlargement of the pixels. The end result is a clearer image.

Whether your zoom is optical or digital, you should use it very sparingly, if at all. A better idea is to try and position yourself as close to the subject matter as possible.

Stephen Schweickart is the co-founder of VScreen. For more information on this topic, visit VScreen’s blogsite at http://www.vscreen.com/blog/.

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