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Old Jun 13, 2003, 8:59 AM   #1
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Quick question: What is the "maximum" optical zoom that is realistic-assuming I don't use a tripod and want a sharp picture?

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Old Jun 13, 2003, 9:04 AM   #2
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Hi,

It all depends on the weather conditions, I have taken very good shots with 13xZoom (8x + a 1.54x adaptor) without blurring (but I have very steady hands and it was very sunny).

Normally it should be arround 6-7x optical zoom on normal conditions.

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Old Jun 13, 2003, 1:59 PM   #3
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I have a Canon Powershot 90 and can hand hold it at 10X (or even 17X with a 1.7X telephoto converter). Trick is, of course, the stabilized lens.
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Old Jun 13, 2003, 3:16 PM   #4
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Again with a sunny day it's no problems taking 10x (380mm) handheld. I've also done 27x (1026mm, 10x optical x 2.7x digital) with no problems (without image stabilization).
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Old Jun 13, 2003, 3:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
What is the "maximum" optical zoom that is realistic-assuming I don't use a tripod and want a sharp picture?
The commonly applied "rule of thumb" for a telephoto shot is that if you have "normal" holding ability - that is you have no unusual nervous condition and can hold the camera as steady as the "average" person, you need a shutter speed corresponding to a "minumum" of 1/focal length. So, this works out to 1/400th for a 400mm shot, 1/500th for a 500mm shot, etc.

Since ambient light, ISO capabilities of your camera and the "speed" of your lens greatly affects the possibility of shutter speed, what you "can" do will vary greatly. Of course if you have a stabilized lens, this changes the figures a great deal and lets you shoot with success at much lower shutter speeds.

But to be sure that you get a sharp image, just see what the shutter speed the camera selects at you "P" or "auto" mode. If it works out to a minimum of 1/focal lenght you are probably O.K. - if it's under and you don't have a tripod or monopod, raise the ISO or open up the aperture. If you can't do either, your chances for a clean shot are reduced accordingly.

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