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Old Jan 24, 2003, 9:16 PM   #1
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Default Camera help... importance of optical zoom?


i'm wondering how important optical zoom is for the casual photographer. i've got two cameras im interested in, one has 3x optical zoom, the other only has digital zoom. for somebody who is only going to be taking pictures of people and things like that, would i need to invest in a camera that has optical zoom? i'd probably only be posting the images up on the net and burning them on cd. i ask this because the camera with digital zoom costs $400 cdn and includes warranty and 64mb of memory. the other costs a little over $500 cdn but includes optical zoom, 32mb memory, and warranty.

another question: what exactly would i need zoom for? zooming in on a bird from far away? zooming in on objects nearby? would i regret not buying a good optical zoom camera later on?

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Old Jan 24, 2003, 9:43 PM   #2
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Optical zoom is the real thing! Digital zoom is a just a marketing feature for cameras that doesn't have one... You can do the same digital zoom effect when you enlarge the picture later. Most people never use digital zoom in their camera even if it come with it!

Zoom is a convenient feature that let you change the perpective of a picture: zoom-in get you closer to a subject, but zoom-out get you a wider field of view. (A digital zoom only let you zoom-in)
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Old Jan 24, 2003, 10:14 PM   #3
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Zoom is great for framing people a little better without having to walk back and forth. Also nice for large events when you can not get as close as you would like. I have 10x optical zoom and I use it all the time.
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Old Jan 25, 2003, 12:34 AM   #4
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The standard eye focal length is 50mm...anything less than that on a camera is wide angle (you're further away from the subject but you see a wider angle), and anything more than that is telephoto (closer to the subject, but narrowed in on the subject), and zoom allows you to go from wide angle to telephoto without the need to switch lenses.

On this page I posted a zoom experiement using an Olympus C-700 which has 10x optical zoom and 2.7x digital zoom to give a seamless 27x zoom total.


Look for three pics of a steeple by Mikefellh...this will show you a VERY powerfull zoom (most digital cameras aren't this powerful). Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the standard eye focal length, but my purpose was to show the power of the zoom on the camera.
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