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Old Dec 20, 2005, 9:08 AM   #1
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Hello - I'm new to diggys. I got an FZ-5. Have taken some good pics with it. However, the learning curve is still steep!

What is the deal with the DIGITAL zoom? From page 79 of the manual - "when using the digital zoom, the picture quality becomes deteriorated. . . the stabilizer may not be effective..."

So, after reading the above i'm thinking "ghez, then why bother to use the digitial zoom?" You get worse pics when it is used.

Do any of you use it and if so - what for?

Thanks.
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 9:40 AM   #2
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first, not all photographers areas concerned as most of us on this forum about image quality. they take snapshots, and for that purpose,the digital zoom image is often satisfactory.especially in small print sizes, much of the image degradation isn't apparent anyway, unless you use the full 4x.

second, it does extend the reach of the camera by a factor of 4. that gives you the rough equivalent of a 1600mm lens on a film SLR. and if there's something wa-a-a-a-y out there that you just gotta have a pic of, it will often let you get that shot that you could never get any other way. and by the way, most 1600mm lenses on film cameras don't takesuper-clear shots either!

me? i almost never use it, but i have on a couple of occasions, with mixed results. here are a couple of pics shot with the digital zoom on my FZ20. the moon shot used digital zoom in conjunction with my TCON-14B; i didn't have the TCON when i took the kingfisher.

first, a shot of the moon at normal 12x zoom, no digital, for comparison... then the same shot at 2x digital. the 2x shot has been sharpened.





and this is the same shot at 4x digital...





here's a kingfisher shot at 4x digital, with no TCON and no post processing.. this is the raw image from the camera, just resized to post.



so... you can see some loss ofimage quality, but it's not as bad as some people think. would any of these make great enlargements? probably not. but if it's a choice between this level of image quality or missing the shot entirely, which would you choose?
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 10:08 AM   #3
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Well said and demonstrated. Thanks a bunch Squril!
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 10:39 AM   #4
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Squirl is correct I just wanted to add that when my wife and I are on vacation she uses one FZ camera and I use another....If I am expection long shots I will add 1 or 2 teleconverters, my wife will use digital zoom.

For the most part my photos are better but there are some occasions when she gets a real nice photo with digital zoom, I have examined the exif of the good photos she gets with the ones that are not so good and can only conclude that lots of llight is required for a great photo with digital zoom, but that is only my observation.

My whole point is do not be afraid to use it and compare for yourself.

An example the first badger I ever saw was quite a distance away and I used a FZ20 with a Raynox 2020 and she used a FZ10 and 3X digital zoom and she got several good photos of the badger out of 30 or so photos and I got none.

My FZ10 and 20 always have the Digital zoom enabled, and its one point I do not like about the FZ30 , once you enable the digital zoom you must go back to the menu to turn it off. They should have and external button to turn it on or off, like the other FZ's.
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 10:45 AM   #5
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just one minor correction, Gene... the other FZ's don't have an external d-zoom switch, you still have to go into the menu to actually turn it off. the difference is, with the FZ30,the digitial zoom is"active" regardless of the actual optical zoom setting, whereas with the other FZ's, it automatically reverts to optical zoom only as soon as you zoom back below 12x.
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 11:07 AM   #6
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When you use the digital zoom you are doing exactly what can be done in post processing. You are just framing the picture in the camera. The number of pixels on the kingfisher would be the same with or without the digital zoom. On the other hand the feature in the FZ 30 that allows to use a smaller portion of the ccd and achieve a longer optical zoom is great. Shoot the kingfisher at 12X and 8 megs or 15X and 5 megs or 19X and 3 megs. The same number of pixels on the bird but you gain the space on the memory card and increase the burst rate. The down side is that you may need a slightly higher shutter for the 665 mm at the 19X. How many bird pictures have you taken without cropping? Seems a shame to get a huge megapixel camera and then toss out all the megs when cropping. Might as well get the burst and space benefit, yes? Then again I could be all wet here.
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 11:45 AM   #7
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Yes squirl that is what I was trying to say.



And
Quote:
When you use the digital zoom you are doing exactly what can be done in post processing. You are just framing the picture in the camera. The number of pixels on the kingfisher would be the same with or without the digital zoom. On the other hand the feature in the FZ 30 that allows to use a smaller portion of the ccd and achieve a longer optical zoom is great. Shoot the kingfisher at 12X and 8 megs or 15X and 5 megs or 19X and 3 megs. The same number of pixels on the bird but you gain the space on the memory card and increase the burst rate. The down side is that you may need a slightly higher shutter for the 665 mm at the 19X. How many bird pictures have you taken without cropping? Seems a shame to get a huge megapixel camera and then toss out all the megs when cropping. Might as well get the burst and space benefit, yes? Then again I could be all wet here.

One advantage to using the digital zoom is it can help you frame and focus

If you are losing speed in burst mode for using 8mp JPG photos your card is not fast enough.

But if you are referring to tiff or raw that is why I seldom use those.

One other thing the rulethat seem to make sense an regard to digital zoom are a lot like other rules they are often not as they seem.

I have photos taken at #X digital zoom that were then cropped in photoshop with really good results while others fall more in line with your thoughts.

I still say it does not cost a thing to try it both ways.

Also you may be correct about the EZ but I do not find that to be true.

You can get a photo in 3EZ that is impossible to duplicate by adding lenses and difficult to do in PS. And once again it helps big time in framing and focus.

I suppose its a matter of opinion, and I have mine.
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 12:50 PM   #8
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carpist wrote:
Quote:
When you use the digital zoom you are doing exactly what can be done in post processing. You are just framing the picture in the camera. The number of pixels on the kingfisher would be the same with or without the digital zoom. On the other hand the feature in the FZ 30 that allows to use a smaller portion of the ccd and achieve a longer optical zoom is great. Shoot the kingfisher at 12X and 8 megs or 15X and 5 megs or 19X and 3 megs. The same number of pixels on the bird but you gain the space on the memory card and increase the burst rate. The down side is that you may need a slightly higher shutter for the 665 mm at the 19X. How many bird pictures have you taken without cropping? Seems a shame to get a huge megapixel camera and then toss out all the megs when cropping. Might as well get the burst and space benefit, yes? Then again I could be all wet here.
yes, the number of pixels in the finalimage would be the same with or without digital zoom, but how those pixels are produced is what's different. simply having the same number of pixels doesn't mean the image will be as good. digital zoom is notquite the same as simply cropping in PP, which actually reduces the number of pixels in the image, but also reduces the image size and leaves theuncropped portionof the image unchanged.

digital zoom in the FZ1-5 and the FZ10-FZ20 is accomplished by cropping the original imageinternally and resizing. the image isinitially recordedusing thefull pixel count on the sensor, but is then cropped (which discards the cropped "original" pixels and image data) to reframe and "enlarge" the subject . the image is thenresized, using internal interpolation algorithms,back up to the original pixel countbefore being written to the memory card.it looks like a 5MP image based on pixel count, but what the camera has done is to crop that 5MP image down to, say, 2MP, and then resize it back up to 2560x1920 using software.you wind up with the same pixel count, but the internal interpolation which is required to regain the original pixel count is what causes the degradation of the image.



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