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Old Apr 23, 2003, 2:30 AM   #1
RobertMcDonald's Avatar
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Default F707 Digital Zoom

I have a problem. One of my biggest photography events all year is going to some races with my Dad. Last year, we went to Laguna Seca for the American Le Mans Series, and though I took 250-some pictures, I had two huge problems:

1.) Not enough zoom
2.) Not enough memory card space

To solve #2, I adjusted the resolution per picture depending on how important the picture was and took only a few 5MP shots. That worked out okay--I was able to really stretch my 128MB card out that weekend (I brought my computer with me to Monterey and downloaded my pics Saturday night so I had a fresh card for Sunday).

But, I kept thinking, "I wish I had more zoom!" And I thought about the digital zoom. I already anticipated cropping the pictures down in Photoshop to manually "digitally zoom," but the problem was that since I was already turning the resolution down, I had less picture to work with for cropping! And I wondered, "If I digitally zoomed the camera in 2048x1536 (or 1280x960) mode, would it still only use that part of the CCD, or would it use more of the CCD and just crop the rest out, thereby not reducing the quality of the picture at all?" I don't want to lose any picture quality, which is why I turned off digital zoom as soon as I got the camera. Obviously, in full resolution, it can't digitally zoom the picture without losing quality. But, in the lower resolution modes, what I'm wondering is if Sony were smart enough to program the camera to digitally zoom without reducing quality. Or am I just SOL on zoom?

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Old Apr 23, 2003, 1:14 PM   #2
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Default I understand

Digital zooms are often the target of lots of photographers the most common being that they are not any good and you can do the same thing "probably better" in Photoshop. Notice the "probably" word. To my knowledge this has never been supported, but lets take it anyway. So are we all to turn off our digital zooms and go out and lay down the bucks for Photoshop?
Secondly, the zoom indicator is clearly shown in most view finders for you to see. So the only possible reason for turning it off is, God forbit, you might use it....when you could have "probably done it better in Photoshop?

The truth is there can be a lot we do not know about digital zooms...like as you mention is 1/2 a digital zoom only reducing the image quality by 1/2 as much?

File size is another issue...I have read that reducing file size "can" improve quality with digital zooms but as far as I know this is not supported by examples either?

What I can tell you is this: I have owned a number of Sony Cameras and presently have the 717. All of them have better digital zooms than my Olympus or Nikon cameras that I have owned. There might very well be other cameras that have good digital zooms. Sony calles theirs "Precision Digital Zooms" In the last two weeks I have added the Sony 1.7 telephoto lens and am extremly impressed with its preformance. It is heavy making the camera weigh in at over 3 1/2 pounds, but with the digital zoom I am photographing birds at 17x. AND I USE THE DIGITAL ZOOM BECAUSE I CAN SEE THE HEAD OF THE BIRD AND PUT THE SPOT FOCUS RIGHT ON.

So use the digital zoom on your 707 and print out the results.
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Old May 5, 2003, 2:10 PM   #3
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:shock: Your first problem is trying to get all your photos on one stick. The second problem is carrying around a laptop.

1) I have a 707. I shoot everything at the highest resolution. I use the digital zoom whenever it is needed to frame the shot the way I want. My aging eyes see no loss of quality when using the digital zoom. I carry four sticks as a matter of course-that's good for 200 pics.

2) Stop carrying that laptop. You aren't going to edit your photos on the road anyway (I hope). Get a portable storage device like the x-drive. Off load them to your desktop when you get home.

I recently spent two weeks in Italy. Shot 860 frames, all at high resolution. Never did I fill all four sticks on one day. Off-loaded my xdrive when I got home.

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Old May 5, 2003, 7:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by gsrunyan
:shock: Your first problem is trying to get all your photos on one stick. The second problem is carrying around a laptop.
Actually, two problems there. First, I can't afford to buy more memory sticks. I just bought a second one, though. Second, I'm not carrying around a laptop--I brought my desktop computer down to Monterey and left it at my aunt's house. After the first day of shooting pictures I downloaded them back at her house, then did the same on day two. I'd love to have a laptop. I'd leave it back in my car, take my pictures, run back to the car, upload to the laptop, then go take more pictures. But, sadly, I don't have enough money to do that.

How, then, did I get this camera? Well, I probably shouldn't have. Plus, I'm really into cars and it gets most of my money before the camera does.
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