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Old May 16, 2015, 11:46 PM   #1
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Default To clear zoom or not to clear zoom

The latest batch of Sony SLTs have a feature called "Clear Image Zoom". Sony uses a bit of trickery to get up to 2X zoom, with little or no IQ loss. From 2X to 4X (digital zoom), it's a different story. Anyway, the proof is always in the pudding, and I have done a very non-scientific test of the clear zoom and digital zoom.

All pictures contain exif, and all are straight out of the camera, resized for the forum.
These were all shot with a Sony 50 F1.4 lens, no flash, and hand held.

1) Lantana Camara No zoom.
Name:  Lantana Camara 1X.jpg
Views: 1817
Size:  176.0 KB

2) Lantana Camara 2X Clear Image Zoom (100mm equivalent)
Name:  Lantana Camara 2X.jpg
Views: 1737
Size:  201.8 KB

3) Lantana Camara 4X Digital (200mm equivalent)
Name:  Lantana Camara 4X.jpg
Views: 1733
Size:  199.1 KB
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Old May 16, 2015, 11:51 PM   #2
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Next, a sunflower. Same lens, 50mm F1.4.

1) Sunflower, no zoom.
Name:  Sunflower 1X.jpg
Views: 1750
Size:  203.0 KB

2) Sunflower, 2X Clear Image Zoom. (100mm equivalent).
Name:  Sunflower 2X.jpg
Views: 1769
Size:  216.1 KB

3) Sunflower, 4X Digital Zoo.. (200mm equivalent).
Name:  Sunflower 4X.jpg
Views: 1743
Size:  207.9 KB
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Old May 17, 2015, 12:02 AM   #3
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Last, but not least, the good old Trumpet Vine. Again, SOOC, no PP, just resize to forum standard.

1) Trumpet Vine, no zoom 50mm.
Name:  Trumpet Vine 1X.jpg
Views: 1714
Size:  56.3 KB

2) Trumpet Vine, 2X Clear Image Zoom. (100mm equivalent).
Name:  Trumpet Vine 2X.jpg
Views: 1745
Size:  216.1 KB

3) Trumpet Vine 4X Digital Zoom. (200mm equivalent).
Name:  Trumpet Vine 4X.jpg
Views: 1703
Size:  225.0 KB

Like I said, "very un-scientific", but I find it a somewhat usable feature every so often. Is it better or worse than cropping in PP? Who knows??? It's easier on the camera, and the results are probably about the same.
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Old May 19, 2015, 11:34 AM   #4
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Hey Robert,

These don't appear too bad for a digital crop.
As for cropping in PP, that will always the better way to crop. After the fact will always give you more options composition wise.
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Old May 19, 2015, 4:28 PM   #5
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G'day mate

It certainly looks okay...

It might be something similar to the Panasonic 'Intelligent zoom' feature where the image is boosted by a factor of [I think] 1,7x when you drop resolution from max mpx to 50% mpx

Q- on the Sony, do you need to drop image size from "L" to "M" ??
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Old May 19, 2015, 6:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lomitamike View Post
Hey Robert,

These don't appear too bad for a digital crop.
As for cropping in PP, that will always the better way to crop. After the fact will always give you more options composition wise.
Hi Mike. On some other forums, there were a lot of heated debate on this subject, but I think you're right. Where this might come in handy is for the person who has no imaging software that would give you a good crop. Not sure if I'm thinking this correctly. I have PSE11 and I think it would do at least as good a crop as the camera.
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Old May 19, 2015, 6:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozzie_Traveller View Post
G'day mate

It certainly looks okay...

It might be something similar to the Panasonic 'Intelligent zoom' feature where the image is boosted by a factor of [I think] 1,7x when you drop resolution from max mpx to 50% mpx

Q- on the Sony, do you need to drop image size from "L" to "M" ??
Phil
Phil, Sony says in the manual that the 2X is lossless. The 4X is digital, so I'm sure at 100% you will see problems.

As far as dropping the image size, no.
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Old May 20, 2015, 3:35 PM   #8
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Another persons take on clear zoom.
http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/clear-im...9.html#1361989
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Old May 24, 2015, 5:54 PM   #9
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I was intrigued by the possibilities you raised by investigating the potential of Clear Image Zoom, and wondered how it compared with optical zoom, when shooting the same composition. I chose a target image that was flat and had fine detail throughout: A double-sheet of tabloid newsprint.



I shot it with my A58 and a 'Beercan'. I shot it at a focal length of 210 mm at f/5.6, f/8, and f/11. I then shot it at the same apertures, but at a focal length of 105 mm using Clear Image Zoom. All other camera settings were unchanged from shot to shot.

At f/5.6:


At f/8:


At f/11:


The image segments on top are from the center of the full image, and the bottom segments are from the corner. The image segments on the left were shot with the 'Beercan' at a focal length of 210 mm and no CIZ, and the image segments on the right were shot at 105 mm and full CIZ. (Those segments were all extracted from Fine 20MP JPEG images and stored in PNG files to prevent any further compression.)

The first thing I noticed was how sharp the 'Beercan' was in the corners. The difference between the corners and the centers were almost indistinguishable. The 'Beercan' is a very good lens, plus it's a 'Full Frame' lens, so it's likely to do will on an APS-C body, but how well it did surprised me.

The second thing I noticed was that the CIZ images were not as good as the unCIZ images, but they were better than I expected from a digital zoom.

I don't think I'll be using it a lot, but since the 'Beercan' is a 1:4 macro lens, CIZ turns it into a 1:2 macro. I also like how it expands the focus points. It certainly has potential.
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Last edited by TCav; May 24, 2015 at 6:10 PM.
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Old May 25, 2015, 12:52 AM   #10
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Well, I certainly am impressed by the results you got. I have to disagree on one minor point-I think the CIZ images seem sharper or more contrasty, I'm not sure which, especially in the corners. You're right, the Beercan is a fine lens. I wish it were a little lighter.

Your observation about the Beercan becoming a 420mm 1:2 macro got me thinking. Would a Tamron 70-300 1:2 macro become a 600mm 1:1 macro? I see more experimenting in my future!
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