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Thread: "Digital zoom only?"

  1. #1

    "Digital zoom only?"

    A friend of mine is searching to buy a new lens. She came across the term "digital zoom only" and was wondering what it meant. I didn't have any idea either so I was wondering if anyone has any insight.? Thanks!

  2. #2
    thatguyfromvienna's Avatar
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    Alexander Rose

    Re: "Digital zoom only?"

    Digital zoom means that the image isn't zoomed optically; the image is magnified digitally by interpolating the image thus leading to an extremely poor image quality.
    I have never heard of any actual lens claiming that since the interpolation is done in the camera.

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    Re: "Digital zoom only?"

    By any chance, can she provide a link to the reference?

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    New Member Ian Key's Avatar
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    Re: "Digital zoom only?"

    It could mean that it’s for a DSLR, not a SLR.

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    Re: "Digital zoom only?"

    As others have already said, it is difficult to give clear answer without more details but the term 'digital zoom' is most frequently used in the context of a compact camera, where the appearance of being able to zoom is achieved by the camera using only a small part of the sensor and enlarging that small part. Since this is actually a software thing and isn't anything to do with the lens and you say your friend is looking to buy a new lens it seems unlikely that this explanation is applicable in this case.

    The other use of the term 'digital zoom' relates to the type of mount on the lens. Digital SLRs broadly divide into two categories, 'full-frame' or 'crop' cameras. Lenses specifically designed for 'crop' cameras can't be used on a 'full-frame' camera (OK, they can but not without significant loss of performance). Each manufacturer has its own way of differentiating which of its lenses are for which type of body. For Canon, their EF range is designed for ‘full-frame’ cameras AND can be used on ‘crop’ cameras, while their EF-S range is designed for ‘crop’ bodies. You can fit an EF-S lens on a full-frame camera but you are not likely to be impressed with the results you get.

    Ken

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: "Digital zoom only?"

    I have seen eBay ads for lenses from non-English speaking sellers that stated "digital zoom only". What was meant in those cases is that the lens was applicable for crop DSLR cameras only (such as an EF-S mount lens) and that it could not be used on film cameras which require EF lenses. However, I have just looked through the gamut of lenses presently on eBay and did not find such a reference...

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