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How bad is digital zoom?

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July 7, 2005 2:52:15 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Most cameras have digital zoom.
All reviewers say it's worthless.
Crop it and enlarge it in Photoshop, and the pic will be much better, they
say.
Is that all there is to it?
If you have access to the RAW file, maybe, but on a point and shoot with a
compressed jpg output, could not the camera processor make a better jpg
compression with less surplus input?
Have you seen any comparisons on the web between digital zoom and Photoshop
enlargement?
/per

More about : bad digital zoom

Anonymous
July 7, 2005 2:52:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"per" <nospam@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:42cc447f$1@news.wineasy.se...
> Most cameras have digital zoom.
> All reviewers say it's worthless.

they are correct

> Crop it and enlarge it in Photoshop, and the pic will be much better, they
> say.
> Is that all there is to it?

yes

> If you have access to the RAW file, maybe, but on a point and shoot with a
> compressed jpg output, could not the camera processor make a better jpg
> compression with less surplus input?

The camera is unlikely to do anything very sophisticated because it doesnt
have much processor power.

> Have you seen any comparisons on the web between digital zoom and
> Photoshop enlargement?

Anyone who cares about the difference in quality (if there is one) wouldnt
be using it. And anyone who doesnt know that its worthless wouldnt be
looking at comparisons.

--
Tumbleweed

email replies not necessary but to contact use;
tumbleweednews at hotmail dot com
July 7, 2005 2:52:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"per" <nospam@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:42cc447f$1@news.wineasy.se...
> Most cameras have digital zoom.
> All reviewers say it's worthless.
> Crop it and enlarge it in Photoshop, and the pic will be much better, they
> say.
> Is that all there is to it?
> If you have access to the RAW file, maybe, but on a point and shoot with a
> compressed jpg output, could not the camera processor make a better jpg
> compression with less surplus input?
> Have you seen any comparisons on the web between digital zoom and
> Photoshop enlargement?
> /per
>
Two words The first begins with "F" and the second is "Awful".

Roy G
Related resources
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 2:52:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Roy wrote:
> "per" <nospam@nospam.com> wrote in message
> news:42cc447f$1@news.wineasy.se...
> > Most cameras have digital zoom.
> > All reviewers say it's worthless.
> > Crop it and enlarge it in Photoshop, and the pic will be much better, they
> > say.
> > Is that all there is to it?
> > If you have access to the RAW file, maybe, but on a point and shoot with a
> > compressed jpg output, could not the camera processor make a better jpg
> > compression with less surplus input?
> > Have you seen any comparisons on the web between digital zoom and
> > Photoshop enlargement?
> > /per
> >
> Two words The first begins with "F" and the second is "Awful".
>
> Roy G

I think anything that can be done on a computer in post-processing need
*not* be done in-camera.
July 7, 2005 2:52:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

per wrote:
> Most cameras have digital zoom.
> All reviewers say it's worthless.
> Crop it and enlarge it in Photoshop, and the pic will be much better, they
> say.
> Is that all there is to it?
> If you have access to the RAW file, maybe, but on a point and shoot with a
> compressed jpg output, could not the camera processor make a better jpg
> compression with less surplus input?
> Have you seen any comparisons on the web between digital zoom and Photoshop
> enlargement?
> /per
>
>


Very.

--
jer
email reply - I am not a 'ten'
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 2:52:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"per" <nospam@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:42cc447f$1@news.wineasy.se...

> Have you seen any comparisons on the web between digital zoom and
> Photoshop enlargement?

Digital Zoom pictures are not worth looking at. Just junk. But if you don't
have Photoshop and or you are not going to edit (print directly?), then
maybe, in some extreme circumstances, you might use digital zoom.
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 2:52:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On 6 Jul 2005 22:52:15 +0200, "per" <nospam@nospam.com> wrote:

>Most cameras have digital zoom.
>All reviewers say it's worthless.
>Crop it and enlarge it in Photoshop, and the pic will be much better, they
>say.
>Is that all there is to it?
>If you have access to the RAW file, maybe, but on a point and shoot with a
>compressed jpg output, could not the camera processor make a better jpg
>compression with less surplus input?
>Have you seen any comparisons on the web between digital zoom and Photoshop
>enlargement?
>/per
>

You can try it for yourself.
Why you would think everyone else is too lazy to do so is interesting.
Make your own comparisons.
If you can't, then maybe you could rely on those who have tried it,
and reported their results.

--
Bill Funk
replace "g" with "a"
funktionality.blogspot.com
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 2:52:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

per wrote:
> Most cameras have digital zoom.
> All reviewers say it's worthless.
> Crop it and enlarge it in Photoshop, and the pic will be much better, they
> say.
> Is that all there is to it?
> If you have access to the RAW file, maybe, but on a point and shoot with a
> compressed jpg output, could not the camera processor make a better jpg
> compression with less surplus input?
> Have you seen any comparisons on the web between digital zoom and Photoshop
> enlargement?
> /per
>
>
I haven't seen any such comparisons, but it stands to reason that the
camera COULD do a better job since it has the data before converting it
to JPEG format. But then most cameras don't have 64 bit processors
running at 3GHz, either. I don't think this question can be answered in
any meaningful way that would apply to all cameras, or photo editors.


--
Ron Hunter rphunter@charter.net
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 4:16:47 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"per" <nospam@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:42cc447f$1@news.wineasy.se...
> Most cameras have digital zoom.
> All reviewers say it's worthless.

Yep, that's about what they say.


> Crop it and enlarge it in Photoshop, and the pic will be much better, they
> say.
> Is that all there is to it?

Not really. It depends on what you're going to do with the images.

If you're going to print them, then the reviewers and everybody else who
says the same thing are mostly right. Digital zoom will always degrade the
image to some degree, though if you make small prints and use only a small
amount of digital zoom (not over 2x), you may never notice the degradation.
This is especially true if you have a camera with lots of pixels to start
off with. For example, if you have an 8-megapixel camera and use a 2x
digital zoom, you will be using 1/4 of the pixels available at the sensor,
which is still 2 megapixels and may make a very decent print.

Moreover, many people prefer to view most or even all of their photos on the
computer monitor rather than making prints of everything. If you do that,
digital zoom is really not too bad, provided the camera is on a tripod--the
computer monitor is relatively poor in definition anyway, so if there's a
lot of any fine detail in the shot much of it is lost on the monitor screen.
I have made tele shots using 3x or 4x digital zoom, that look quite good on
the computer monitor--much more satisfactory than if I hadn't used digital
zoom for the same subject (like birds in a nest, outside my window). But I
wouldn't want to print those photos.

I suspect that many of the people who declare digital zoom worthless have
never actually tried it themselves; they just take everyone else's word for
its being worthless. Those who *have* tried it may have tried it handheld,
which is almost certain to produce terrible results since the digital zoom
only starts where the optical zoom ends, so camera shake may produce more
degradation than the digital zoom itself does.

In short: Yes, digital zoom does have limitations which may be severe. No,
digital zoom is not entirely worthless.

N.
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 5:05:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"per" <nospam@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:42cc447f$1@news.wineasy.se...
> Most cameras have digital zoom.
> All reviewers say it's worthless.
> Crop it and enlarge it in Photoshop, and the pic will be much better, they
> say.
> Is that all there is to it?
> If you have access to the RAW file, maybe, but on a point and shoot with a
> compressed jpg output, could not the camera processor make a better jpg
> compression with less surplus input?
> Have you seen any comparisons on the web between digital zoom and
> Photoshop enlargement?
> /per
>
I agree with the others. Digital zoom is no good.

My camera only Dzooms in lower resolution modes. It dzooms only up to the
max resolution of the sensor. It does not oversample. It only works when the
LCD is in use since you can't really frame a digital zoom with the
viewfinder all that well. Of course it is the same as cropping the full
resolution image.
John
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 8:02:51 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

[A complimentary Cc of this posting was sent to
per
<nospam@nospam.com>], who wrote in article <42cc447f$1@news.wineasy.se>:
> Have you seen any comparisons on the web between digital zoom and Photoshop
> enlargement?

I never used DZ, but I think it may have some usefulness in some cases:

a) Digitally Zoomed images may be stored in smaller size on the card
(may be important for those who do not have large cards);

b) My film camera's 100-300mm zoom has much smaller resolution at
300mm setting than on 200mm setting (about 33% smaller). So in
cases when the resolution is lens-limited, one could get almost
identical image (with resolution only about 15% worse) by
enlarging the 200mm image 1.5x than by using 300mm image.

However, current decent digital cameras have much lousier sensors
than their lenses. So the situations where the image resolution
is lens-bound should not be that frequent...

Hope this helps,
Ilya
July 7, 2005 10:41:25 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Easiest way to test is to simply crop a shot (which is what digital zoom
does as see if the results are acceptable for your application. ie - If all
you need is screen resolution a one megapixel camera with a 3x digital zoom
will be jes'fine. If you are making 20x30 prints -- not so hot.

--
http://www.chapelhillnoir.com
home of The Camera-ist's Manifesto
The Improved Links Pages are at
http://www.chapelhillnoir.com/links/mlinks00.html
A sample chapter from "Haight-Ashbury" is at
http://www.chapelhillnoir.com/writ/hait/hatitl.html

"Tumbleweed" <thisaccountneverread@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3j30fbFnik1nU1@individual.net...
>
> "per" <nospam@nospam.com> wrote in message
> news:42cc447f$1@news.wineasy.se...
> > Most cameras have digital zoom.
> > All reviewers say it's worthless.
>
> they are correct
>
> > Crop it and enlarge it in Photoshop, and the pic will be much better,
they
> > say.
> > Is that all there is to it?
>
> yes
>
> > If you have access to the RAW file, maybe, but on a point and shoot with
a
> > compressed jpg output, could not the camera processor make a better jpg
> > compression with less surplus input?
>
> The camera is unlikely to do anything very sophisticated because it doesnt
> have much processor power.
>
> > Have you seen any comparisons on the web between digital zoom and
> > Photoshop enlargement?
>
> Anyone who cares about the difference in quality (if there is one) wouldnt
> be using it. And anyone who doesnt know that its worthless wouldnt be
> looking at comparisons.
>
> --
> Tumbleweed
>
> email replies not necessary but to contact use;
> tumbleweednews at hotmail dot com
>
>
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 12:04:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

per wrote:
> Most cameras have digital zoom.
> All reviewers say it's worthless.
> Crop it and enlarge it in Photoshop, and the pic will be much better,
> they say.
> Is that all there is to it?
> If you have access to the RAW file, maybe, but on a point and shoot
> with a compressed jpg output, could not the camera processor make a
> better jpg compression with less surplus input?
> Have you seen any comparisons on the web between digital zoom and
> Photoshop enlargement?
> /per

I would test for yourself. I did.

I found that digital zoom could improve the focussing and improve the
exposure, but probably just by making the camera restrict its attention to
the centre of the frame. I also found that, as you suspected, the effects
of JPEG compression are slightly less when digital zoom is used (this on a
camera where the zoomed picture has the same number of pixels as the
normal picture, and the net image appears bigger. It would not be true
there the digitally zoomed image was just an unmagnified crop of the
normal image). My tests were carried out at a strict 2:1 digital zoom.

Digital zoom may also help by presenting a larger image in the viewfinder.

Having said all that in its favour, I would not normally recommend using
digital zoom as cropping after may be easier and produce results which are
virtually as good.

David
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 12:56:28 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

To me the answer depends on whether you will use a computer to process
your images. At first, when printers came out that would print without
using the computer, I didn't see the point. But I now see lots of folks
doing this, and understand their motivation.

If you will not use a computer, and the printer you intend to use does
not crop, then digital zoom is all that is left.

However, if you use a computer, you have much more control over
cropping, which is essentially what digital zoom is.
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 1:03:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

>>> Most cameras have digital zoom.
>> All reviewers say it's worthless. they are correct
>>
>>> Crop it and enlarge it in Photoshop, and the pic will be much better,
they
>>> say.
>>> Is that all there is to it?
>>
>yes

Sir, I have to disagree. Whilst I mainly sympathise with what you have to
say, that absolutely definitely is not _all_ there is to it.

If perfection is your top priority in every image, you always shoot in raw
mode and are prepared to spend an admittedly small amount of time post
processing, then I would agree. A large number of photographers, myself
included, are not like that.

I don't think I've ever used raw mode since I've had my digital. I don't
see the point as the jpegs my camera produces are more than adequate for my
humble needs and the quality is acceptable. Maybe it's not perfect but I am
not in the habit of examining my prints with a magnifying glass and I have
never had cause for complaint.

When working in this manner there is a significant point which always seems
to be overlooked by the digital-zoom detractors. The camera's cropping
algorithms get to work on the raw image before that first jpeg compression.
Provided the cropping algorithms are adequate (and my camera's seem to be)
that must surely be better than compressing, decompressing, cropping and
recompressing.

The second point is one of convenience. If I am out on a walk or on holiday
and fire off umpteen snaps of anything that takes my fancy I really cannot
be bothered to spend the time post processing, cropping etc. Indeed, many
photos I will look at on the hotel TV in the evening and then ditch. They
never get anywhere near a computer. For these times, digital zoom can be
useful, identifying any fauna we spotted in the distance or whatever.

Let me give you just one example of when I used it to unusual advantage. We
were walking on the Yorkshire Moors when we spotted a building on a
middle-distance hillside. We could clearly see a notice over the door but
no one could make out what it said. We had no binoculars but I whipped out
my trusty Oly 2100 (10x optical + 2.5 digital) and at full optical and
digital zoom took a photo of the building. The wording was clearly visible
and quite legible. Our curiosity satisfied, the image didn't even last
until the end of the walk, but an unnecessary detour had been avoided.

So to return to the plot. If your aim is to produce the highest possible
quality image at all times then digital zoom will not help you in that
enterprise. Even a snapper like myself would not be swayed in my choice of
camera purchase by the amount of digital zoom available. However I hotly
dispute any assertion that the feature is totally worthless.

Regards

Keith
Anonymous
July 7, 2005 4:34:49 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Thu, 07 Jul 2005 09:03:05 GMT, "Keith Sheppard"
<keith.sheppard@tesco.net> wrote:

>>>> Most cameras have digital zoom.
>>> All reviewers say it's worthless. they are correct
>>>
>>>> Crop it and enlarge it in Photoshop, and the pic will be much better,
>they
>>>> say.
>>>> Is that all there is to it?
>>>
>>yes
>

>
>When working in this manner there is a significant point which always seems
>to be overlooked by the digital-zoom detractors. The camera's cropping
>algorithms get to work on the raw image before that first jpeg compression.
snip

could you point us to some reliable tech documentation that sustains
this claim ? To me this starts to live the life of a myth ..
especially as the info aka picture you see on the LCD and/or EVF is of
the jpg nature even if digitally zoomed .. if it were RAW it would be
awfull to look at .. so what evidence is there to back up the idea
that the DZ is done before the jpg conversion ?
(no to speak about the considerable computing power needed to
recalculate each DZ step from RAW to jpg just in order to show what is
going to be pictured ..)
just curious .. :-)
Anonymous
July 8, 2005 12:46:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

>>>When working in this manner there is a significant point which always
seems
>>>to be overlooked by the digital-zoom detractors. The camera's cropping
>>>algorithms get to work on the raw image before that first jpeg
compression.
>snip
>
>could you point us to some reliable tech documentation that sustains
>this claim ? To me this starts to live the life of a myth ..
>especially as the info aka picture you see on the LCD and/or EVF is of
>the jpg nature even if digitally zoomed .. if it were RAW it would be
>awfull to look at .. so what evidence is there to back up the idea
>that the DZ is done before the jpg conversion ?
>(no to speak about the considerable computing power needed to
>recalculate each DZ step from RAW to jpg just in order to show what is
>going to be pictured ..)
>just curious .. :-)

I believe I was fairly careful not to make a claim, just to pose a question.
Checking back, my precise words were "that must surely be better...".

No, I don't have any scientific evidence, just a gut feel. As for evidence
that the zoom is done before compression, I am just banking on the sanity of
the firmware developers. It's the obvious way to do it. Why impose two
jpeg compression losses when you don't need to? Mind you, my experience in
the industry is that the sanity of fellow developers is not always to be
relied upon.

The spirit of my posting was that you can quote all the science you like.
Provided the final image is adequate for whatever purpose you want it for,
then the method for obtaining it is legitimate. Digital zoom produces (for
me) adequate images and has the advantage of convenience. I maintain that
whilst the value of this feature is small, it is not zero.

Regards
Keith
Anonymous
August 28, 2005 1:47:09 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <42cc447f$1@news.wineasy.se>, "per" <nospam@nospam.com>
wrote:

> Most cameras have digital zoom.
> All reviewers say it's worthless.
> Crop it and enlarge it in Photoshop, and the pic will be much better, they
> say.
> Is that all there is to it?
> If you have access to the RAW file, maybe, but on a point and shoot with a
> compressed jpg output, could not the camera processor make a better jpg
> compression with less surplus input?
> Have you seen any comparisons on the web between digital zoom and Photoshop
> enlargement?

Try it and find out. Digital film is reusable, so feel free to
experiment.
Anonymous
August 30, 2005 9:56:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

In article <srhi-F8E3B8.09470928082005@news.giganews.com>,
Shawn Hirn <srhi@comcast.net> wrote:

> In article <42cc447f$1@news.wineasy.se>, "per" <nospam@nospam.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Most cameras have digital zoom.
> > All reviewers say it's worthless.
> > Crop it and enlarge it in Photoshop, and the pic will be much better, they
> > say.
> > Is that all there is to it?
> > If you have access to the RAW file, maybe, but on a point and shoot with a
> > compressed jpg output, could not the camera processor make a better jpg
> > compression with less surplus input?

Probably not much.

> > Have you seen any comparisons on the web between digital zoom and Photoshop
> > enlargement?
>
> Try it and find out. Digital film is reusable, so feel free to
> experiment.

The only use I can ever see for digital zoom is if you don't have enough
memory and that is so rare now.

--
Clark Martin
Redwood City, CA, USA Macintosh / Internet Consulting

"I'm a designated driver on the Information Super Highway"
!