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Old 05-12-2005, 10:06 PM   #1
Belle0101
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Digital cameras - optical zoom ... digital zoom?



DH feels that we should go digital. Well, you can call me a big chicken because I'm just afraid to go digital.

So I'm trying to educate myself. I'm looking at www.dpreview.com and www.steves-digicams.com but I just don't get digital and optical zoom.

Could someone put it into english, i.e., very simple terms for me? Please?

I think I'd like the convenience of digital vs my 35mm especially not having to carry around extra film. I take lots and I mean lots of pictures on vacation. Last year we took 3 vacations - Smokies, Gettysburgh and Disney - I lost track of how many rolls I shot after 35.

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 05-12-2005, 10:26 PM   #2
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I know what you mean. At WDW I carried my camera bag everywhere. I have a Canon ElanIIe 35mm camera . I also have a 50mm 1.5 lens for low light shots, a 24-70 zoom lens for wide angle shots and 70-300 zoom lens. I hauled all this plus film everywhere. Well I decided to buy a canon digital A75.
And you know what? I still haul around all my gear with me along with the digital...lol
I used the digital for typical "we were here, saw this type thing"
I used the 35mm for artistic type shot plus with slide film.

My 35mm beats out the digital in these areas:
1. low light pics. The shots I took at MVMCP with 800 speed film and the 1.5 lens clearly beat out the shots I took with the digital. The 35mm let me do longer exposures for the fireworks.
2. Zooming in. On the safari I was able to get closer shots with my 300 zoom lens.
3. The wide angle lens lets me get more objects into the picture. With the digital I had to keep moving backwards alot.
4. The color of the slide film beat out the color of my digital pictures.

The digital beats out the 35mm in these areas:
1. The volume of pics. I went crazy this last trip taking photos of things I wouldnt normally wanted to waist a frame of slide film on.
2. You can see right away if you blinked while having your photo taken with Mickey Mouse.
3. You can share the photos right away over the internet.


Also on your question about optical vs digital zoom.
Optical zoom is how far your lens will zoom out on the camera. Now after that it can digitally zoom in on the picture. I found the digital zoom to be quite pixally on my camera so I never go past the optical zoom point.
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Old 05-12-2005, 10:28 PM   #3
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Optical Zoom brings the pic closer to you. Digital Zoom makes the picture bigger - you lose the picture quality when you go to Digi-Zoom.

Most mid range ($200-300) cameras will have either 3x or 4x optical zoom, which is absolutely fine for picture taking!

also try www.cnet.com for camera reviews.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-12-2005, 10:35 PM   #4
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This really helped me understand when I started looking last summer:

http://allearsnet.com/btp/digital.htm

I ended up with a 10x optical zoom and 4.0 megapixl olympus and I love it (has a 4x digital I belive (I never use the digital!).
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Old 05-12-2005, 10:49 PM   #5
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optical zoom is much clearer. digital zoom can be pretty blurry. most cameras have both, with the digital taking over after you've reached the limit of the optical zoom.
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Old 05-12-2005, 10:54 PM   #6
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We went with a camera with a large optical zoom (12x) and anti-shake setting. It's been great!! We bought a larger memory card and took over 1000 pictures on our trip to DL - I love my digital!

We have the panasonic z something.....I don't remember what.
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Old 05-12-2005, 11:09 PM   #7
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double post - oops
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Old 05-12-2005, 11:10 PM   #8
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Bottom line - optical zoom is what you want to pay attention to. Optical zoom is a true lens zoom, bringing the image closer without losing quality. Digital zoom is an artificial zoom, the same as taking a picture on your computer and blowing it up and up and up until all you see are the pixels. All it does is pixelate the image.

I'd take a camera with 10x optical zoom and 100x digital over one with 3x optical and 700x digital zoom ANY day.
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Old 05-12-2005, 11:56 PM   #9
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Thanks for your help, I understand now to basically to ignore the digital zoom and really pay attention to the optical zoom.

One more question? I've been comparing cameras at all the sites and noticed this:

File Size (High Res.) 1.61 MB (80 images on 128MB card)

File Size (Low Res.) .65 MB (about 197 images on 128MB card)

I understand (or at least I think I do) that the higher the resolution the better. So say that I capture all my images using the high resolution they will be better quality pictures but I will have less stored on each card? Meaning when I go picture crazy on vacation it would smart to have multiple cards (I'm guessing they're removable) since I won't have access to a computer to move the images to?

Thanks again
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Old 05-12-2005, 11:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belle0101
Thanks for your help, I understand now to basically to ignore the digital zoom and really pay attention to the optical zoom.

One more question? I've been comparing cameras at all the sites and noticed this:

File Size (High Res.) 1.61 MB (80 images on 128MB card)

File Size (Low Res.) .65 MB (about 197 images on 128MB card)

I understand (or at least I think I do) that the higher the resolution the better. So say that I capture all my images using the high resolution they will be better quality pictures but I will have less stored on each card? Meaning when I go picture crazy on vacation it would smart to have multiple cards (I'm guessing they're removable) since I won't have access to a computer to move the images to?

Thanks again
Yes, you can buy extra memory cards. We have one large one and one smaller one. I'd like to buy one more large one (they're under $50 at costco) we take our laptop with us though so we unload every night, but we can still get 350 pics per card.
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October 2003 - Disneyland Paris not quite on-site
October 2004 - WDW POR & US/IOA Sheraton Studio City!
April 2005 - Disneyland
December 2005/January 2006 - Disneyland Paris Baby Ellie's 1st European trip!

Princess Ellie is......



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Old 05-12-2005, 11:59 PM   #11
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I completely agree with WDWguru. Optical zoom is definately more important. I have an Olympus C-740 with a 10x optical zoom. Standing back at the bronze statue of Walt and Mickey, I can zoom into a head shot of a performer on the stage in front of the castle, and the quality of the picture is amazing.
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Old 05-13-2005, 12:04 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belle0101
Thanks for your help, I understand now to basically to ignore the digital zoom and really pay attention to the optical zoom.

One more question? I've been comparing cameras at all the sites and noticed this:

File Size (High Res.) 1.61 MB (80 images on 128MB card)

File Size (Low Res.) .65 MB (about 197 images on 128MB card)

I understand (or at least I think I do) that the higher the resolution the better. So say that I capture all my images using the high resolution they will be better quality pictures but I will have less stored on each card? Meaning when I go picture crazy on vacation it would smart to have multiple cards (I'm guessing they're removable) since I won't have access to a computer to move the images to?

Thanks again

It all comes down to what you want to do with the digital pictures after you take them. If you just want to look at them on your computer, you can get away with shooting at the lower res. If you want to have them processed into actual physical photographs, go with the higher res.

My advice, take some shots of the same scene at the different resolutions and have one of each processed to a photograph. See which one looks good enough for you and shoot at that res.
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Old 05-13-2005, 12:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wathel R Bender
I completely agree with WDWguru. Optical zoom is definately more important. I have an Olympus C-740 with a 10x optical zoom. Standing back at the bronze statue of Walt and Mickey, I can zoom into a head shot of a performer on the stage in front of the castle, and the quality of the picture is amazing.

Ohhh I have the Olympus C-755 I just love it. Takes such fabulous pictures
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Old 05-16-2005, 12:00 AM   #14
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Hi everybody and thanks for your help!

After looking through the websites, reading the reviews, looking at costs ... we narrowed it down to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5K!

Lots of features, some that we won't need now but we can "grow into" it. Of course I've had my Nikon N65 for a couple years now and I still haven't grown into it. I guess you could call me a slow learner.

What first caught my eye with the Panasonic was the 12X optical zoom and image stabilizer. I like being able to zoom in the subject with my Nikon (wish I had a bigger zoom for it, someday maybe). All the reviews had positive things to say about it and very little negative.

Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it!
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Old 05-16-2005, 01:18 AM   #15
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You'll be glad you have the image stabilizer. I have an old Olympus C-2100. The first 10x optical zoom camera with image stabilization. I've taken some amazing shots in lower light situations that would not have been possible without image stabilization (or a tripod).

Like this one of the GMR at MGM or the pic in my siggy from the Lion King show at MK.

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