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What is the difference between optical zoom and digital zoom in cameras?

What is the difference between optical zoom and digital zoom in cameras?

A: You should understand the difference between digital and optical zoom first.

Optical zoom is a feature of a camera that allows you to zoom in on a subject by adjusting the lens’s focal length. This essentially changes the magnification of the image and helps you get closer to the subject without physically moving closer. The advantage of using optical zoom is that it maintains the image quality, clarity, and resolution even when zooming in by using the camera lens.

Digital zoom, on the other hand, is a feature that lets you zoom in on a subject by cropping and enlarging the image using software technology, resulting in a highly pixelated and often blurry image. The advantage of using digital zoom is that it offers an additional zoom range beyond the maximum optical zoom, however, this often comes at the cost of image quality. As a result, it is recommended that you avoid using digital zoom if you want to ensure that you capture the best possible quality photos.

You can see it yourself that digital zoom loses the quality as it crops in. Digital zoom is more similar to cropping the actual image, which can be achieved in post-processing.

NOTE: Always optical zoom is better than digital zoom


Here is the CCTV lens main board for CCTV cameras FYR.

Fixed lens only supports digital zoom/electronic zoom but not digital zoom, which means the CCTV image only zooms in/zooms out by picture but not the lens.

An optical/motorized varifocal lens is a true and real zoom that supports CCTV image zoom in/zoom out by optical lens but not pictures.

For example below photo:

Fix lens camera is the first picture, it’s a fixed vision, and can’t zoom in/out.

Varifocal camera is the second picture, it’s a 10X motorized lens and can zoom in/out at long distances.

The best fixed lens camera and 10X zoom lens security cameras recommended:

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Written by Ruibosi Electronic Co., LTD  

Ruibosi Electronic Co., LTD   is a professional manufacturer of 4g wifi Ubox app solar security cameras, tuya smart app 4g wifi solar security cameras, etc.

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