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Digital Zoom

A method of decreasing the apparent angle of view of a digital photographic or video image.

Digital zoom is a method of decreasing the apparent angle of view of a digital photographic or video image. Digital zoom is accomplished by cropping an image down to a centered area with the same aspect ratio as the original, and usually also interpolating the result back up to the pixel dimensions of the original. It is accomplished electronically, with no adjustment of the camera's optics, and no optical resolution is gained in the process.

When comparing the image quality achieved by digital zoom with image quality achieved by resizing the image in post-processing, there's a difference between cameras that perform potentially lossy image compression like JPEG and those that save images in an always lossless Raw image format. In the former case, digital zoom tends to be superior to enlargement in post-processing, because the camera may apply its interpolation before detail is lost to compression. In the latter case, resizing in post-production yields results equal or superior to digital zoom.

Modest camera phones use only digital zoom and have no optical zoom at all. Usually cameras have an optical zoom lens, but apply digital zoom automatically once its longest optical focal length has been reached. Professional cameras generally do not feature digital zoom.

Key Terms

apparent angle view
aspect ratio
camera
centered area
digital photographic
digital zoom
image
method
result
video image

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Synonymns

Digital Zoom
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Last modified on May 25 2019
Content adapted from Wikipedia
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