Don’t Just Look For The Best Overall Zoom Capability In A Camera, Look For Optical Zoom
I know that choosing cameras based on their overall capabilities sounds like a good idea, and it usually is, but bear in mind that digital zoom is not real zoom.
Most cameras have optical and digital zoom. Optical zoom is by far the most important type of zoom because it literally (and clearly) magnifies what you’re about to photograph using the lens. Optical zoom is helpful, but limited because it can’t go as far as digital zoom.
It is common for optical zoom to top out at 10X, which is usually more than enough to clearly capture shots from across an area (200 square feet), after you reach your camera’s optical zoom limit, if you try to zoom any further, it may start using digital zoom.
At this point, you should stop zooming. This is when the image becomes distorted. All digital zoom does is blow up pictures. It does not magnify them. The picture will be bigger, but so will the grains and all the other distortion in it.
If you want to achieve the effect that digital zoom does without distorting your original picture, you can simply make a copy of it and then blow it up in an image editor such as The GIMP or Adobe Photoshop.
A Camera’s Megapixel (MP) Rating Is Not A Measure Of Overall Quality
A camera’s megapixel rating is actually the maximum resolution of the photos it takes. You may be confused by the fact that a 12 MP camera might cost $500, while a 16 MP might cost $100. Isn’t the 16 MP one better? What’s the catch?
You should never judge a camera by its megapixel rating because that could lead you to overspend on a low quality camera that doesn’t suit your needs. A sure way to find what you want is to look for sample photos of various camera models and view them at the scale they will be used at in most cases.
Don’t blow them up to their maximum: In other words: You should look at them at one of the following resolutions: 1600×1200, 1600×900, or 1440 x 900.
Today, your camera shouldn’t be able less than 5 MP if you want large photos, otherwise you’ll end up blowing them up and distorting them.
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