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Hi! I was wondering if anyone has some advice for me here. I have the

option of getting a digital with 4 mp and 4x digital zoom or one with

2.1 mp's and 3x optical zoom and 2x digital. Most of the other

features are the same. I will mainly be taking pictures of my

children and printing 4x6's with an occasional 5x7. I would like to

have some zoom but also want my pictures to look nice. I've read that

just having the digital zoom is kind of pointless without optical. Is

this true? Thanks

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Optical zoom actually magnifies the image. Digital zoom just enlarges what the lens sees -- like putting a magnifier over a photo in the newspaper -- magnify enough and you'll see dots. So, optical zoom is usually preferable as digital zoom really does not enhance the raw image. Megapixel ratings can be misleading - there are many camera discussions and comparisons on this web site that discuss this. You might try the basic equipment ones. Good luck!
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I no expert, but I agree. I asked a similar question awhile back not knowing what a digital zoom really is. As mentioned, an optical zoom is like those on film cameras and magnify the subject you are photographing through the lens itself. A digital zoom is like cropping down the image produced by the optical zoom, and the image quality is degraded. If you ever tried to crop down a film image, you know how mushy and grainy the cropped image can get. That is what a digital zoom will do.


I would suggest that you explore at least a 3.0mgp+ camera with a good optical zoom. I think Olympus makes a 3.0 with a 10x optical zoom (to 380mm). That sounds pretty good. It will cost more immediately when you buy the camera to get a quality unit, but you will save money in the long run since you will not have to buy another better camera when you become dissatisfied with the results of a 2.1 camera or relying on a digital zoom.


I have a 5.0 mgp camera and am exploring the use of ad-on optical converterts with good success, and never us the digital zoom.


That's my suggestion.

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Digital zoom is really a waste of time: the quality is bad and it does nothing which can't do with a computer afterwards. Check closely the specs of the 4 Mpix camera, most digicams have some sort of optical zoom.


There are differences between megapixels and megapixels, but 2.1 sounds awfully low. I would recommend a 4 or 5 Mpix camera (and it's good to have a little "room for growth": you'll never know when you'll take a memorable shot of your kids which you want to have an 8x10" of.

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