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Zoom, Zoom

Most digital cameras have both an optical and a digital zoom. Sometimes you'll see “3X Optical 4X Digital” on the body of the camera, or maybe the camera will come with a sticker that says “12X Zoom,” and then in fine print the manual explains which portion is optical and which is digital. Unlike optical zoom (which moves glass elements in the lens around to increase the apparent size of an object), digital zoom really isn't a zoom at all. It works by cropping out part of the image and blowing up what's left.

TIP

Never, ever let the PhotoCoaches catch you using digital zoom. Any good photo-editing program will let you crop your picture and enlarge it (with the end result being just as cruddy-looking as if you did it in the camera). But at least by using a photo-editing program you won't be throwing away photographic information contained in the original file.



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