Most cameras on the market nowadays offer both optical and digital zoom and for a person who may not know what it all means, it can be a little confusing.
Optical zoom works by changing the length of the lens on your camera which has the effect of bringing your subject closer. The way it works is similar to the lens on a 35mm film camera. With optical zoom, you are ensured that the quality of the image will still be maintained. Digital zoom is much different in that all it will do is take the picture as it is then crop it. After that, it will enlarge the photo to the desired size. Here the quality of the photo is greatly affected and sometimes is reduced.
This generally means that although you may seem to be at an advantage by having a larger image, the photo would have been enlarged to the extent that your photo will be unfocused with digital zoom. Any small details are likely to get lost. If you have that option, it is better that you turn off the digital zoom feature on your camera if it has one. This will help you avoid zooming in too close to the subject and in time losing quality of the picture because the digital zoom is usually an enhancement of the optical zoom.
There are many other options you have if you still want the subject to come closer without spoiling the quality of the photo through using digital zoom. If possible, you as the photographer could move closer to your subject maybe a foot or so as this will make a big difference. If not, you also have the option of setting your camera’s file size at its maximum. This is effective in that once the image is taken you can crop the photo with your subject in it. All in all, your image will still be of good quality.
This doesn’t mean that digital zoom is completely out of the question as it can still be used for photos that are to be posted on the internet. This is possible because photos that are to be posted on the internet are usually of a lower quality and it will still appear as though it is of good quality. If you are looking to print your image then it is advised that you just use a camera that has optical zoom instead of digital zoom.