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Optical Zoom

in Camera, Light & Sound Equipment, Film and Video Glossary on 2023-02-15

Optical zoom is a feature that allows a camera lens to change its focal length, giving the impression of the image getting closer or farther away without sacrificing quality. This is in contrast to digital zoom, which simply crops and enlarges the image. Optical zoom is an important feature in many filmmaking scenarios where the subject is too far away from the camera to capture adequate detail. It allows filmmakers to adjust the framing of a shot without physically moving the camera or sacrificing image quality.

Optical zoom is measured in “X” or magnification, with higher numbers indicating a greater range of focal lengths. For example, a 5X optical zoom lens can range from a wide-angle focal length of 24mm to a telephoto focal length of 120mm. The higher the magnification, the greater the flexibility in shooting scenarios.

While optical zoom is a valuable tool, it does have its limitations. The magnification of the lens is predetermined, and cannot be adjusted on the fly. Additionally, the physical size of the camera body and lens can make it difficult to use in certain situations, such as cramped or tight spaces.

In conclusion, optical zoom is important for filmmakers looking to capture high-quality footage of subjects at a distance. Understanding the limitations and capabilities of optical zoom can help filmmakers make informed decisions when selecting equipment for their productions.

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