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HomeGalleriesAbout George PerinaContactBuy ImagesGuide to Underwater Photography

     Digital Photography Basics
     Film vs. Digital
     Underwater Photography
     Underwater Housings
     Underwater Strobes
     50/50 Photography
     Tips and Tricks
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     Suggested Reading
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3. Compression (continued)

The smaller image file, on the other hand, demonstrates an obvious lack of image detail.

To overcome this drawback many new digital cameras have a camera setting that allows the photographer to record the images in "raw" format.  (see "Shooting RAW for a more detailed explanation of this format).

4. Optical vs. Digital Zoom:

In order to increase the desirability of their product, manufacturers routinely incorporate a digital zoom into their cameras. This feature is generally found on compact digital "point-and-shoot" models, not the larger and more expensive models with interchangeable lenses.

Unfortunately, digital zooms don't really zoom closer: they merely crop a center portion of the image and then magnify it by interpolation. The drawback to this feature is obvious: image quality suffers.

The same effect can be achieved with any photo editing software after the picture has been taken, and generally with better results, since a home computer has inherently greater power and more memory than a compact camera.

The optical zoom is by far the more important feature of the camera. With an optical zoom, the lens maintains the same image quality throughout the magnification range.

Optical Image   Digital Zoom Result
Optical Zoom
Digital Zoom
The inner rectangle denotes digital zoom area. Note the overall image quality taken with an optical lens   Note the obvious loss of detail after the center portion has been cropped and magnified digitally
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