What is the difference between optical zoom and digital zoom?
What is optical zoom?
A camera with optical zoom brings the image closer before you capture it. Your camera does this by moving different lens parts relative to each other. That is why the lens moves when you zoom in with an optical zoom. This brings you closer to the image without losing quality. Note: you do not zoom in with every lens at all without lens errors. For example, lens errors express themselves in contrast reduction and blur.
What is digital zoom?
If your camera has digital zoom, it zooms in on a specific part of the image. That part is then increased to the total number of megapixels your camera sensor has. In fact, a piece of image is cut out and brought to the correct size. With cameras with a high resolution, it is possible to zoom in without too much loss of quality. If you zoom too far for the size of the sensor, your image will be out of focus.
What are the main differences?
In short, with optical zoom you first get the subject close before you capture it. With digital zoom, your camera uses part of the image and later brings it to the correct size. With digital zoom, you therefore have more chance of quality loss. Compare it to an image that is too small and enlarged to make pixels visible. The disadvantage of optical zoom is that lens errors occur when zooming with less advanced lenses.