IPHONE 7 PLUS: Optical vs Digital Zoom Comparison

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by MrJavelina, Oct 8, 2016.

  1. MrJavelina macrumors member

    MrJavelina

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    Phoenix, Arizona
    #1
    A comparison of the new iPhone 7 Plus optical vs digital zoom. Compares 1X, 2X Optical, and 3X, 4X, and 5X Digital zoom in both 1080 and 4K.



    How much zoom would you use?
     
  2. x34 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 19, 2014
    #2
    simple: never digital.

    (no, i did not watch this video)
     
  3. Taco1933 macrumors 6502

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    Aug 14, 2014
    #4
    May or may not be a stupid question and may or may not be the right place to ask but: What does digital zoom actually do? Does zooming with the camera produce better results than trying to zoom and crop a 1x photo?

    In the past I'd always found digitally zoomed pictures look pretty bad, so I've just avoided it all together.
     
  4. Peepo macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    How can you tell if it is using optical or digital in 2x? I heard it depends on the light and in low-light conditions it uses digital even in 2x.
     
  5. laudern macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Imagine you have a jpeg of an image. You then zoom in on a section of that image with the scroll wheel of the mouse. You have just done a digital zoom.

    Optical zoom is where you are changing location of the lense to be closer "zoomed in" to the image and you are not wasting pixels which are no longer on screen.
     
  6. rijc99 macrumors 6502a

    rijc99

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    #7
    Or in Apple's case, switching to an alternate fixed lens.
     
  7. MrJavelina thread starter macrumors member

    MrJavelina

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    #8
    Never digital is a good general rule, but in some cases, to get a shot which might otherwise be missed with 7+, I've found 3x digital to be acceptable. Your mileage may vary.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 8, 2016 ---
    Thank you for watching and the kind words.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 8, 2016 ---
    You are correct. In low light, the stock iPhone app may disregard the second f2.8 zoom lens and apply digital zoom with the f1.8 standard lens. I helps to know this to get the most out of the 7+.

    Also, the optical zoom lens does no have image stabilization, so a tripod may be needed for video.
     
  8. TrueBlou macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    #9
    As a rule I say never digital, why would you, optical is the only true zoom.
    You can crop an image in post processing if you really want to get closer.

    Anyway, throwing the photographer in me away for a minute and I saw something surprising. Now I know, at least I'm sure, the sensible head is telling me that when I get in front of my big screen and re-watch that video, that I'm just not going to like the digitally zoomed sections.

    But, as I stand here watching it on my small 1080p iPhone screen. All of those shots looked good enough to view on this small screen. I'm actually surprised that when I just turned off my over active critiquing nature and watched the video at a reasonable distance, they were all acceptable on this screen.

    Thanks for doing the video, it was an interesting viewing experience.
     
  9. MrJavelina thread starter macrumors member

    MrJavelina

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    #10
    I'm happy to hear you found this video useful TrueBlou. Something I'll address in a future video is shooting 2x optical clips at 4k, then cropping these clips 2x in post and down sampling the 4k video to 1080. Technically this should result in nice clean 4x zoom.
     
  10. MrJavelina thread starter macrumors member

    MrJavelina

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    #11
    I've experimented with determining when the stock camera app chooses digital rather than optical zoom in low light. If you cover the tele lens (closest to center of iPhone 7 plus) with your finger and you still see the subject, the app has chosen digital zoom. You must be quick though, because if the tele lens is being used and you cover it, the app will switch to wide digital zoom in a few seconds. Rather crude method, but it works.

    You can also use third party apps which allow you to choose which lens to use.

    Thanks again for watching and commenting.
     
  11. Peepo macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 18, 2009
    #12
    Ya since posting I also did some experimenting and seems that it uses both lenses - when i was outside in bright light and it was using the telephoto lens it added a whole bunch of white which looked overexposed when I covered the wide lens.
     
  12. MrJavelina thread starter macrumors member

    MrJavelina

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    #13
    It's good to hear we both had similar results. I understand why Apple is letting the app choose the lens, but wish they would give us the ability to choose.
     
  13. Steve686 macrumors 68030

    Steve686

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    #14
    Doesn't the zoom(2x) lens use the wide(1x) lens to measure the amount of light? I thought I read that.

    So if you have enough light to activate the 2x lens, then cover up the 1x lens with your finger and obscure the light source, wouldn't the camera choose to take a picture from the 1x lens and consider the scene too dark for the 2x lens?
     
  14. MrJavelina thread starter macrumors member

    MrJavelina

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    #15
    Definitely worth a try.

    Many thanks for the suggestion.
     

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