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     Underwater Strobes
 
     Lenses
 
     50/50 Photography
 
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4. Optical vs. Digital Zoom (continued)

When optical and zoom lenses are incorporated into one camera, their magnification ratio is the product of the two. In other words, a camera with a 3X optical zoom and a 2X digital zoom has a total zoom range of 6X.

Though optical is preferable to digital, in terms of quality, the combined magnification is often an acceptable compromise when no other solution is available. And since digital interpolation is a hit-or-miss process, it sometimes produces results almost equal to optical.

5. How Many Megapixels Do I Need?

One of the most commonly asked questions in digital photography is "How many pixels are enough?" Many beginners believe, incidentally, that a higher pixel count denotes a better quality camera, and this is not necessarily the case. Often the pixel count is interpolated, and is not a true indicator of quality.

Manufacturers rate their camera by megapixels (millions of pixels). This rating is based on the highest quality image setting of the camera.

For example, the Nikon D80 lists these specifications in the owner's manual:

3872 x 2592 (Large, 10.0 MP)
2896 x 1944 (Medium, 5.6 MP)
1936 x 1296 (Small, 2.5 MP)

 

The highest quality image setting (Large), is 3872 pixels x 2592 pixels.  This produces an approximate direct print of 8.5" x 13" at 300 dpi (dots per inch), without any type of computer manipulation or enlargement.

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