Thursday, 25 October 2012

Digicam goes through 50X Zoom Trial

Canon Powershot model SX 20 IS, offers optical zoom up to 20X and digital zoom up to 4X thus offering a total zoom of 80X. Present zooming trial is carried up to 50X, in other words, 20x optical zoom and 2.5 X digital zoom; the same zooming lever actuating both optical/digital zoom functions.

Location: Bengali Association Durga Puja, Chembur, Mumbai on 21.10.2012. All the frames are shot from same location on hand-held camera. 
Frame 1
Auto mode, Zoom 1 X optical (no zoom), 1.41 MB image, no flash
Frame 2

Auto mode, Zoom 1.2 X optical, 1.37 MB image, no flash
Frame 3
Auto mode, Zoom 1.4 X optical, 1.33 MB image, no flash
Frame 4
Auto mode, Zoom 2.4 X optical, 1.46 MB image, no flash

Frame 5
Auto mode, Zoom 2.8 optical, 1.51 MB image, no flash 
Frame 6
Auto mode, Zoom 7.6 X optical, 1.81 MB image, no flash
Frame 7
Auto mode, Zoom 11 X optical, 1.75 MB image, no flash

Frame 8
Auto mode, Zoom 18.2 X optical, 1.54 Mb image, no flash
Frame 9
Auto mode, Zoom 20 X optical/ 1.5 X Digital = 30 X Total, 1.34 MB image, no flash
Frame 10
Auto mode, Zoom 20 X optical / 2.5 X Digital = 50X Total, 843 KB image, no flash. 
Here the image has lost its clarity because the high total zoom magnifying the camera shake while trying to catch the image at the centre of the green AF (Auto Focus) frame. More often than not one gets an image not located centrally in AF frame, even though the shot may come out well. So multiple exposures of same subject is called for.
Frame 11

Auto mode, Zoom 20 X optical/ 2.5 X Digital = 50 X Total, 923 KB image, no flash.  

Finally caught up with the image in LCD monitor inside green AF frame and managed to press the shutter to get a flawless picture! The image stabilization feature of camera minimizes the adverse effect of camera shake to some extent.

Observations: For this trial the pixel set in camera M2 (2592 x 1944) suitable for making A4 size prints. As per the manual the maximum total zoom recommended for this setting is 31 X which is much lower than our trial at 50 X. Conversely, as per manual if one wants to shoot at 50 X total zoom, he should set pixels at M3 (1600 x 1200) suitable for postcard size prints. If one aspires to shoot at 80 X total zoom the manual recommends pixels at S (640 x 480) suitable for sending email attachments. It may be taken note of that manual recommendations are for obtaining best possible photo clarity for a particular pixel setting without giving cognizance to other factors. The Frame 10 which lacks clarity due to camera shake will fail as a photo for any pixel setting. 


  1. That was really informative indeed. Looking fwd to more in this regard... wished it was more 'subjective' than product oriented... on the face value the skill and info laden write-up looks more like a product review... why i write is because, some of the features you have mentioned are present in cameras of other brands too. It would help readers to sharpen their photography skills if more stress was given to grass root level tricks on how to click better pictures with limited resources and equipment. For example, the picture in the link below clicked by my daughter Shubornali, using 16X optical zoom with an upper end point and shoot Nikon L100 is much superior to the one clicked by my b'law using a better configured higher priced DSLR D5100. In order get near what she was able to capture, he would have to add at least another 9 grands on account of a telephoto lens to the 40 grands he already spent buying the DSLR. here a 15 odd grand worth of equipment performed better than 40 grand worth competitor, a reason, even though I own a D60 and D5100, I have decided not to part with the L 100.

    Not saying that you have not touched on the photographic skills in the blog, the specific mention of the Camera, right bang on the heading makes this look like more like a product review.... just a personal view... I enjoy reading your blogs, pls keep posting more.... :)

  2. Sorry I forgot to include the link... its here:

  3. Sunaabh, thanks for your comments. You are right, it is product review for zoom parameter for my present digicam. So those who own or planning to buy this Canon model or equivalent camera from other make, I am sure will gain some thing from this exercise. I also agree that photo taking ability of a person will depend on person behind the camera rather than camera model. I have not yet planned for grass-root level photography tricks. I will cover a small aspect of photography at a time. So, still a long way to go........