Whenever you compare video security cameras and systems, you will see a description of the camera's optical zoom and digital zoom capabilities.
In this article, we explained the difference between digital zoom and optical zoom, and how to choose between optical zoom and digital zoom security camera.
Optical zoom measures the actual increase in the focal length of the lens. Focal length is the distance between the center of the lens and the image sensor. By moving the lens farther from the image sensor inside the camera body, the zoom increases because a smaller portion of the scene strikes the image sensor, resulting in magnification.
So an optical zoom security camera will not lose pixels when you pull the lens closer and the picture is still sharp.(Within the range of optical zoom magnification)
The digital zoom measurement on a digital camera, to put it bluntly, is worthless under most shooting circumstances. Digital zoom is a technology where the camera shoots the photo and then crops and magnifies it to create an artificial close-up photo. This process requires magnifying or removing individual pixels, which can cause image quality degradation.
Which one should I choose? Optical zoom or digital zoom security camera?
For image quality purposes, optical zoom will always produce the best quality images for close-ups, but the quality comes with tradeoffs. With optical zoom, the field of view decreases as you zoom in. This means a optical zoom leaves certain areas “uncovered” during the zoom process.
In addition, the optical zoom security camera can shoot much farther than the digital zoom security camera and still be clear
Under normal circumstances, the optical zoom security camera will also have the function of digital zoom, but it will also be more expensive.
Another disadvantage of optical zoom is that you cannot use optical zoom on recorded videos or images.
Summary: Optical zoom cameras are better than digital zoom security cameras, but they are more expensive. When you have a particularly critical location to monitor, optical zoom can provide clearer close-up details, such as the license plate number of a suspicious vehicle.
Or if you need to shoot farther, you can choose a security camera with optical zoom at this time.
When you don't need to know more details about close-ups, you can choose a digital zoom security camera.