Digital vs. Optical Zoom for CCTV Cameras Leave a comment

When purchasing a security camera, one of the things that must be taken into consideration is the zoom. The zoom greatly affects how much detail you’ll be able to see when playing back footage. If a CCTV camera doesn’t have the zoom capabilities you need, then you might be missing out on capturing important details. There are two different types of zoom, optical zoom and digital zoom, which will produce different results.

Digital Zoom

For the most part, there are two different types of zoom. The most basic type is digital zoom. With digital zoom, the camera will essentially crop out the outer edges of an image and enlarge the image by stretching it. This results in a closer view, but the downside is that the image will usually appear blurry and in low quality because the pixels are being stretched. If you’re wanting to use digital zoom, it’s better to use it on a camera with a higher resolution. The higher pixel count on high resolution cameras will make the image look more clear and detailed.

Optical Zoom

The next type of zoom is optical zoom. Optical zoom involves adjusting the actual lens of the camera. When you rotate the lens on a camera, the lens moves further or closer to the optical sensor. When the lens is closer to the optical sensor, things will appear zoomed out. When it’s further, the image will look zoomed in. Unlike digital zoom, using optical zoom will keep the image clear and detailed.

For optical zoom, there are 3 different type of lenses that can be used:

  • Varifocal lenses: This type of lens has to be physically adjusted manually by rotating the lens on the camera.
  • Motorized lenses: Unlike varifocal lens, motorized lens does not require the user to adjust the lens in person. Instead, the camera has a motor that will adjust the lens when the user controls it remotely through the NVR.
  • PTZ lenses: PTZ lens can be controlled remotely like motorized lens, but the user can also change the position of the camera. With motorized lens, only the lens is being adjusted while the camera stays stationary.

Which Type of Zoom is Best?

As with any specification, there is no zoom option that will fit the needs of every person. The type of zoom you should use will vary depending on your purpose and situation. The main benefit of using optical zoom is that you can zoom in on objects from a far distance without sacrificing image quality. However, you can only adjust the zoom while the video is being recorded. Digital zoom can be added to footage that has already been recorded, but you risk the image getting blurry.

If you’re wanting to use your CCTV camera to capture things like faces or numbers then optical zoom would be the better choice because it allows you to zoom in on hard-to-see details with great clarity. If you’re just needing a security camera for general surveillance and monitoring, then digital zoom will do the job. But if you ever have any doubts about which type of zoom would best suit your purpose then you can always give our sales team a call at +1 877-926-2288 or send an email to [email protected]

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