Is there a difference between getting closer and zooming in?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by ella, Jun 9, 2004.

  1. ella

    ella TPF Noob!

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    I have been wondering this for a while...

    Does it make a difference to the quality of your photos whether you zoom in with your camera, or whether you get closer to the object? I can't say I've ever noticed a major difference, other than I slightly less crisp image, but I can't help feeling that using the zoom is not as 'good'. Does anyone know anything about this??

    TIA!
     
  2. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    When you zoom you are changing the focal length of the lens. So zooming does not equal getting closer to the subject.
     
  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Your zoom lens does have a "sweet spot" where it will be sharper at a particular focal length, than at others, although the difference with any modern (post 1995) zoom will be small, and maybe not even possible to see with the unaided human eye.

    Also, there is the possibility of atmospheric issues with shots taken from a longer distance, but this has to do with what is in the air (dust, haze, humidity, temperature distortions, pollution, etc...) and not your lens.

    Camera to subject distance affects perspective, while zooming (focal length) affects angle of view and magnification.

    If you take a pic of a building with a telephoto lens, and then take another pic from the same spot with a wide angle lens, then you would be able to crop an image of the building from the center of the wide angle photo, blow it up, and it would have identical perspective as the shot taken with the telephoto lens (although image quality would decrease as the enlargement ratio goes up).

    If you shoot an pic of the building with a telephoto lens, and then move closer to get a similar composition with the wide angle lens, the perspective will change, and the images of the building will not be the same.
     

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