If there’s one rule that I’ve drummed into people over the last decade it’s that digital zoom in smartphone cameras is a no-no. You gain nothing and, if anything, actually degrade the image of what you’re trying to capture. And I bet that you’ve seen some horrendous examples of digital zoom in action in the past, with little more than VGA resolution images blockily upsampled to 5 megapixels because the user ‘wanted to get closer’.
Which is why I find myself, somewhat shockingly, pulling a slight about turn on the subject of digital zoom. Don’t get me wrong, it can still produce ugly results in the worst cases but, used wisely, it can help rather than hinder.
Here then is everything you ever wanted to know about when it’s OK to use the digital zoom built into every smartphone camera.