How to Get the Maximum Zoom From Your Camera

© Provided by Space How to Get the Maximum Zoom From Your Camera:

Getting the maximum zoom from your camera can help you capture detailed pictures of the night sky. It’s a key technique to master in astrophotography, where you’re often trying to overcome the vast distance between camera and subject. Planets, stars and nebulae only appear as distant pin-pricks to the naked eye but specialized techniques and equipment can help you capture them more clearly. 

Here, we break down what type of kit you should be looking out for – and what post-processing software you can use – to improve your chances of getting detailed imagery. For more basic tips, check out our astrophotography for beginners guide.

Digital Zoom vs Optical Zoom

Most compact and bridge cameras, in fact, most cameras which use a fixed lens system, boast about their zoom ability. For the most part this makes sense, because if we want flexibility in our photography then the greater the zoom range, the more options we have to capture different types of subjects. However, not all zooms are made equally.

The two types of zoom available for cameras are optical and digital. Optical zoom refers to the physical movement of the lens elements in order to attain a longer focal length and therefore zoom in on the scene. Digital zoom works by literally cropping in on the image sensor in real-time, reducing the number of pixels used to capture the photograph.

For obvious reasons optical zoom is preferable because photographs keep all their original image detail, so a 20 megapixel image will still hold 20MP after optical zoom, whereas digital zoom will reduce this. Digital zoom can also be replicated later in image editing software through the use of cropping, so using digital zoom in-camera is usually advised against because it reduces compositional options, something which we’ll come onto in more detail later.

Interchangeable Lens Cameras

Not all cameras have fixed lenses though. DSLRs and mirrorless (and a handful of compact/bridge) cameras use interchangeable lens systems, which allows the user to swap out one lens for another. This is extremely useful for astrophotography because it allows the use of different focal length lenses. That means you could switch from taking an astro shot of the milky way using a wide-angle lens, to a close-up of a nebula with the aid of a longer telephoto lens. 

But telephoto lenses can get incredibly expensive, so how do you get the same reach but at a much reduced price? That’s where a teleconverter comes in. Teleconverters attach between the camera body and the lens and can multiply the focal length. They typically come in 1.4x, 1.7x, and 2x multipliers. So a 200mm lens with a 2x teleconverter would now give 400mm focal length.

You can often use teleconverters in lunar photography, so it’s worth investing in one if you’re planning on regularly photographing the moon. 

Changing lenses and switching in and out teleconverters comes with a price, (literally as well as figuratively). With every change we risk dust and debris going into the camera and resting on the image sensor causing sensor spots, or even on the glass elements of the lenses themselves, giving other unwanted distractions. That’s why it might be better to purchase a zoom lens, something like a 70-200mm. Zoom lenses offer good optical quality no matter the zoom length as well as the ability to recompose without having to move. Though they are usually not as good optically, they are commonly less expensive.

Cameras With the Best Zoom

DSLR and mirrorless cameras have a suite of lenses to turn to when needing to upgrade the maximum zoom on your camera, but there are a number of surprisingly good zoom compact and bridge cameras on the market too.

Possibly the most famous for its insane camera zoom was the Nikon Coolpix P900 released back in 2015. It offered 83x optical zoom which is equivalent to 24-2000mm on a 35mm image sensor. While the camera is still available second-hand at around $500 its latest iteration, the Nikon Coolpix P1000 offers 125x optical zoom for even more incredible zoom detail. Other bridge cameras worth a mention are the Panasonic FZ82, the Sony RX10 III, and the Canon Powershot SX70 HS. 

Megapixels for Mega Shots 

Owning the camera with the highest megapixels doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll give the best photographic results, but when it comes to capturing as much detail as possible, generally the bigger the better. 

For example, if you’re shooting a picture of the moon and it appears relatively small in the frame, you could shoot it on a 40MP camera and crop down to half the size so that the moon appears bigger. You’d be losing half the pixel information but a 20MP image is still of high enough quality for most uses whether online or in print. This is a cheap way of optimizing zoom in your camera.

It’s All About Composition

Subjects near the horizon are sometimes visually amplified due to the thicker slice of atmosphere the light passes through. Have you ever noticed that the moon, as it rises above the horizon, is more oval-shaped and appears bigger/redder? That’s because the light is travelling through more of earth’s atmosphere, distorting the view. 

When subjects are composed next to foreground elements such as trees, horizons, or landmarks they appear larger because of the context the foreground elements provide. For example, this image over New York makes the moon appear large because the skyscrapers next to it are much, much closer to the lens. This play with perspectives can make it seem like there’s more zoom on your camera. 

Make Use of a Telescope Mount

Another way of getting maximum zoom from your camera is to attach it to a telescope. The camera is then only limited by the focal length of the telescope in use. Almost all major telescope manufacturers offer DSLR or mirrorless mounts so that astronomers can photograph astro subjects. They usually attach in one of two ways: either via a T-ring and prime-focus adapter mounted to the telescope; or using an eyepiece projection adapter if smaller subjects like planets are the desired subject. We have a full guide on how to take lunar photos through a telescope, for anyone who needs a little more guidance. 

Use Software to Maximize Zoom 

If you’ve maxed out your camera’s or lens’ zoom but are still underwhelmed with the results then it might be time to use some studio magic to maximize the zoom. One option is to literally crop-in on a subject as we mentioned earlier, but this restricts detail by removing pixels from the image, limiting the size of the image when published. However, new technology often powered by Artificial Intelligence offers to both crop in and retain or improve detail in photographs.

If using Adobe Photoshop CC then head to Filter>Neural Filters>Superzoom to make use of this feature. Other softwares that offer similar features are: Affinity Photo; Luminar AI; and Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

International Space Station tilted after thrusters on a Russian craft fired unexpectedly

The International Space Station was unexpectedly tilted on Friday after a test firing of thrusters on Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft continued longer than expected. First reported by the New York ... Read more »

NASA launches robotic archaeologist Lucy on ambitious mission to Trojan asteroids

© Provided by Space A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA’s Lucy asteroid-exploring spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in ... Read more »

Dame Mary Berry, 86, waited three hours for ambulance after breaking hip in garden

(PA) Dame Mary Berry has revealed she had to wait three-and-a-half hours for an ambulance after breaking her hip tripping over in the garden. The former Great British Bake Off ... Read more »

An Italian chef shares 8 dishes you should never order at an Italian restaurant, and what to try instead

Italian chef Barbara Pollastrini told Insider the dishes she’d never order at an Italian restaurant, including chicken fettuccine Alfredo. Ravsky/Getty Images Chef Barbara Pollastrini wants to help Americans understand “true ... Read more »

Sir David Amess: Angela Rayner urged to apologise for ‘Tory scum' remarks

Angela Rayner (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire) Angela Rayner is under fresh pressure to apologise for her “Tory scum” comments in the wake of Conservative MP Sir David Amess’ murder. Labour’s ... Read more »

I went inside the secret airplane compartment where flight attendants sleep on long-haul flights and was shocked by its size

Touring SAS Scandinavian Airlines‘ Airbus A350-900 XWB. Thomas Pallini/Insider Flight attendants don't enjoy the same luxurious seats that some of their passengers do on long-haul flights. Secret compartments in the ... Read more »

Best portable laptop battery chargers and power banks of 2021: stay charged wherever you work

The best portable laptop battery chargers and power banks are essential purchases for many of us these days who need to work flexibly. While the battery lives of many of ... Read more »

China's 'space dream': A Long March to the Moon and beyond

© STR / AFP Astronauts (fromL) Ye Guangfu, Wang Yaping and Zhai Zhigang wave at a departure ceremony before their launch on the Shenzhou 13 spacecraft, at the Jiuquan Satellite ... Read more »

Which Techtober gadget are you most looking forward to?

© Provided by Windows Central Surface Duo 2 Hero Another year, another tech-themed October. October is typically a big month for tech enthusiasts, as both events and fresh gadgets make ... Read more »

Best monitor for photo editing in 2021: top screens for photographers

Round out your photo editing arsenal with the best monitor for photo editing. Such a monitor is built specifically for photo, video and graphic work, and specialise in displaying colors ... Read more »

Apple MacBooks, Google phones, Samsung: Brace yourselves for another big week in tech

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – if you’re a fan of new tech. On Monday, Apple hosts a virtual event where it is widely expected to reveal ... Read more »

S. Korean researchers develop process that uses agri-waste to produce biofuels, plastics

Agricultural waste biomass, such as rice straw, could be used to create biofuels and plastic. The Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) had developed an enzymatic process that uses agricultural ... Read more »

Best Bluetooth headset 2021: top picks for hands-free conference calls and home working

Choosing the best Bluetooth headset is crucial, as they can be useful bits of kit for anyone who heavily relies on their phones. With many of us now needing to ... Read more »

Plant-Based Food Companies Face Critics: Environmental Advocates

The Impossible Burger, which has 21 ingredients, including soy, according to the company’s website, in New York, Aug. 30, 2019. (Con Poulos/The New York Times) Consumers and investors alike have ... Read more »

A brief chat with the fired #AppleToo organizer

On October 14th, Apple fired a leader of the #AppleToo movement for allegedly failing to comply with an internal investigation. The employee, Janneke Parrish, has been working behind the scenes ... Read more »

Ancient architecture might be key to creating climate-resilient buildings

The United States has braved a year of multiple billion dollar weather disasters throughout 2021. There have been record-breaking heat waves, a winter storm that shut down cities across Texas, ... Read more »

NASA launches mission to explore Solar System 'fossils'

One of the more important missions to study the early Solar System is now underway. NASA has launched Lucy, a robotic spacecraft that will be the agency’s first to explore ... Read more »

9 reasons why you'll never become a Data Scientist

Disclaimer: This story is not meant to discourage you. Rather, it should serve as a long hard look in the mirror. So you’re enthusiastic about Data Science, you’ve read a ... Read more »

This Linux and Git training can be a big step in your web development career

TLDR: The Mastering Linux and Git Certification Bundle offers insight into the open-source operating system, even if you’ve never touched a line of Linux code before. Everybody knows about Windows ... Read more »

Black Friday preview: deals on AirPods, iPads, Apple Watch, the iPhone and more

Black Friday deals are coming soon, and if you’re looking to snag a discount on an Apple device before the madness begins, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re ... Read more »

iOS 15.1 release date rumors, news and all the new features coming to your iPhone

Your iPhone will have only recently got iOS 15, but already iOS 15.1 is on the horizon and rapidly approaching. Despite this just being a 0.1 update, it also looks ... Read more »

The worst sex scenes in movie history, from Fifty Shades to Avatar

The worst sex scenes in movie history, from Fifty Shades to Avatar [This article was originally published in March 2021] Anyone who’s ever had access to an unfortunately placed mirror ... Read more »

Matt Hancock United Nations job offer withdrawn

Former health secretary Matt Hancock’s appointment as a United Nations special representative in Africa has been withdrawn. There was no immediate explanation for the decision not to go ahead with ... Read more »

Bitcoin-mining power plant raises ire of environmentalists

1 / 7Cryptocurrency Power PlantSmokestacks from the Greenridge Generation power plant tower above nearby homes, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, in Dresden, N.Y. One Bitcoin mining operation in central New York ... Read more »

Most diverse counties in Texas

© Larry D. Moore // Wikimedia Commons Larry D. Moore // Wikimedia Commons Most diverse counties in Texas The United States has a longstanding reputation as being a melting pot ... Read more »

Most diverse counties in Connecticut

© John9474 // Wikimedia Commons John9474 // Wikimedia Commons Most diverse counties in Connecticut The United States has a longstanding reputation as being a melting pot (or salad bowl), with ... Read more »

Most diverse counties in Michigan

© P199 // Wikimedia Commons P199 // Wikimedia Commons Most diverse counties in Michigan The United States has a longstanding reputation as being a melting pot (or salad bowl), with ... Read more »

Most diverse counties in Mississippi

© Provided by Stacker CapCase // Wikimedia Commons Most diverse counties in Mississippi The United States has a longstanding reputation as being a melting pot (or salad bowl), with its ... Read more »

Most diverse counties in Ohio

© Sean Pavone // Shutterstock Sean Pavone // Shutterstock Most diverse counties in Ohio The United States has a longstanding reputation as being a melting pot (or salad bowl), with ... Read more »

Most diverse counties in California

© Canva Canva Most diverse counties in California The United States has a longstanding reputation as being a melting pot (or salad bowl), with its diversity manifesting itself across many ... Read more »

NASA launch Lucy space probe on the hunt for Trojan asteroids

Lucy’s mission is the first to aim for Jupiter's Trojan asteroids. Scientists hope the Trojans may hold clues as to how the solar system's planets came to be formed. Read more »

Most diverse counties in Illinois

© Xing979 // Wikimedia Commons Xing979 // Wikimedia Commons Most diverse counties in Illinois The United States has a longstanding reputation as being a melting pot (or salad bowl), with ... Read more »

Most diverse counties in Tennessee

© Canva Canva Most diverse counties in Tennessee The United States has a longstanding reputation as being a melting pot (or salad bowl), with its diversity manifesting itself across many ... Read more »

Most diverse counties in Indiana

© Provided by Stacker Sean Pavone // Shutterstock Most diverse counties in Indiana The United States has a longstanding reputation as being a melting pot (or salad bowl), with its ... Read more »

Most diverse counties in Maine

© Starspiker // Wikimedia Commons Starspiker // Wikimedia Commons Most diverse counties in Maine The United States has a longstanding reputation as being a melting pot (or salad bowl), with ... Read more »

Most diverse counties in North Carolina

© Provided by Stacker CZmarlin — Christopher Ziemnowicz // Wikimedia Commons Most diverse counties in North Carolina The United States has a longstanding reputation as being a melting pot (or ... Read more »

Most diverse counties in Minnesota

© Mulad // Wikimedia Commons Mulad // Wikimedia Commons Most diverse counties in Minnesota The United States has a longstanding reputation as being a melting pot (or salad bowl), with ... Read more »

We might see the Apple AirPods 3 finally launch on October 18

We’ve been waiting for the Apple AirPods 3 for quite a while now, but it seems as though we might at last get to see them on Monday, October 18 ... Read more »