Crop/digital zoom quality

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 12,795
Lens quality and noise

Lens quality varies greatly and has a lot to do with how much you can crop an image. A lot of lenses simply can't resolve high frequency, pixel-level detail. But really, if you are customarily doing heavy cropping of images, you're doing photography wrong.

Especially with small sensor cameras like smartphones, their lenses tend to deliver a lot of diffraction, and so there is a limit to how much detail you can get out of them, even with otherwise great lenses.

There is a good advantage to having a sensor outresolve a lens, as it allows for better image processing, but it is a disappointment to those who like to pixel peep.

Cropping will give you more noise than if you simply moved closer to the subject and filled your frame with it, or zoomed into it with a longer lens. For example, if you extract ¼ of the pixels from an image, it will be approximately twice as noisy than if you captured the same scene with the whole sensor.

Averaging together the pixels to fit a smaller scene will reduce the noise in the image, but it may make the image look somewhat softer, depending on the method used to shrink the image. I'd suggest adding sharpening, if needed, after you resize the image.

 Mark Scott Abeln's gear list:Mark Scott Abeln's gear list
Nikon D200 Nikon D7000 Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D +2 more
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