Understanding camera zoom and recommendation for backpacking/hiking camera

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
daba6 New Member • Posts: 8
Re: Understanding camera zoom and recommendation for backpacking/hiking camera

Dmac73 wrote:

I'm considering buying the Sony rx100vii. I'm trying to grasp what the 200mm equivalent zoom does for me. I've read somewhere that 200mm is 10x zoom but then they get into focal length and something about 10x is just max focal length /min focal length. I would just like to be able to understand how plays out practically without having access to camera. I do have a set of 7-15 x 25 binoculars. would 200mm be the same as 10x on those?

I'm mainly looking for a camera to take on week long trips backpacking. I want something better than my phone but still light that can do mountains, glaciers and the ocean justice but also wildlife when the occasion presents. I don't want to get to close to bears, spook caribou or swim out to sea lions but i would like be able to get a half decent photo of them.

to be honest the rx100vii is at the high end of my budget. Would something like the ZS100 be good enough? Other recommendations welcome. Basically decent zoom that fits in hipbelt pocket and better than phone camera.

I was even looking at the FZ300 but the fact that its basically a phone sized sensor with out all the cool phone post processing. Its also just to big for what i want.

Dmac73 ,

Your second sentence " ... x is just max focal length /min focal length " hits the nail on the head : the zoom "... x " factor is the maximum (longest) focal length divided by the minimum (shortest) focal length .

If the zoom ,say in your example , for the zoom to be 10 x , something mm to 200 mm , that something would be 20 mm , because 200 divided by 20 = 10 .

This has been a long-standing confusion for many people . Many people are assuming it's the magnification , maybe confused with binoculars and some telescopes .

The actual ... mm focal length setting is what achieves the magnification / reduction . Zoom is simply a change in the focal length setting and thus a change in the magnification reduction .

On the rx100vii , the zoom lens (I believe) is actually (in real world maths) 9 to 72 mm (see the front of the lens ) which technically means 8 x zoom . The so-called "equivalent" size is 24–200 compared to the lens of a full-frame-sensor camera.

To " understand how plays out practically " ,  the maximum magnification your RXV100 lens could achieve is about in vicinity 4 to 5 x magnification, meaning you can make things look 4 to 5 x bigger (and seemingly) closer than you see with your eyes ,  so  like a 4 to 5 x  power binoculars .

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