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Is the 2X zoom on an iPhone 8 Plus digital or optical zoom

 
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Stanley



Joined: 02 Aug 2009
Posts: 71

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:21 am    Post subject: Is the 2X zoom on an iPhone 8 Plus digital or optical zoom Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I recently took some macro shots using my iPhone 8 Plus at 2X zoom. I thought that 2X on the iPhone 8 Plus was optical zoom.

But the EXIF information on my photographs called my 2X “DigitalZoomRatio.” So, please, is the 2X zoom on my camera optical or digital?

Thank you.

Stanley
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Stanley



Joined: 02 Aug 2009
Posts: 71

PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

No one answered by question regarding digital versus optical zoom, and of course none of you nice people were obligated to respond. So I continued to further investigate this issue.

I was not finding definitive answers, so finally I contacted Hunter Research & Technology (let’s call it HRT). Why this company? Because I took the photograph, which prompted my question to begin with, using the theodolite app that they produce. Just to be clear, I have no financial interest in HRT at all, but some time ago I purchased a bundle containing four excellent apps that they make. This package, for which I paid about $11, contains a theodolite (which you can just use as a camera), an altimeter, and a compass. Although the theodolite does not have its purpose to take close-up photos, I did use it for that purpose. In particular, I took a close up of a small, empty wasp nest that I found while doing some cleaning around my house, and I used the 2X zoom on my iPhone 8 Plus to take the wasp-nest picture.

What confused me was the fact that the EXIF information on my photograph refer to the 2X zoom on my picture as “DigitalZoomRatio.” Now, in a previous inquiry that I sent to HRT, the owner of the company told me that “devices with dual camera have optical zoom for 2X and digital zoom for 4X and 8X.” In case you did not know, the iPhone 8 Plus does have a dual camera. So, then, why did the EXIF data call the zoom ratio digital zoom?

Here is the answer that HRT sent me to that second question. I am sure that I may cite the response, since I am not saying anything negative, and in fact I am praising the apps that HRT produces. For clarity, I am editing the answer slightly:

“We use that tag because it’s the only EXIF tag available to store zoom information. It doesn’t imply anything about whether it’s optical or digital in the case of an iPhone. In fact, the Apple camera sensor doesn’t report whether an image is optical or digital zoom either, nor does it act like it has multiple lenses — as far as the software is concerned, it’s just a black box digital camera that delivers image data with certain metadata tags. The only reason we know certain devices use optical zoom is based on independent knowledge of the hardware. Interestingly, I don’t believe all digital cameras can report optical zoom — certainly not the Nikon digital SLR I own. The manual zoom optics on that lens have no electronic connection to the camera, and the image sensor captures the pixels as a 1X image regardless of the lens zoom.”

So there we have it. According to HRT, when you take a picture at 2X on a cell phone with dual camera (such as the iPhone 8 Plus), you are using optical zoom and not digital zoom. That is the case whether you use the iPhone’s native camera app or HRT’s theodolite app.

Stanley
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Pau
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Joined: 20 Jan 2010
Posts: 4790
Location: Valencia, Spain

PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting...
In fact if your dual camera phone has two cameras of different focal length likely you're no using a zoom at all, just the "tele" lens camera
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Pau
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Stanley



Joined: 02 Aug 2009
Posts: 71

PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Pau,

OK. That's an interesting thought, that I may just be using the telephoto lens.

Stanley
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Troels



Joined: 15 Feb 2016
Posts: 463
Location: Denmark, Engesvang

PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose Pau is right. Modern cellphones often have several separate cameras of different focal length.
Apart from that it should be rather simple to know if a certain camera uses digital zoom: At 2x digital zoom the width of the picture measured in pixels should be half that of the non-zoomed picture.
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Chris S.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Posts: 3265
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stanley,

Thanks for alerting me to the existence of Hunter Research & Technology's Theodolite app. I took a look at it and decided it would be well worth the $6 price for things I do. I also like their other apps, such as Professional Compass, professional altimeter, Nav Camera, and Weather. I ended up paying $11 for their whole bundle, and like it a lot. I have several other weather apps, but don't like any of them. I can delete them now, as this one does everything I want, and nothing I don't want. Perfect.

--Chris S.
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grgh



Joined: 09 Mar 2013
Posts: 241
Location: Lancashire. UK

PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stanley

Had the package from HRT for nearly ten years, got it just after they first bought it out.

you should really get into all its usage as its fascinating just how powerful it can be.

All the best.
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ohdeeremee



Joined: 24 Nov 2014
Posts: 25
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW, I was looking at some images in my Lightroom, knowing I took both 1X and 2X pix with a iPhone XS Max. They all show up as 3024 x 4032, but one has a Focal Length of 6mm and the other as 4.25mm.

That means it is really Optical, not digital 2X.

Should be the same for you iPhone 8 Plus.

George
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