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Difference Between Optical Zoom and Megapixel

 Optical Zoom vs Megapixel

Optical zoom and megapixels are two widely discussed aspects of cameras and photography. This article will try to compare these two aspects to find out what they are in general. Later the difference between optical zoom and megapixel is discussed.
What is Optical Zoom?
In photography, the photographer is constantly exposed to conditions where he must take the photograph standing very far from the subject. It can be a wildlife scene or a faraway waterfall, which are impossible to get near, or even a shot where the subject will be disturbed by the presence of the photographer. The photographer requires a zooming method to take the snapshot with enough details on it. All cameras use a set of lenses to control the light that falls on the sensor or the film. In some cameras, there is a mechanism to adjust the set of lenses so that a faraway object can be zoomed in and a clear photograph can be taken. Some cases require for the photo to be of a wide angle, in that case the system can be zoomed out to fit in the image. This method of zooming in and out using mechanical methods to move the lenses is called optical zooming. Normally in a camera a zoom button has two ends, w and t. w stands for wide angle and t stands for telephoto. It must be noticed that when an image is zoomed in and out from the normal position of the lens, the image appears distorted. The center part or the outer parts depending on the zoom setting is stretched. Optical zoom, however, does not have much of an impact on image quality.
What is Megapixel?
Every camera has a sensor. In a film based camera, the sensor is the film itself. In a digital camera, electronic sensors such as CCD (charged coupled devices) and CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) are used as the sensor unit. A sensor consists of millions of photo sensitive electronic components. These components are placed on a plate as a two dimensional matrix to build the sensor. A single element is compatible to a pixel in the resulting photograph. Therefore, the number of pixels in the photograph is equal to the number of sensitive elements on the sensor. The megapixel value of the sensor is the number of sensitive elements on the sensor in millions. This directly corresponds to the size of the photograph. The megapixel value is also known as the resolution of the sensor. This directly determines the largest enlargement possible for a photograph. The amount of details that can be seen in the photograph is determined by the resolution of the photograph.
What is the difference between Megapixel and Optical Zoom?
• Both the optical zoom and megapixel determines the quality of the photograph.
• The optical zoom is a variable property, but the resolution is a fixed value for the sensor.
• Optical zoom is achieved by changing the distance between the lenses using a mechanical system. Resolution only depends on the sensor settings.


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