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Not sure if this is correct channel...Question about Digital versus Optical Zoom

As stated not sure where to place this question.  To me it is a Graphics question as when I am done with work I import it into Video Graphics programs - might be better placed in multimedia... but here is question.

I have a Sony Analog Hi8 HandyCam.  I know I could have purchased a Digital8 or straight Digital Sony - but I owned a Video8 Sony for 10 years and had lots of older tapes and with a TV capture card I can bring the tapes on the computer easy.  The question is about zoom.

The Video8 had a 12x optical.  The new camera has a 20x optical and a 990x digital zoom.  Over 40x it is useless.  But I do find the 40x to be quite good in some instances.   However, I get a small but noticeable shimmer when using 40x - similar to the effect of when looks out in a straight field of sight on a warm day with the naked eye and can see the horizon at end of view and sees "water".  A heat effect.  

Is this just a natural limitation of the camera?  I can use an unsharp filter and eliminate most of it.  Straight optical produces no such effect.  So I was wondering if I obtained a true optical lens to increase optical by 2x or even 3x if I would still have the same problem.  Any thoughts?
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bobsanders653
Asked:
bobsanders653
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bobsanders653Author Commented:
A teleconverter they call it
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lherrouCommented:
Remember that when you are using digital zoom, all you are doing is limited the area of the CCD used for the picture, and blowing that smaller portion of the picture up larger to fill the frame. In other words, there is a loss of resolution. I suspect that the "shimmer" effect you you see is the results of Sony's agorithm for blowing that smaller picture up to fill the frame.

Sony does make screw-in telephoto lenses for many of their consumer cameras. Since you didn't state your exact model number, I can't say for sure if they make one that fits yours, but their current models are the TRV138 and TRV338, both of which take Sony's VCL-HA20 33mm 2.0X Telephoto Conversion Lens (giving you 40x optical zoom at roughly $100), and also their VCL-ST30 37mm 3.0X Telephoto Conversion Lens (giving you 60x zoom at $400).  

Remember that when using a teleconverter (as BobSanders said, that what these really are), you will experience light loss, so for filming in low light situations, you'll want to make sure it's not attached. Also they will block the built-in video light and night-shot illuminator.
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lherrouCommented:
Thanks for the points and the "A". Glad we could help, and good luck with your filming!
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