Posted: 09/11/2013 at 12:49
As digital cameras have improved so has the digital zoom function. What a digital zoom does (in simple terms) is the equivalent of enlarging the middle section of what would be the whole picture instead of using the lens alone. Optical zoom uses the lens itself to its full capacity - when you add the digital zoom you are enlarging a portion of what the lens is seeing.
As digital cameras have evolved the ability to capture more pixels (the tiny dots the picture is made up of) has increased vastly so a digital zoom with say, a 1.5mp ccd ('close coupled device' which is the part that records the data in the camera [not the card which stores the data]) will give a more pixellated (fuzzy) result than say, a 5mp ccd simply because there are many more pixels in the higher resolution camera and so the higher the mp (mega pixels) the camera has the greater clarity the end results will be. A 14mp camera will give very clear pictures therefore compared to say a 3mp one.
One thing you will need to be aware of though: when using digital zoom it will be much more difficult to keep the camera still so it becomes more important to use a tripod or other steadying device or 'camera shake' will be evident in the pics you take.
Best way is to practice and compare the results: as there is no film to pay for and you can easily delete unwanted pictures is pays to take lots of pictures on all sorts of settings so that you get thoroughly used to what the camera can do.
Hope this helps and isn't too complicated.