There is a big difference in function and performance when it comes to what kind of zoom a visualiser has. It’s therefore important to pick a visualiser which will suit your needs.
What is optical zoom?
Optical zoom is achieved by using the lens on your visualiser. It means when you zoom in on a specific part of an image with your visualiser it will maintain the resolution, showing the smaller area of the image at the same quality as when showing the image in full – no blurring and no loss of quality.
In the classroom for example, if you are wanting to show some letter formation on a piece of work, you can zoom in on just a few letters and the visual will show in the same clarity and resolution as when showing the full page.
Optical zoom visualisers tend to be larger – an Elmo LX-1 visualiser, for example, has 11 lenses within it – and so are more appropriate when there’s no need for portability. We’d always recommend an optical zoom visualiser for a classroom or meeting room, as the user is making no sacrifices when presenting to an audience.
What is digital zoom?
Digital zoom takes a portion of the image and enlarges it, thus ‘simulating’ optical zoom. In other words, the camera crops a portion of the image and then stretches it. In so doing, image quality is lost and the visual becomes blurry.
As a result, digital zoom visualisers tend to be lower cost than optical zoom models. They also tend to be more compact, and so are more portable for travelling presenters. The trade-off here is a loss of image quality when looking at sections or areas of a visual.