What does digital and optical zoom mean?
Camcorders come with a zoom lens that lets you get closer to your subject. Don’t get confused with digital and optical zoom as the difference is considerable; optical yields the best results.
Digital zoom uses internal software to enlarge the centre of an image after the optical zoom is fully extended. This causes a drop in clarity as only part of the image is being enlarged. Image quality degrades leading to grainy, blurry looking images. Typically digital zooms range between 300x and 400x.
Optical zoom uses a lens, meaning it magnifies without the loss of picture quality. Most modern camcorders have at least a 10x optical zoom; plenty for general purposes. Some top-end models have 70x optical zoom. To get the best image quality during zooming, optical zoom should be used especially for long range telephoto pictures.