Here’s how Sony Mirrorless cameras allow you to double your lens’ focal length without losing quality

Jan 30, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Here’s how Sony Mirrorless cameras allow you to double your lens’ focal length without losing quality

Jan 30, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Mirrorless market continues to expand, and many professional photographers switch from DSLR to mirrorless cameras. Both of the systems certainly have their advantages, but there’s one interesting feature you can find specifically in Sony mirrorless cameras. It’s called Clear Image Zoom, and it helps you turn a prime into a zoom lens (sort of) without losing quality. Manny Ortiz talks about it in this video giving you some tips and hints for using it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o80BszPSUng

Clear Image Digital Zoom is a feature hidden in Sony mirrorless cameras. It allows you to double your focal length on a prime lens without losing image quality. Now, I get the shivers from the very thought of digital zoom, but this appears to be something else. The explanation is as follows:

“The processor compares patterns found in adjacent pixels and creates new pixels to match selected patterns, resulting in more realistic, higher quality images.”

So basically, this is “digital zoom on steroids”. It crops into your sensor and enlarges your focal length two times. Manny uses 85 mm f/1.4, and this features gives him effective 170mm without losing quality.

This feature can be useful for wedding cinematographers who use mirrorless cameras. They can increase the functionality of their prime lens and don’t need to change lenses when covering crucial moments. As for photographers, you can also use this option. However, it has two downsides. The first one (probably expected) is – you can only use it in JPEG mode. And the second one is that you have no option to choose focus point. There will be a big “box” around your screen, and the camera chooses where to focus. Although, if there’s an obvious subject in your image, it will focus properly. After pixel-peeping in Manny’s video, you can see that the focus is correct and the quality of the image is still pretty good.

Now, because of JPEG-only issue, this feature may not be useful for photographers at all times. However, videographers could benefit from it and use up their lens and their mirrorless camera to the max.

I haven’t used this feature, as I have never had a mirrorless camera. So I would like to hear from Sony mirrorless owners. Did you know about this feature? Have you used it? Do you find it useful and does it affect quality or not? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

[How to turn a PRIME lens into a ZOOM lens (NOT LITERALLY) using the Sony A6500/A7RII/A7SII | Manny Ortiz]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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9 responses to “Here’s how Sony Mirrorless cameras allow you to double your lens’ focal length without losing quality”

  1. Chris 'Sharky' Wright Avatar
    Chris ‘Sharky’ Wright

    Sony rebrands the crop tool!

    1. Jack Pearson Avatar
      Jack Pearson

      It is a crop, but Sony uses proprietary algorithms to upscale and maintain the original resolution– 20Mp, 24Mp, or 42Mp. It is available on all of the Sony mirrorless cameras (RX100, A6000, and A7 series) I’ve done several tests using a tripod and target and it is difficult to see IQ degradation when using Clear Image Digital Zoom at low to medium ISO. Note that it only works when shooting JPEG.

  2. Elzafir Habsjah Avatar
    Elzafir Habsjah

    So, upscale?

  3. Karen Avatar
    Karen

    Thanks for the info. I have a Sony full frame. I’ve seen the option but I shoot in RAW so not sure how helpful it would be but I am going to try it out.

  4. EvilCuLT25 Avatar
    EvilCuLT25

    Using an expensive GM lens for that incremental tiny increase of quality over a G lens, the use digital zoom to take my shot.

  5. Kambis Avatar
    Kambis

    Is more than some upscaling? If you are going to write an article about it you could have at least provide some more information and maybe a comparison to best upscaling algorithms.

  6. cycleguy55 Avatar
    cycleguy55

    So, rather than using fewer pixels like digital zoom usually does, Sony uses an algorithm in processing pixel interpolation to ‘replace’ the missing pixels – is that correct?

  7. Richard Jackson Avatar
    Richard Jackson

    I thought they used this in video mode, without scaling.

    You have a 16MP wide sensor, but full HD is only 2MP, so downscaling is occurring normally. In this zoom mode, you simply fill your 2MP from a more centre portion of the available pixels.

    GoPro does the same on their cameras with the different field of view options. They have a 12MP sensor to start with, and fill the 2MP output from various widths to create the final output.

    As you pull from less pixels, you loose the noise cancelling benefits, but it’s still not requiring digital zoom algorithms.

  8. Michal Juul Avatar
    Michal Juul

    You get a much more in-depth explanation of Lavikka Photography

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQlqzOjcY_4