If you’re wondering whether you can zoom in/out on a GoPro, the quick answer is YES! The recent models, like the GoPro Hero 9 Black and the GoPro Hero 8 Black have a zoom function for both video and photo modes. However, you only get the digital zoom function in these cameras. These action cameras don’t feature the more powerful optical zoom function yet.
In this post, you’ll discover all you need to know about how zoom in/out works in GoPro cameras.
Which GoPro cameras have Zoom?
If you’re wondering which GoPro models feature Zoom, have a look below:
- Hero 9 Black
- Hero 8 Black
- Hero 7 Black
- Hero 7 Silver
- Hero 7 White
- Hero 6 Black
In-Depth Information About GoPro Zoom
Many of the recent GoPro models feature Zoom, albeit not optical zoom. The version of zoom these cameras offer is known as ‘digital zoom’. It means that the zoom in/out in these cameras is done by its software by narrowing in on the center of the frame to zoom or enlarge distant objects.
So, how is Digital Zoom different from Optical Zoom?
Optical Zoom (or lens-based zooming) involves adjustment of lens optics or movement of lens barrels. This increases the actual image size when zooming in. So, it maintains image quality by actually capturing a more detailed resulting image.
Digital Zooming, on the other hand, is software-based. It’s quite similar to how image cropping works. The resulting image after digital zooming might look larger and closer. But, it includes the same information and size as the original image. Therefore, it isn’t as sharp!
Why GoPro cameras don’t offer Optical Zoom?
To keep your favorite action camera compact, lightweight and durable, GoPro includes only a fixed lens and not a zoomable one. That’s precisely the reason why optical zooming isn’t possible in GoPro cameras. However, to compensate, the GoPro cameras do offer software-based digital zooming.
How to Zoom In/Out on GoPro?
On the compatible GoPro models, you can zoom in/out using an on-screen slider. Here are the steps to do it:
- Step #1: Before you start shooting, touch the small magnifying icon at the bottom right.
- Step #2: You’ll see a slider at the right. Slide it up to zoom in or Slide it down to zoom out.
- Step #3: Start shooting with the desired zoom level.
Please note that Zoom in/out is only available before you start shooting. It means that you won’t be able to zoom in or out while shooting. To change the zoom level, you need to first stop the recording, zoom in or out, and start recording again.
When Should You Use GoPro Zoom?
Although GoPro Digital zoom might not feel very intuitive or as useful as optical zoom, there are various situations when you should use it. Here are some examples:
- When you’re shooting a stationary scene with GoPro attached to a tripod, but you feel that you can’t get closer to the subject.
- When you want to publish the zoomed-in shot right away (without editing).
- If you’re just looking for a quick shot and won’t mind if the image quality isn’t top-notch!
That said, there are several other times when I recommend that you avoid shooting with digital zoom. Here are some examples of such situations:
- If the quality of the shot really matters to you!
- When the subject is moving.
- If you can spare some time for post-production, go for editing later rather than using GoPro digital zoom.
Limitations of GoPro Zoom
Here are some limitations of the Zoom feature on GoPro cameras that are worth knowing:
- When shooting photos, the Zoom feature works only for JPG format (and not with the RAW image format).
- Zoom isn’t available for shooting in burst mode, time-lapse mode.
- The zoom feature isn’t available at the 4K resolution.
- Zoom isn’t possible while recording. You need to set the zoom before you start recording.
- You can only zoom in/out using the camera’s on-screen control. This can’t be done via GoPro mobile app or remote.
GoPro is an action camera. It’s meant for you if you want to travel light with just one durable camera that’s super easy to setup and shoot on the fly! While you can Zoom with some of the newer GoPro models, it’s a digital zoom, not an optical one like you get on some other heavier cameras with multiple lenses. In practice, there are limits on how useful the digital zoom is! Therefore, if you’re looking for cameras with more advanced zoom features, go for something like the DSLRs. However, beware that those cameras won’t be as portable and durable as the GoPros.
Thanks for reading 🙏
I hope this article helped you learn all you need to know about how zoom in/out works in GoPro cameras 🙂
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