If you’re wondering whether you can zoom in/out on a GoPro, the quick answer is YES!

If you’re new to GoPro cameras or unfamiliar with how the zoom function works, this post will provide you with everything you need to know.

We will discuss the differences between digital and optical zoom, how to use the digital zoom function on your GoPro camera, and the situations in which it is appropriate to use this feature.

Which GoPro cameras have Zoom?

If you’re wondering which GoPro models feature Zoom, have a look below:

  • Hero 12 Black
  • Hero 11 Black
  • Hero 11 Mini
  • Hero 10 Black
  • Hero 9 Black
  • Hero 8 Black
  • Hero 7 Black
  • Hero 7 Silver
  • Hero 7 White
  • Hero 6 Black

It’s important to note that the zoom function on these GoPro models is still limited to digital zoom, which can result in a decrease in image quality. However, the convenience and ease of use of the digital zoom function can still make it a useful tool in certain situations.

gopro sd card

Do GoPro Cameras Have Optical Zoom?

No, GoPro cameras do not have optical 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.

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.

do gopros have optival zoom.webp

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.

GoPro Touch Zoom

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.

It’s important to keep in mind that the digital zoom feature on GoPro cameras does have its limitations. Because it’s essentially just cropping in on the image, using digital zoom can result in a loss of image quality and resolution. This means that if you plan to zoom in significantly, the resulting image or video may appear pixelated or blurry.

Note, that using digital zoom can also affect the field of view and depth of field in your shot. If you’re zoomed in too far, you may lose the wide-angle perspective that GoPro cameras are known for, which can limit the impact of the shot.



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.

Digital zoom on GoPro cameras can result in a loss of image quality, as the camera is essentially cropping the image to create the zoom effect. This can lead to pixelation and a decrease in overall resolution.

Using digital zoom can also result in a narrower field of view, which means you’ll capture less of the scene. This can be problematic if you’re trying to capture a wide-angle shot or if you want to include multiple subjects in the frame.

While GoPro digital zoom can be useful in certain situations, it’s important to use it sparingly and with an understanding of its limitations. If you’re looking for high-quality footage with a wide field of view, it’s generally best to avoid using digital zoom and instead try to get as close to your subject as possible or consider using a different lens or camera with optical zoom capabilities.

when to use gopro 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.


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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