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Projector zoom refers to the capabilities of a projector''s zoom lens, a component now common among the majority of projector models. Zoom lenses allow for the size of the projected image to be adjusted without physically moving the projector.

You may have seen both a projector''s digital zoom and optical zoom quoted on spec sheets, which can be confusing. It is important to understand the differences to make sure you choose the right projector for your presentation application. This Projector Source Canada advice article should make clear what zoom is, and the differences between the various types of projector zoom that are available.

Types of projector zoom lenses

Projectors usually offer two types of zoom lens, either manual zoom lenses or motorized zoom lenses. A manual zoom lens forces the user to adjust the size of the image by standing next to the projector and physically adjusting the lens by hand. Motorized or power zoom lenses allow the user to remotely press a switch, for example on a remote control, causing the projector to automatically zoom in or out and correct the size of the image.
While a motorized zoom lens makes a smooth, focused image easily attainable from anywhere in the room, manual zoom lenses have their advantage in that they allow for subtle corrections to the framing of the image. Regardless, both are preferable to projectors without a zoom lens.

Optical Zoom

Optical zoom allows the projector to enlarge the size of a projected image by extending the lens to magnify the image, without forcing the user to move the projector or to suffer a decrease in the quality of the displayed image. Projectors boasting optical zoom capabilities can often enlarge the image by twice its size without a loss in image quality.
The primary benefit of this feature is that it allows for the projector to be placed at a further distance away from the screen without reducing the quality of the image. The added benefit of the screen being further away is that cables can be shorter, meaning less cost and less signal degradation.

Digital Zoom

Digital projector zoom functions by cropping the image and then enlarging the pixels to increase the size of the projected picture. This allows for the projector to be placed further away from the screen whilst projecting a larger image. The increased throw distance provides the user with greater flexibility when positioning their projector, but the down side is that the more an image is digitally zoomed, the greater the pixilation, and the greater the reduction in quality of the image. Furthermore, it is important to note that digital zoom can only make small changes to the projector''s throw ratio since factory lenses only allow for small variations in the throw distance.

When a projector''s specifications boast 1.3x digital zoom, remember that although you may be getting a 30% larger image, your image''s quality will suffer as the size gets bigger. A 1.2x optical zoom projector may be more expensive, but the image quality when zoomed in will be much greater.

We hope you enjoyed this article by Projector Source Canada.  For more information, or to purchase a display and projector for your business or home, visit us online at or contact us at 1-800-821-3021.

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