PhotosGuy wrote in post #18533738
Stay away from Digital zoom & only use Optical zoom & you should see better results.
... unless one is shooting in highly-compressed JPEG without RAW, in which case a 2x digital zoom will contain more real detail than a cropped image at maximum optical zoom only, because less detail from the area of interest (the digitial crop or "zoom") is discarded in the creation of the JPEG.
It is better to have a camera that has optical zoom, usually, at the magnification that you desire, but that does not mean that you shouldn't use digital zoom if available. If you have maxed out analog zoom, and digital zoom can be fixed at exactly 2x, its only downside is that it crops permanently any shake in the camera, or jumping of the subject, in the JPEG, and possibly in a RAW, if the camera also crops the RAW image. If you can hold the camera steady enough, it may not be bad to use the digital zoom at exactly 2x; just don't substitute it for optical zoom. Another point in that regard is that the maximum aperture size gets smaller as you zoom out (even though the minimum f-number goes down). So, you generally get more light and less noise with the same shutter speed, using optical zoom instead of relying on digital zoom.