How To Use the Zoom on a Video Camcorder

The digital camera lens on your camcorder will almost always support zoom. Virtually any modern camcorder allows you to zoom into a subject and make it look much closer than it really is. Most cameras feature two types of zoom - Optical and Digital zoom. Optical zoom is where the lens actually moves itself. Digital zoom makes the image bigger by using software trickery. The quality of optical zoom is much higher.

Using zoom on your camera is actually very easy once you get used to it. With a bit of practice, it should be possible to learn how to zoom in and out while recording with ease.

Step 1: Reading the Manual

As every camcorder works differently, you will need to read the manual for your video camera. The instruction manual should be able to explain how to zoom in and out. If you can't find your manual, then you will need to download one from the Internet. Visit the manufacturers website and search for your camera. It will then be possible to download it to your computer. You will normally need to download the manual in PDF format, which means you will need to use Adobe PDF reader to open the file.

Step 2: Controls

Take a look at the controls on your camera and try to identify the controls which you use to zoom in and out. It should normally be fairly easy to find these. Take a look in the manual at the diagram which displays the controls for your camcorder. Try to work out which buttons you actually need to press.

If you still can't work out the controls, then you could search for advice on the Internet. Most cameras have intuitive controls which are very user friendly and easy to use.

Step 3: Zooming in

Hold your camera and point it at whatever you want to record. Either look at the screen or through the viewfinder depending on the model of camera you have. Now press and hold the button used to zoom the lens of your camcorder in. Release this when the subject is the right size on the screen.

There are normally two segments to the zooming bar. If you continue zooming past the first point, then this will be using digital zoom. When using digital zoom, the quality of the image will be lower so it's worth bearing this in mind.

Step 4: Zooming Out

Zooming out is also very simple. Simply press and hold down the opposite button and the camera should start to zoom out. This will mean that the image will start to look much smaller on the screen.

Zooming can be very useful to make the subject in your video look much closer even if it's a very long way in the distance. This is especially useful when trying to record videos of animals. Many birds will be frightened away by you, which is why it's so easy to use zoom to get close without scaring anything away.