I want to buy a professional camera like Nikon D300. I googled a lot but did not overcome the following dubs. 1) I want a high optical zooming camera. In DSRL specification no zooming is specified. My question is is there no zooming in DSLR?

2) Probably for better zooming I need to buy lenses. Is it right? Because the lens which comes which the camera (kit) is of low zooming capability.


4 Answers 4


As noted by @mattdm, part of your question is answered before:

But it seems that you don't have a good understanding of the whole concept. An advantage of a DSLR is that you can use it with many different lenses, there are lenses with high zoom ratio.

enter image description here Photo: Photozone.de

Picture above is NIKKOR AF-S DX 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, it has the highest zoom ratio in Nikon lenses, that is 16.7x (300 / 18)

But there are other lenses, with more magnification and smaller zoom ratio. for example, NIKKOR AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II with only 2x zoom ratio is much longer than NIKKOR 18-300 (above) and more expensive.

Also some lenses come with a fixed focal lengths, such as the Nikkor 14mm f/2.8D AF ED which is wide lens on DX cameras or the recently announced NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E AF-S FL ED VR which is the longest lens in the NIKKOR lineup. a prime lens has a fixed focal length and angle of view, and there is no zoom to play with.

To have a better understanding of different focal lengths, I suggest you to check this NIKKOR Lenses Simulator, there you can choose different lenses and bodies. as you may know, D300 is a DX camera, which means it has a cropped sensor, on the simulator you should choose DX body with either DX or FX lenses.

If you need a camera with high zoom ratio at an affordable price, take a look at Nikon COOLPIX P510 or its newer version, Nikon COOLPIX P520, they both offer 42x optical zoom, their lens is similar to a 24-1000mm lens in 35mm (FX) format cameras.

  • 2
    You're welcome, just keep in mind that COOLPIX is not a DSLR, it comes with a fixed lens and the picture quality may be much lower compared to a DSLR. DSLRs usually allow for more creativity and they could produce pictures with better quality and lower noise, specially in low light.
    – Omne
    Feb 7, 2013 at 18:37

The camera just records images, it does not offer any sort of optical zoom, all of that is handled by the lens. This is actually good news as it means you can get the camera and choose different lenses for different situations.

The kit lens will offer approximately 3x zoom, starting at a fairly wide image, ending up zoomed in to a comfortable portrait field of view.

If you want more than this then you can get a super zoom lenses with up to 16x optical zoom.

  • I heard its upto 50x. Can you bit explain about the zooming, the x thing? Feb 7, 2013 at 15:57
  • The x just means times, with a 3x zoom at the most zoomed in setting objects are three times bigger than at the most zoomed out. Personally I haven't heard of anything more than 16x for a DSLR, 50x would be pretty extreme!
    – Matt Grum
    Feb 7, 2013 at 16:08
  • See the question I marked as a duplicate above, or also What does "how much zoom" mean?
    – mattdm
    Feb 7, 2013 at 16:08
  • @Sarah Keep in mind that DSLR lenses are not cheap, lenses with higher zoom ratio are not better lenses, and many good lenses come in fixed focal length, no zoom, just different magnification. check this Nikon Lense Simulator, choose different lenses (DX or FX) with DX format body such as D300 to get an idea about different lenses and focal lengths.
    – Omne
    Feb 7, 2013 at 17:41
  1. There is zooming in the DSLR, actually zoom is the feature of a lens.

For example: a 20-50mm lens can zoom 50/20 = 2.5X (equivalent of compact digital cameras)

It means that at 50mm, the image will be magnified 2.5 times comparing its size at 20mm.

  1. You can buy another lens, say 50-125mm. This lens also magnifies 2.5 times. But you cannot decrease its focal length below 50mm. So what you must look for is a lens which has a wider mm range for example 18-125mm and it will magnify 7X

A DSLR does not specify an optical zoom because it makes no sense to do so. The zoom is a property of the lens and not of the camera. There is an explanation on my blog.

Even though you can measure DSLR lenses in terms of optical zoom, this is rarely done because it says nothing of the field of view of the camera. A typical 18-55mm lens can be considered a 3X zoom but so can a 70-200mm lens and they give you very different views.

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