Remove the Distance with EX-ZR100 Multi SR Zoom

Did you know that the first zoom lens on photographic cameras was developed in 1902? Since then, it has evolved from the optical format of getting subjects closer to digital magnification, to the revolutionary multi-frame zoom pioneered by Casio Exilim.

Optical zoom, digital zoom, and now, multi-frame zoom… what the firetruck are they? Being the king of tech idiots, I lost count of the times my hair turned blonde trying to figure them out. But I’ve finally understood the difference between them.

Optical Vs. Digital Zoom : Optical zoom is the magnification of a subject by the physical lens much like using a magnifying glass while digital zoom is using a program to enlarge the pixels on a digital image like zooming in to a photo on a computer. Optical zoom is HARDWARE zoom, digital zoom is SOFTWARE zoom. Optical zoom takes photo of far away subjects without losing quality while digital zoom will sacrifice image resolution. Compact cameras usually suffer from lower quality images due to zooming

The solution for better quality zoom images from compact cameras? Casio Exilim ZR100’s Multi SR Zoom.

What this function does is that it takes a rapid series of 5 shots in optical zoom mode with 1 press of the shutter button and combines the 5 shots into 1 photo. It uses a proprietary imaging technology that maintains high fidelity to image textures.

So much for the technical explanations. My hands are sore from constantly dyeing my hair back to black. Let’s look at photos taken with the Multi SR Zoom mode and see the results…

An environmental shot of the area in front of Asian Civilisation Museum, Singapore. See any Asian influences in this scene other than the Chinese gentleman? No? Let's Multi SR Zoom in...

Can you identify where these 3 heads of deities are located in the above environmental shot? I took this photo right where I was standing when taking the above pic in the Multi SR Zoom mode.

I also tried out the Multi SR Zoom mode in shooting a pic in portrait orientation. This was taken in an outdoor garden at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Can you see where this ornament was placed in the scene above? Again, I zoomed in and took this photo right where I was standing when shooting the establishing shot.

I must say, I was pretty amazed at the image quality of zoomed in objects taken at such a far distance as illustrated in the photos above. Having used this mode to shoot a variety of situations, my conclusion is that it works well in outdoor, bright daylight situations. Photos still turn out blur at indoor lowlight situations as with all other compact cameras when attempting to take a zoomed in image.

Also, the outlines of subject and colours may appear a little artificial at maximum zoom range in Multi SR Zoom mode. And it’s very, very hard to focus and frame a subject at maximum zoom because the viewfinder becomes hyper-sensitive to any micro movement of the hands. Setting the camera on a tripod to shoot in this mode might help although I’ve not tried.

So my tip is to NOT zoom in to the max, but magnify just enough to get a sharp photo and crop later in an imaging software to bring the subject closer. Having said that, all the photos here have gone through ZERO IMAGE POST-PROCESSING except to resize. A couple of photos have been cropped no more than 15% of the original image size.

Here are more shots to illustrate the power and image quality outcome of using the Multi SR Zoom on architecture and nature…

Wide shot of the historic Teochew Temple in Penang with EX-ZR100 Premium Auto mode. There is something very rare and special about the roof of this clan temple.

Shot with the camera's normal optical zoom. On the roof facing the entrance to the temple features 3 carps swimming upwards towards a gate.

Shot with Multi SR Zoom mode. On the reverse side of the rooftop carp sculpture is that of a big-bellied laughing Maitriya Buddha.

Super wayang (dramatic) roof decoration on the Khoo Kongsi clan temple in Penang. Khoo Kongsi represents the height of Jian Nian (剪粘) artistry, a form of Chinese architectural decoration that uses broken shards of glass. Jian Nian means cut and paste. I'm amazed by the complexity and level of refinement in the roof design of this cultural treasure.

From the richly articulate roof of Khoo Kongsi, here's a closer look at a temple roof of another style. Can you guess which country this belongs to? It is in Bangkok. I was rather surprised to see this nude coloured roof because the apex of Thai temples are famously opulent.

Catching shadows with Multi SR Zoom mode. Colours and outlines appear sharp when the zoom is mid-range. However, if the zoom is extended to the max, subjects then to be blurred or have this outline around them.

After all the roof study of heritage and religious buildings, here's catching a modern structure with Multi SR Zoom. I saw this reflection across a road and took 2 shots - first with Multi SR Zoom mode, second with normal zoom. The Multi SR Zoom shot (this pic) was lighter in colour compared to the normal zoom pic..

From architecture, here's capturing nature in Multi SR Zoom. Took this at Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai. I was standing about 15 meters away and steadied my hands on a parapet when I snapped this pic of the majestic animal.

From the king on land to the king of the sky, I got upclose and personal with the Mountain Hawk-Eagle at Mae Sa Snake Farm. The huge bird was enclosed in a cage and although I wasn't far way, the cage's wire-mesh got in the way of my shot. So I used Multi SR Zoom to zoom in and blur out the cage meshing. The result looks as if there was no barrier between us. Awesome!

Alrighty, that’s all for my experience with the Multi SR Zoom mode. I’ve yet to see a very pronounced advantage in using this function over normal optical zoom but maybe I haven’t experiemented with it enough.

All photos in this post has NOT BEEN PHOTOSHOP POST-PROCESSED. For more photos taken with the camera, please visit my album A Month with Casio Exilim ZR100.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leow
    Dec 30, 2011 @ 13:48:08

    Hi, I also own a ZR100. How did u manage to take the photos so clear? Do u use a tripot? Cos whenever I tried to zoom in (w/o using tripot) is image is very blur.


    • Darren Ng
      Dec 30, 2011 @ 23:44:34

      hi leow… thanks for dropping by my blog. with the EX-ZR100 SR Multi-Frame zoom mode, photos can turn out blur if the zoom is too much as it is very hard to keep the frame steady to take a shot. here are my practises when using this shooting mode :
      – shoot outdoors when there’s bright daylight and dun use indoors with dim lightings.
      – choose stationary subjects like buildings and animals at rest.
      – dun zoom to the max. zoom just enough and use an imaging software such as photoshop to crop a little of the image so subject appears bigger.
      – most imaging softwares will also come with a sharpen function which u can apply to make ur photos even sharper. however, ur photo has to be sharp to begin with.

      hope this helps :o)


      • Leow
        Dec 31, 2011 @ 13:02:38

        Thanks for ur tips! I give it a try again.
        Showed my friend ur photo, they were also amazed by it.
        Thank u and wish u a Happy New Year!

      • Darren Ng
        Dec 31, 2011 @ 17:05:04

        no worries… and thanks for sharing my photos with your friend. i still have lots to learn and improve.
        here’s wishing u and ur love ones a healthy and fulfilling 2012 🙂

  2. Sally
    Jul 22, 2013 @ 18:56:16

    Hi Darren, was searching for differences between optical zoom vs multi SR zoom and came onto your site. Wanted to get the Olympus 24x optical zoom camera but was recommended exilim 36x SR zoom. Which is better? Can’t decide, do you have same pics taken using optical zoom as well as SR zoom to see the diff? Have always thought optical zoom is the best zoom to look for. Do we use SR zoom only when optical zoom is max?


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