Cell phone cameras have some pretty fabulous features and it is really worth your time to learn how to use them if you want to get the best pictures possible. Did you know however there is one feature on the cell phone camera that you should not use? That feature is the two finger zoom. I see people do it all the time and I used to zoom in that way as well until I realized it was degrading the image.

Unlike an optical zoom lens on a DSLR camera, all you are doing when you use two fingers to zoom in on the cell phone camera is enlarging the screen and all the pixels and “noise” along with it.

Take a look at these photos and you will see what I mean.

First I photographed a detailed transfer ware plate.plate1

Then I remained in the exact same spot and zoomed in using my two fingers . You can see that the image has lost some of the quality and actually looks a little blurry.

plate zoomed in

Enlarged image using two fingers to zoom in

Lastly, I zoomed in by moving the camera closer to the plate. I know it is a little hard to make out the differences since I had to reduce them both for the blog but look closely at the dots in the back ground. Can you see how much clearer they are when I moved the camera closer to the plate rather than zooming in using my fingers?

plate detail

Enlarged image made by moving camera in closer.

You may think this difference in quality is no big deal…and it’s not if you are simply posting on social media and have no plans to ever enlarge the photo. However, if you later decide to make a print and enlarge the image the lack of quality will be further magnified and you will not be happy with the quality.

I did a little more research on this topic and discovered professional iphone photographers (iphoneographers) NEVER use the two finger zoom. They have a saying, “zoom with your feet not with your fingers”.

I hope this tip was helpful!

Linda Holt | Interior Designer & iPhone Coach

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