One of the lesser known features of Sony® still and video cameras is Clear Image Zoom or to give it its official title 'By Pixel Super Resolution Technology’. In its very basic, simplest form it is a digital crop of the sensor which in-camera software and complex algorithms then compares patterns found in adjacent pixels to create new additional pixels to match the selected patterns, to enlarge the image back to full size close to original quality. That’s in dimensions and pixel count.
Upscaling (enlarging an image without losing detail, similar to Clear Image Zoom) software is also available for use on a PC.
There are downsides to using Clear Image Zoom in that it is a ‘DIGITAL’ crop of the sensor but Clear Image Zoom is not pixelating or creating strange jagged edges, much, having put back the missing pixels. If you zoom into an image and pixel peak, then it becomes obvious it’s digital.
Ideal shooting conditions for using Clear Image Zoom is when there is a lot of high contrast details, in other words bright sunshine. In low contrast conditions like cloudy or overcast, it still produces usable images but the in-camera processing software can have difficulty at times rendering fine details and then it does pixelate and gives you jagged edges or colour smudging, then you know it’s digital.
If you are after images to enlarge as printed photos or for selling to magazines, I wouldn’t recommend using Clear Image Zoom. For social media, web sites and forums then more than adequate.
Clear Image Zoom is not a replacement for a longer lens or a teleconverter but is convenient as a means to obtain a longer reach, with any lens, if you are out and about and don’t have a suitable zoom lens to hand.
All photos are taken on a Sony® Alpha a6000/24mp camera with a Sony® FE 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G OSS zoom lens. Shutter Priority with ISO on AUTO and let the camera work out the aperture. Metering and Focus Area are restricted to Multi-segment only. It’s Jpeg only not a RAW function.
Teleconverters generally come in two types with a x1.4 and x2.0 magnification factor and all photos posted here are with the Clear Image Zoom at x1.4 - 300mm x 1.5 sensor crop = 450mm x 1.4 Clear Image Zoom = 630mm.
Clear Image Zoom can be used at any magnification ratio from x1.0 to x2.0.