The difference is very important…
Digital Zoom is simply the camera enlarging the image at the centre of the frame.
Optical Zoom is very different. It is a true zoom in the sense that the lens itself is adjusted.
Digital zoom will degrade the quality of the image because the pixel resolution is reduced. Optical zoom has no negative effect on image quality. With Optical zoom you will be able to see objects across long distances like you’re standing right in front of them.
Do you see the red and white posts in the distance across the fields? No?
How about now?
There they are…
Even clearer now.
Notice how striking the quality of the picture is despite how far away the subject of the picture is. This picture was taken with an optical zoom of x25. A digital zoom simply wouldn’t be able to produce the same results.