How To Zoom in a Photo Without Losing Quality
You do not need to be a professional photographer to be dissatisfied with some pictures you made. Sometimes the picture is perfect but you need to zoom it in to put something or someone into focus or you simply want a larger image.
Zooming often reduces the picture sharpness and a once beautiful picture becomes a blurry mess. You can easily avoid this with a free or paid photo editing tool, depending on your budget. Both kinds will be covered in this article, alongside some tips on how to zoom without losing quality.
Tips for Zooming Without a Quality Loss
You will not be able to replicate the exact original image when you enlarging it, but you can make it nearly impossible to see the difference.
Make the Original Image as Big as Possible
You can achieve this by using higher dpi settings and cameras with more megapixels. We live in an age where everyone has access to smartphones with high megapixel cameras, so it should not be a problem. This will make the process much easier. When compared, an already large image will show much less quality loss even if it is greatly enlarged while smaller images show imperfections and blurring as soon as you start zooming in.
How to Avoid Image Distortion
You should not enlarge the image to the desired size right away. It is better to enlarge it in small increments until you are satisfied. This way you will notice the distortion right away and be able to safely stop. Large images can take up to 200% zoom without showing any visible distortion, with 300% zoom being the maximum recommended zoom. Anything beyond that is possibly going to cause major distortion.
Use Image Sharpening
If you went overboard with zooming, you can repair the damage. Image sharpening can help with mild distortion problems. The line between a clear and a distorted picture is very thin so you should be careful and mindful of previous tips. You can use sharpening to improve it the image a bit, but this tool can’t work wonders.
Free Software for Zooming Without Losing Quality
There are also free image resizing tools. Additionally, they are simple and easy to learn. They do, however, often lack advanced options and many deliver sub-par results. Here are the best options.
Irfanview is a compact photo editing suite available for Windows OS, both the 32 and the 64-bit versions. Unfortunately, it does not run on macOS. In Irfanview you should first resize the image and then thensharpen it. IrfanviewusesLaczos3 Interpolation which offers some of the best results for lossless zooming. It can only zoom in images up to 600 x 600 pixels, but it is free, so it wouldn’t be fair to complain. Experts will not be impressed with Irfanview, but it should suffice for everyday users.
You can think of Gimp as a free version of the ubiquitous PhotoShop. It will let you zoom in photos without much quality loss, but it is not quite as good as PhotoShop. You should also choose Lanczos3 interpolation for zooming, which is a fairly simple process. Mac and Linux users rejoice, this program is available for these platforms, as well as for Windows.
Gimp supports images of all commonly used formats, and it has many other editing features in addition to zooming. It is definitely a good choice when it comes to free image editing.
Paid Software for Zooming Without Losing Quality
If you make a living of photo editing or you are doing it more frequently, you should consider getting a premium program for best results.
PhotoShop Perfect Resize
This is both a standalone program and a PhotoShop plugin. It can enlarge the photo as much as tenfold before distortion becomes noticeable. It is the best lossless quality zooming tool out there. With this and PhotoShop, you can edit and resize your images to perfection. It can be pricey for some people and hard to learn, but it is definitely worth it if you are looking to use it professionally. It runs both on Windows and macOS.
There you have it. Zooming without losing quality of the original picture is not hard if you have the right tools. Remember to apply the tips from this write-up before you start resizing your photos no matter what program you use.
If you are a professional photographer or a graphic designer, you might want to invest some money to get the best results. In case you are a casual user, free programs should be enough to get you by.