Getting “Zoom” Even with Prime Lenses on Sony Cameras
All recent (and many older) Sony cameras has one or two features that can help you artificially modify your focal length. Although non of these are “true” optical zoom of course they can be very useful.
The first only applies to Sony’s full frame cameras (A7\A9) and it is simply the crop mode which you can easily assign to any of the customizable buttons of the camera in the menu (in the button assign menu go to aps-c s35 / Full Frm SEL and choose the button you want to assign this to). This will give you a 1.5x crop or punch in – both in stills and video modes. So your 35mm lens will turn into an effective 50mm lens (in terms of angle of view). This of course is very useful for long telephoto lenses and many wildlife shooters use this function and assigning a button to quickly access it is extremely useful.
The second option applies to both APS-C and FF Sony cameras and is called clear image zoom or CIZ for short (note that it only work in JPEG mode not RAW in stills so for many users it might be a video feature only). Unlike the crop mode this is a true zoom in the sense that you can choose how much you punch in – you can go from 1X-2X so basically your 35mm lens will turn into a 70mm lens (in terms of viewing angle at least).
You can find it in different places depending on the camera model (it goes back to the A6000) see the video below for a simple demo of the clear image zoom with the A6300:
CIZ is a digital zoom, however Sony did a very good job with it and from our experience (mostly with 4K video mind you) it is almost impossible to see any differences – at least in decent lighting conditions.
We find it interesting that Sony didn’t increase the CIZ range in the new high resolution A7R IV, maybe this is a feature they can add in a future firmware update.
You can find many more helpful photography tips on our Photography tips section here on and LensVid.