Panasonic features so-called Intelligent Zoom mode in Panasonic Lumix LX7 camera, claiming that with their “Intelligent Resolution” technology 3.8x optical zoom virtually extends to a 7.5x equivalent.
It sounds as single-frame super resolution, so we decided to take some test images to see how good is it.
Below: 3.8x versus 7.5x zoom
100% Crops. Top: 3.8x zoom, bottom: 7.5x zoom (with Intelligent Resolution)
As we can see, Intelligent Resolution does not add more details (so the resolution is not increased). The same result can be achieved with extra sharpening. See below a comparison between “Intelligent” zoom and bicubic upsize + unsharp mask filter in Photoshop:
Conclusion: Panasonic Intelligent Zoom (or Intelligent Resolution) delivers sharper images but does not provide higher resolution and in no way can compete with optical zoom.
Full original images available upon request