132: Zoom Functions Frequently Ignored

Zoom In and Zoom Out are two of the most frequently used functions in FSX.    In contrast, the Chase Distance Increase and Chase Distance Decrease features are seldom used relatively.

Background Zoom Level Remains Unchanged

Compared to Zoom In or  Zoom Out that enlarges or reduces all objects in the scenery, the Chase Distance Increase acts like pushing the aircraft away from you and the Chase Distance Decrease pulling the aircraft closer to you, both keeping the zoom level of the background scenery unchanged.

This could create quite a dramatic effect in a flightsim session.

By default, these two “zooms”  are assigned to key-combo [CTRL][-] and [CTRL][=] respectively.    They can easily be re-assigned to any buttons on external panels or yokes via Settings in FSX.

6 thoughts on “132: Zoom Functions Frequently Ignored

  1. Thank you for your discussion on the distance change view of the camera vs. the zoom change. You’re right that most people think of zoom as increased and decreased magnification from the cameras stationary distance from the plane, but most people don’t think about physically moving the camera toward or away from the plane– while keeping the zoom magnification stationary. They are in fact two completely different things.

    Now as an old FS9 user my only choice for adjusting distance was to enter the physical numbers in the pull down menu (or use a mouse wheel add on) which I found quite helpful. Here in FSX, the Ctrl + and Ctrl – buttons are a nice on board approach to accomplish it without having to exit the flight to set the numbers manually in the menu. However here’s the problem, and where I’d like to ask you a question: The rate of change in the distance control when pressing Ctrl + and Ctrl – is way too painfully slow to be of any great use to me. Do you know how to adjust those to make the distance increase and decrease rate faster? I’d like to be able to quickly zip in and out on the fly without waiting a year and a day. Would it be a setting in the camera configuration file or in the FSX.cfg file? Thank you for whatever assistance you can offer on the subject.


    1. Hi John,
      I don’t know much about FS9. If you have FSUIPC on your machine, you may assign a repeating action of zooming in or out. That should quicken the action you desire.


      1. Hi Tom, Thanks for replying to my question but I’m afraid you may have misunderstood my question or intent. I don’t need help with FS9.  I was only using it to reference what I was about to ask you, so you knew what my background and prior experience was in.  This was actually a question about FSX.  How do you speed up the increase/decrease chase distance controllers when in spot view?  (This is of course the opposite function from zooming in and out, as that I’m satisfied with, and don’t need any help in).

        The current “Ctrl + -” and “Ctrl + =” works, but it works way too slow.  Like about the equivalent of maybe a foot per second in and out.  I’d like to ideally be able to speed up the rate of both of those functions and make them move much faster.  So my main question is, do you know how to do this in FSX?  What would be the code in the “Cameras.cfg” file? Thanks for your assistance,


      2. Hi John,
        I see what you are asking about now. The Chase Zoom in and out should be a lot faster than you describe. Not quite sure what causes your problem.
        Could you post your Camera’s Definition of Spot and Locked Spot from your Cameras.cfg here?


      3. Hello again Tom, Thanks for the quick reply.  Yes, I think we’re on the same page now, though technically the issue is not a “chase [ZOOM]”, but rather a “chase [physical distance of the camera from the plane]”… but I think we’re on the same page even if we’re using slightly different wording. I also suspected that it may have been an issue with the ‘Cameras.CFG’ file.  So let me list the information that you asked for: Spot–[CameraDefinition.003] Title = Spot Guid = {BCA3FDD1-FB83-4BBA-8407-4922A7F0D00C} Description = This is the description of the spot view. Origin = Center SnapPbhAdjust = Ordinal SnapPbhReturn = False PanPbhAdjust = Swivel PanPbhReturn = False Track = FlatChase ShowAxis = No AllowZoom = Yes InitialZoom = 1.0 SmoothZoomTime = 2.0 ShowWeather = Yes XyzAdjust = FALSE Transition = Yes ShowLensFlare=TRUE Category = Outside ClipMode = Spot PitchPanRate=30 HeadingPanRate=75 PanAcceleratorTime=0

        Locked Spot–[CameraDefinition.004] Title = Locked Spot Guid = {BCA3FDD1-FB83-4BBA-8407-4922A7F0D00D} Description = This is the description of the spot view. Origin = Center SnapPbhAdjust = Swivel SnapPbhReturn = False PanPbhAdjust = Swivel PanPbhReturn = False Track = FlatChaseLocked ShowAxis = No AllowZoom = Yes InitialZoom = 1.0 SmoothZoomTime = 2.0 ShowWeather = Yes XyzAdjust = FALSE Transition = Yes ShowLensFlare=TRUE Category = Outside ClipMode = Spot PitchPanRate=30 HeadingPanRate=75 PanAcceleratorTime=0 HotKeySelect=3

        I also got to thinking, could it be an issue with the ‘Standard.XML’ file– which sits in the AppData/Roaming/Microsoft/FSX/Controls folder?  I ask this because inside the ‘Standard.XML’ file sit the key commands– including “Ctrl +  -”  &  “Ctrl +  =”; which are the key controls for the “Chase Distance Increases/Decrease” commands in the simulator.  However, when I tried to alter those commands by putting such things as “INCR_FAST” (hoping that would stand for increment fast and speed it up), it did nothing. Thank you for your time,


      4. Hi John,
        Your cameras look good to me and I don’t see anything wrong with them. In the Standard.XML file,



        Above are the two Key Compos for the actions. If you have yokes or switch panels, you could try assigning the two actions to any of the two switches. Then you would find an option for you to tell FSX to repeat the actions in the fastest manner. Followings are what would be shown in the Standard.Xml file after the two buttons were assigned in my system:



        The 1 tells FSX to repeat the action in the fastest manner.
        Instead of assigning the buttons via FSX’s control setting, you could also assign similar actions to buttons via FSUIPC if you have it on your system.
        Moreover, change the value of SmoothZoomTime = 2.0 to 1.0, it would speed up the zooming.
        Above is what I can think of, hope it helps.


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