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Do you set your camera at high resolution?

 
 
skarkada@gmail.com
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      05-25-2007

I print only 1% - 2% of the pictures I shoot. And, I only print in 4x6
most of the time. Even when I enlarge and print, it would only be
8x10. In only one instance I have enlarged the picture to 20x30.

I do crop my images often, but not by much.

In my situation, I should keep the camera set at a lower resolution by
default and use higher resolution setting when I know I will (1) crop
the image eventually or (2) print a blown up picture. That way I can
take more pictures (and video) before filling up the memory card and
don't lose anything in picture quality. (Technically speaking, picture
quality and picture resolution are not related.)

Am I right in my analysis or am I missing something?

If you keep your camera set at the highest resolution supported,
please tell me why do you do that.

Thank you for sharing your opinions.

 
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Don Stauffer in Minnesota
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      05-25-2007
On May 25, 8:40 am, (E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> I print only 1% - 2% of the pictures I shoot. And, I only print in 4x6
> most of the time. Even when I enlarge and print, it would only be
> 8x10. In only one instance I have enlarged the picture to 20x30.
>
> I do crop my images often, but not by much.
>
> In my situation, I should keep the camera set at a lower resolution by
> default and use higher resolution setting when I know I will (1) crop
> the image eventually or (2) print a blown up picture. That way I can
> take more pictures (and video) before filling up the memory card and
> don't lose anything in picture quality. (Technically speaking, picture
> quality and picture resolution are not related.)
>
> Am I right in my analysis or am I missing something?
>
> If you keep your camera set at the highest resolution supported,
> please tell me why do you do that.
>
> Thank you for sharing your opinions.


But many has been the time that I have ended up doing a lot with that
I did not intend when I originally made the shot. Memory cards are
coming down so much in price that this shouldn't be too much of a
problem.

I set cameras for highest res and lowest step of compression (HQ on
most cameras). I use RAW only for stuff I know I will do a lot with.
High res and moderate JPEG still results in a reasonable size file,
but with not-that-bad a loss of information.

Note that jpeg compression does NOT reduce the resolution of images,
only color purity. Loss of resolution in my mind is a glaring factor
in image quality. As long as you use JPEG only for the initial
storage, and not for the file type while processing, you do not lose
all that much. While you are working on a file, store it in the native
format for your image processor (PSD, PSP, etc.).

 
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David J Taylor
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      05-25-2007
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> I print only 1% - 2% of the pictures I shoot. And, I only print in 4x6
> most of the time. Even when I enlarge and print, it would only be
> 8x10. In only one instance I have enlarged the picture to 20x30.
>
> I do crop my images often, but not by much.
>
> In my situation, I should keep the camera set at a lower resolution by
> default and use higher resolution setting when I know I will (1) crop
> the image eventually or (2) print a blown up picture. That way I can
> take more pictures (and video) before filling up the memory card and
> don't lose anything in picture quality. (Technically speaking, picture
> quality and picture resolution are not related.)
>
> Am I right in my analysis or am I missing something?
>
> If you keep your camera set at the highest resolution supported,
> please tell me why do you do that.


Always. By tests, I have found that a full resolution, lower JPEG quality
image provides better results that a lower resolution, higher quality JPEG
image when, for example, you reduce to a lower resolution for the Web and
(I suspect) when printing. Try it and see if you can see the difference -
your camera may produce different results to mine.

The cost of memory is now so low that it shouldn't enter the equation
unless, perhaps, you were on a three week trip with no backup storage.

David


 
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Gisle Hannemyr
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      05-25-2007
(E-Mail Removed) writes:

> I print only 1% - 2% of the pictures I shoot. And, I only print in 4x6
> most of the time. Even when I enlarge and print, it would only be
> 8x10. In only one instance I have enlarged the picture to 20x30.
>
> I do crop my images often, but not by much.
>
> In my situation, I should keep the camera set at a lower resolution
> by default and use higher resolution setting when I know I will (1)
> crop the image eventually or (2) print a blown up picture. That way
> I can take more pictures (and video) before filling up the memory
> card and don't lose anything in picture quality. (Technically
> speaking, picture quality and picture resolution are not related.)
>
> Am I right in my analysis or am I missing something?


You may be missing some quality in low-light. When there a
significant amounts of noise present in your picture, you can
improve the signal to noise ratio visibly by combining the values
of adjacent pixels on the expense of resolution.

Also, if your camera has a weak AA-filter, aliasing artifacts can be
removed by oversampling (e.g. capturing at high resolution) and then
downsampling in software.

But these are rather special conditions. In general, provided that
you never need to print larger than 6.67 x 10 in (6 Mpx at 300 ppi),
6 Mpx is all the resolution you need.

> If you keep your camera set at the highest resolution supported,
> please tell me why do you do that.


I shoot everything as RAW. Reducing the resolution is simply not
an option if you shoot RAW.

But even if I had the option (as JPEG shooters have), I wold have used
highest resolution and best quality. Memory cards are very cheap
these days, so always carry a couple of spare cards. I really see no
point of not having max quality available for a mural print, just to
save the minor inconvenience of carrying extra cards.

YMMV.

> Thank you for sharing your opinions.


You're welcome.

--
- gisle hannemyr [ gisle{at}hannemyr.no - http://hannemyr.com/photo/ ]

 
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AustinMN
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      05-25-2007
On May 25, 8:55 am, Don Stauffer in Minnesota <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:
> Note that jpeg compression does NOT reduce the resolution of images,
> only color purity.


While I agree with the first part, I can't agree that jpeg compression
only reduces color purity. Jpeg compression introduces image
artifacts as well, some of which I find more offensive than loss of
color depth/fidelity.

Austin

 
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HEMI-Powered
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      05-25-2007
offered these thoughts for the group's consideration of the
matter at hand:

>
> I print only 1% - 2% of the pictures I shoot. And, I only
> print in 4x6 most of the time. Even when I enlarge and print,
> it would only be 8x10. In only one instance I have enlarged
> the picture to 20x30.
>
> I do crop my images often, but not by much.
>
> In my situation, I should keep the camera set at a lower
> resolution by default and use higher resolution setting when I
> know I will (1) crop the image eventually or (2) print a blown
> up picture. That way I can take more pictures (and video)
> before filling up the memory card and don't lose anything in
> picture quality. (Technically speaking, picture quality and
> picture resolution are not related.)
>
> Am I right in my analysis or am I missing something?
>
> If you keep your camera set at the highest resolution
> supported, please tell me why do you do that.
>
> Thank you for sharing your opinions.
>

What IS your primary usage for the images you create, slide shows
on your PC monitor, E-mail to friends and relatives, web hosting,
what? Like you, I seldom print my car pictures and I find that
Windows does a really crappy job of pixel resizing down, so for
my 21" LCD monitor running at 1280 x 960, I usually save my
images at 1400 x 1050 to allow for a reasonable print if I need
it later, sometimes 1600 x 1200.

Also, you didn't say what camera you have or the subject(s) and
lighting conditions you shoot, not to mention any hints on your
definition of a VERY subjective term, "quality".

Given that your camera is capable of quality images overall, your
technique is good, etc. most people would say that 200 PPI is the
minimum for a "good" print, and I would generally agree, but at
the sizes I save at to avoid the images being destroyed by
Windows, I'm only at 120, maybe 150 PPI at 8.5 x 11.

You mention that you want to conserve memory card space, but it
is getting cheaper all the time. To avoid any camera-induced JPEG
compression artefacts, I choose the higher quality, read: less
compression, setting on my Rebel XT and usually shoot at the
middle 5 mega pixel size.

Why do you say that picture quality and picture resolution are
not related? There are many other factors of course, but both
displayed and printed images generally look better at higher
resolutions, subject to the limitations I describe above.

As to cropping, if I possibly can, I will compose to allow for
20% excess foreground, sideground, and background than I will end
up with because it allows me to crop for best resolution during
post-processing and not have to make the complete decision when
shooting. Naturally, it helps to compose roughly for the effect
you want ... Let's say you're shooting at 2500 x 1660, the 4 MP
size of my Canon Rebel XT, and I allow for 20% all the way around
my main subject. That still leaves me at around 2000 x 1300,
still well about my final image size.

It has been awhile since I bought my last CF card, but I'd guess
that a 1 gig card is under $80, my images are about 2 MB, so that
gives me some 500 images, which is normally plenty. But, I do
alter my settings in the field under two situations: if there is
a small sign or owner's card I want to capture for later
reference, I'll go down to the smallest size, but if I want an
effective increase in focal length at my max telephoto, I'll go
to 8 MP, the idea being that I can crop a decent size chunk out
of the middle and gain an effective 2X tele range.

--
HP, aka Jerry
 
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      05-25-2007
Don Stauffer in Minnesota offered these thoughts for the group's
consideration of the matter at hand:

> But many has been the time that I have ended up doing a lot
> with that I did not intend when I originally made the shot.
> Memory cards are coming down so much in price that this
> shouldn't be too much of a problem.
>
> I set cameras for highest res and lowest step of compression
> (HQ on most cameras). I use RAW only for stuff I know I will
> do a lot with. High res and moderate JPEG still results in a
> reasonable size file, but with not-that-bad a loss of
> information.
>
> Note that jpeg compression does NOT reduce the resolution of
> images, only color purity. Loss of resolution in my mind is a
> glaring factor in image quality. As long as you use JPEG only
> for the initial storage, and not for the file type while
> processing, you do not lose all that much. While you are
> working on a file, store it in the native format for your
> image processor (PSD, PSP, etc.).
>

The OP was pretty vague, but I might suspect their camera is at
the lower price end, so maybe the cost of a big memory card is
important, but I fully agree with you. If I go to an all-day car
show where there may be 300+ cars sitting there, I'll take all
2.5 gig worth of CF cards with me and a 2nd battery. Also, I put
a longer zoom lens and my external flash in the car out-of-sight
if I see something that requires either. e.g., some car shows are
combinations of outdoors and indoors, sometimes a car I'm
shooting is in really deep shade, you get the idea.

I don't have the time available to process hundreds of images in
RAW, so I just choose the higher quality, i.e., lower compression
setting on my Rebel XT. I experimented with my previous EVF, a
Nikon 5700 that died, and discovered that it's "normal" vs.
"fine" quality setting produced visible JPEG artefacts maybe 10-
15% of the time, sometime more under certain conditions. I ran a
few quick tests when I first bought my Rebel and found about the
same. So, since I cannot predict which images are most likely to
introduce compression artefacts, I agree with your analysis:
memory is just too cheap to risk blowing some really nice shots
to save a few MB.

BTW, do you use any kind of auxilliary storage device to off-load
your memory cards in the field? I tried an Epson something or
other that had a 40 gig HD and all kinds of supposedly neat
features for this purpose, but it was SO slow at uploading or
previewing the images on its large LCD, I returned it. And, do
you ever run into a situation where you run out of battery and
there's no place to recharge? Two batteries will get me thousands
of images, so I'm OK locally, but I think if I were traveling
out-of-state, I'd buy one of those $50 D.C.-to-A.C. inverters and
charge a battery while I'm eating dinner or driving someplace
else.

You comment that you've seen JPEG do something you don't like to
color purity. Since I don't use RAW and a Rebel can't save to
TIFF, I don't know if I do or don't have "good" purity, nor do I
even know what that means! <grin> Could you explain, please?

Finally, as to the usual argument that JPEG destroys images, I've
not seen that except if I find myself in some unusual situation
where I MUST save, re-edit and re-save again later, and maybe do
one more cycle after that. That's a sure way to introduce damage.
For the rare cases that I want to totally re-edit, e.g., I decide
I want to print really large but what I'd previously done is far
too few PPI, I just start over with the camera JPEG(s), which I
store in a sub-folder under where my finished images are stored
on my HD.

--
HP, aka Jerry
 
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      05-25-2007
David J Taylor offered these thoughts for the group's
consideration of the matter at hand:

>> If you keep your camera set at the highest resolution
>> supported, please tell me why do you do that.

>
> Always. By tests, I have found that a full resolution, lower
> JPEG quality image provides better results that a lower
> resolution, higher quality JPEG image when, for example, you
> reduce to a lower resolution for the Web and (I suspect) when
> printing. Try it and see if you can see the difference - your
> camera may produce different results to mine.


Huh? Ya lost me, David! There's no need to re-debate what people
think their "best" or "optimal" pixel resolution is and I
understand why you save at max, but I don't understand why you
accept the risk of getting home and discovering image(s) with
JPEG compression artefacts that make getting a truly quality
final image and/or a quality print impossible, more than the loss
of PPI. I'm not arguing, just asking.

Several people have made statements today that I simply don't
understand, and I'd like to learn, not dispute. Thanks.

> The cost of memory is now so low that it shouldn't enter the
> equation unless, perhaps, you were on a three week trip with
> no backup storage.


I agree. I just asked another replier if they have an aux storage
device for long trips, do you? Or, do you just go someplace that
will burn you a CD or DVD, you reformat your memory, and
continue?

If the OP has a $150 P & S that maybe is a 6 MP, they may not
want to invest almost the price of the camera for a gig or 2 of
memory. But, if I had that kind of camera, I'd likely long ago
done some controlled testing to see if the higher MP ranges do or
do not really produce superior images. e.g., both my wife's and
daughter's Kodak P & S's have a "quality" setting, but all it is
doing is changing the MP; I've tested my theory that these
cameras cannot produce enough quality to go beyond 2 MP, and
barely that, because they save at a JPEG=20+ on the 1-100 scale
and artefacts are easily visible.

The thought that has crossed my mind many times in these debates
this week about how many PPI you need et al is the old saw "all
other factors being equal, but they seldom are." People want to
form an absolute opinion and rigidly conform to it wrt mega
pixels without doing any controlled testing at all or giving any
thought to subject type, lighting conditions, etc. And, as you
and I have debated a bit, lots of folks today do little or no
post-processing, and I'd bet that them that do aren't very
skilled at it, which further negates the absolute advantage of a
higher resolution image. And, one more time, I believe strongly
in fitness of purpose being the main criteria, AFTER you've
gotten opinions from others and read the lab tests.

--
HP, aka Jerry
 
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      05-25-2007
Gisle Hannemyr offered these thoughts for the group's
consideration of the matter at hand:

> You may be missing some quality in low-light. When there a
> significant amounts of noise present in your picture, you can
> improve the signal to noise ratio visibly by combining the
> values of adjacent pixels on the expense of resolution.
>
> Also, if your camera has a weak AA-filter, aliasing artifacts
> can be removed by oversampling (e.g. capturing at high
> resolution) and then downsampling in software.


Here's yet another opinion I simply do not understand. That I'm
aware of, there is no user-controllable setting for AA on my
Rebel XT, but there is for contrast, sharpness, and saturation. I
really don't know if it does or does not have a "strong" AA
filter, although at least I understand anti-aliasing.

That said, old-fashioned AA REALLY reduces actual sharpness and
detail with all of those off-colored pixels designed to fool the
human eye into thinking there's less jaggies. As to your comment
about oversampling, in general I would agree, but it isn't quite
that simple to me in practice. What I mean is, let's say for
discussion I shoot at 8 MP but decide to save finished images at
2. My testing has shown that a resample down that large can
destroy a good image, introduce artefacts, aliasing by itself,
sometimes even posterization and other undesireable effects.

There are mathematical theories and plenty of proponents for
resampling down in 2, 3, or maybe 4 steps, with mild smoothing of
obvious aliasing and mild sharpening between downsize steps. But
trying to put the theory into practice at my level of
understanding has proven elusive.

> But these are rather special conditions. In general, provided
> that you never need to print larger than 6.67 x 10 in (6 Mpx
> at 300 ppi), 6 Mpx is all the resolution you need.


I have never been able to achieve total "system" quality in
images I process that will support 300 PPI, so I gave up trying
long ago. And, although we debated this for days, choice of
subject(s) you shoot and each person's definition of "quality",
which almost always is subjective, I find that for the low
percent I actually print, 120-150 PPI satisfies my requirements.
I am NOT saying I get super prints at that PPI, I CAN see the
aliasing, but at normal viewing distances for a borderless 8.5 x
11, it isn't nearly bad enough to bother me.

>> If you keep your camera set at the highest resolution
>> supported, please tell me why do you do that.

>
> I shoot everything as RAW. Reducing the resolution is simply
> not an option if you shoot RAW.


True. I'll bet, though, when the OP comes back and tells us more
about their camera and what they're trying to do, they may not be
even capable of shooting in RAW, and almost certainly not skilled
in how to use it. I do not know how myself because I know that my
standards for image quality don't require it and I just don't
have the time to devote to really doing RAW well.

> But even if I had the option (as JPEG shooters have), I wold
> have used highest resolution and best quality. Memory cards
> are very cheap these days, so always carry a couple of spare
> cards. I really see no point of not having max quality
> available for a mural print, just to save the minor
> inconvenience of carrying extra cards.
>

If one has a $1000+ DSLR body and several thousand dollars
invested in good glass and maybe a decent external flash, then ou
are entirely correct. I have 2.5 gig right now, which is more
than enough for a day's shooting, but then, I don't shoot RAW.
But, if one only has $100, $150, maybe $250 invested in the
camera, they may view $80 for a gig memory card to be excessing.
The problem with these open-ended "what's your opinion?" OPs is
that not nearly enough information is provided for repliers to
give an intelligent answer.

--
HP, aka Jerry
 
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      05-25-2007
AustinMN offered these thoughts for the group's consideration of
the matter at hand:

>> Note that jpeg compression does NOT reduce the resolution of
>> images, only color purity.

>
> While I agree with the first part, I can't agree that jpeg
> compression only reduces color purity. Jpeg compression
> introduces image artifacts as well, some of which I find more
> offensive than loss of color depth/fidelity.
>

At the "fine" setting on my Rebel XT, whether I shoot at 2, 4 or 8
MP, I have NEVER seen a single traditional JPEG compression
artefact. Now, if I choose the lower quality, then, yes, I see
artefacts in enough images that I don't want to risk ruining an
otherwise good photo.

If we can agree that JPEG is really a unitless 1-100 scale and not
a percentage, then I do not at all agree with some who say that
JPEG=15 or higher is OK. I seldom go over 10, and sometimes get as
low as 6. Since I cannot see JPEG damage while the image is in
memory, I always reopen just-saved files to check for it, and
reduce compression and/or alter my favorite 4 of the available
Chroma subsampling choices in PSP 9.

As to color depth/fidelity, I understand the term, but have no
knowledge of how to know if I am or am not losing it. But, for me,
it is an academic question since I don't shoot RAW ...

--
HP, aka Jerry
 
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