Should set 6 MP digicam to 3 or 4 MP?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Susan P, Aug 21, 2006.

  1. Susan P

    Susan P Guest

    My digicam is rated at 6 MP (0.5 inch, square pixel, 6.37 million).

    It can record still pictures as JPEGS using one of three settings:
    Fine, Normal or Economy.

    -----

    QUESTION ONE
    Do these three settings represent different amounts of jpeg
    compression?

    Or would the the camera ignore some pixels from the CCD in the lower
    quality modes and then make its jpegs from the remaining pixels?

    -----

    QUESTION TWO
    I can "specify image size" by using a different number of pixels:
    6M 2816 x 2112 A3 print
    4M 2304 x 1728 A4 print
    2M 1600 x 1200 3.5 inch x 5 inch print
    etc

    I am not likely to make prints larger than A4. So should I set the
    camera to "4 MegapPixels"?

    Or will there be a loss of quality from things like the
    interpolation/extrapolation of the original 6M pixels to derive the
    content of the new pixels?

    -----

    QUESTION THREE
    I could save a jepg in FINE mode onto my PC (approx 2 or 3 MB file
    size) and then, if necessary, later compress it further to something
    like 600 KB for use on the Web. This is convenient.

    Would I get *noticeably* less quality doing it that way compared to
    recording the picture at Economy mode in the first place in the
    camera? This is not so convenient but would give me a jpeg file of
    approx 600 KB straight away.

    ------
    Susan P, Aug 21, 2006
    #1
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  2. Susan P

    Jim Leonard Guest

    Susan P wrote:
    > Would I get *noticeably* less quality doing it that way compared to
    > recording the picture at Economy mode in the first place in the
    > camera? This is not so convenient but would give me a jpeg file of
    > approx 600 KB straight away.


    This isn't really the proper forum for these questions, but I'll answer
    with a bit of advice: You should always take pictures at the highest
    resolution and lowest compression that your memory card will allow.
    This is because, 20 years from now, speed and space will be very cheap,
    and you'll be happy you have the highest quality pictures.
    Jim Leonard, Aug 21, 2006
    #2
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  3. Susan P

    minnesotti Guest

    Jim Leonard wrote:

    > This is because, 20 years from now, speed and space will be very cheap,
    > and you'll be happy you have the highest quality pictures.


    Indeed. In 5 years, the question which people will be asking on the
    forum will be: "Should I get an 18-megapixel or 20-megapixel camera ?
    Cann't choose".
    minnesotti, Aug 21, 2006
    #3
  4. Susan P

    Neil Ellwood Guest

    On Mon, 21 Aug 2006 15:33:04 +0100, Susan P wrote:

    > My digicam is rated at 6 MP (0.5 inch, square pixel, 6.37 million).
    >
    > It can record still pictures as JPEGS using one of three settings:
    > Fine, Normal or Economy.
    >
    > -----
    >
    > QUESTION ONE
    > Do these three settings represent different amounts of jpeg
    > compression?
    >
    > Or would the the camera ignore some pixels from the CCD in the lower
    > quality modes and then make its jpegs from the remaining pixels?

    Yes
    >
    > -----
    >
    > QUESTION TWO
    > I can "specify image size" by using a different number of pixels:
    > 6M 2816 x 2112 A3 print
    > 4M 2304 x 1728 A4 print
    > 2M 1600 x 1200 3.5 inch x 5 inch print
    > etc
    >
    > I am not likely to make prints larger than A4. So should I set the
    > camera to "4 MegapPixels"?
    >
    > Or will there be a loss of quality from things like the
    > interpolation/extrapolation of the original 6M pixels to derive the
    > content of the new pixels?

    I wouldn't. You might find that you are pleased with a picture that you
    taken in a lesser mode and that you cannot make a print to the quality
    that would please you. Better to take at maximum quality - it is easier to
    lose it than to put back that which is not there.>
    > -----
    >
    > QUESTION THREE
    > I could save a jepg in FINE mode onto my PC (approx 2 or 3 MB file size)
    > and then, if necessary, later compress it further to something like 600
    > KB for use on the Web. This is convenient.
    >
    > Would I get *noticeably* less quality doing it that way compared to
    > recording the picture at Economy mode in the first place in the camera?
    > This is not so convenient but would give me a jpeg file of approx 600 KB
    > straight away.

    Do it the way you suggested.




    --
    Neil
    Delete l to reply
    Neil Ellwood, Aug 21, 2006
    #4
  5. Susan P

    Ken Weitzel Guest

    minnesotti wrote:
    > Jim Leonard wrote:
    >
    >> This is because, 20 years from now, speed and space will be very cheap,
    >> and you'll be happy you have the highest quality pictures.

    >
    > Indeed. In 5 years, the question which people will be asking on the
    > forum will be: "Should I get an 18-megapixel or 20-megapixel camera ?
    > Cann't choose".
    >


    Hi...

    I'll "third" that, if there even is such a thing :)

    Who knows what the future will bring; and who knows
    what your descendants will wish to do with pics taken
    today. Leave for them the best you can :)

    Take care.

    Ken
    Ken Weitzel, Aug 21, 2006
    #5
  6. Susan P

    jeremy Guest

    "Jim Leonard" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Susan P wrote:
    >> Would I get *noticeably* less quality doing it that way compared to
    >> recording the picture at Economy mode in the first place in the
    >> camera? This is not so convenient but would give me a jpeg file of
    >> approx 600 KB straight away.

    >
    > This isn't really the proper forum for these questions, but I'll answer
    > with a bit of advice: You should always take pictures at the highest
    > resolution and lowest compression that your memory card will allow.
    > This is because, 20 years from now, speed and space will be very cheap,
    > and you'll be happy you have the highest quality pictures.
    >


    Absolutely correct. Always use the highest resolution and lowest
    compression for best image quality.

    Some cameras default to a "middle-of-the-road" resolution and/or
    compression. That seems foolish, because one buys a higher-megapixel camera
    for its presumed better quality images, so why use less than you paid for?

    The only reasons I can think of to use more economical settings are:

    1: If you're running out of room on your memory card and you absolutely must
    stretch out the remaining number of shots.

    2: If you are shooting for the sole purpose of emailing or posting on a web
    site--to be viewed on a monitor only

    3: If you are taking photos that you never intend to print, perhaps home
    inventory shots that you want to store on CD and lock away in a safe deposit
    box. What I call "utility photos." Where maximum resolution and size are
    not as important as small file size is.

    I would suggest that the OP set his camera to default to biggest file size
    (lowest compression) to ensure that he gets the maximum quality photos.

    I wonder how many people have bought digicams that defaulted to less than
    best image quality, and went on shooting with them for long time, never
    realizing that they were not getting all the quality they had paid for?
    I'll bet the number of such users is significant.
    jeremy, Aug 21, 2006
    #6
  7. Susan P

    jeremy Guest

    "Susan P" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns98269E32375ABD5E712@127.0.0.1...
    > My digicam is rated at 6 MP (0.5 inch, square pixel, 6.37 million).
    >
    > It can record still pictures as JPEGS using one of three settings:
    > Fine, Normal or Economy.
    >
    > -----
    >



    Generally speaking, you should always shoot at highest resolution and lowest
    compression, and if you require smaller size you can adjust in your editing
    software.

    If you take the photo at reduced settings, and you later decide you want a
    high-quality print, you will be unable to improve the shot. Think of your
    original file--as it comes out of your camera--as a digital equivalent of a
    negative. You should always keep these unedited image files on disk for
    permanent reference. Who knows, in the future we may have much improved
    editing software, or you may decide that your editing skills have improved
    to the point that you want to re-edit some of your older shots and try to
    get a better result. In order to do that, you need two things:

    1: The best possible image from your camera--i.e., highest megapixel and
    lowest compression

    2: The original UNEDITED file, just as it came out of your camera--before
    you tweaked it in your editing software. Remember, when you edit your file,
    you are throwing away pixels (as when you crop) and when you change things
    like color saturation you are adding pixels. Always keep the original file,
    and you can always go back to it and redo your tweaking.

    I make it a habit to burn my unedited files to disk prior to doing any type
    of editing, to insure that I don't overwrite them in error. Any resizing,
    changing of color depth or downgrading of resolution can then be done in my
    editing software. If I make a mistake, I always have my original unedited
    files to go back to.

    The only changes I ever make to my unedited files is to rename them to
    describe what their subjects are. Then they go right to the archive disks.
    jeremy, Aug 21, 2006
    #7
  8. Susan P

    jeremy Guest

    "minnesotti" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > Jim Leonard wrote:
    >
    >> This is because, 20 years from now, speed and space will be very cheap,
    >> and you'll be happy you have the highest quality pictures.

    >
    > Indeed. In 5 years, the question which people will be asking on the
    > forum will be: "Should I get an 18-megapixel or 20-megapixel camera ?
    > Cann't choose".
    >


    Five years? More like 5 months! :)
    jeremy, Aug 21, 2006
    #8
  9. Susan P

    John Bokma Guest

    Susan P <> wrote:

    > QUESTION TWO
    > I can "specify image size" by using a different number of pixels:
    > 6M 2816 x 2112 A3 print
    > 4M 2304 x 1728 A4 print
    > 2M 1600 x 1200 3.5 inch x 5 inch print
    > etc
    >
    > I am not likely to make prints larger than A4. So should I set the
    > camera to "4 MegapPixels"?


    Personally I would say: 6M

    You can always scale 6M to 2M with software that gives you more control
    then you camera. Also, if you make a picture that you want to print @ A3,
    you have it.

    --
    John MexIT: http://johnbokma.com/mexit/
    personal page: http://johnbokma.com/
    Experienced programmer available: http://castleamber.com/
    Happy Customers: http://castleamber.com/testimonials.html
    John Bokma, Aug 21, 2006
    #9
  10. Susan P

    John Bokma Guest

    "minnesotti" <> wrote:

    >
    > Jim Leonard wrote:
    >
    >> This is because, 20 years from now, speed and space will be very cheap,
    >> and you'll be happy you have the highest quality pictures.

    >
    > Indeed. In 5 years, the question which people will be asking on the
    > forum will be: "Should I get an 18-megapixel or 20-megapixel camera ?
    > Cann't choose".


    Or: should I get the 0.3 or 0.5 GP camera with 1 TB holographic storage.

    --
    John MexIT: http://johnbokma.com/mexit/
    personal page: http://johnbokma.com/
    Experienced programmer available: http://castleamber.com/
    Happy Customers: http://castleamber.com/testimonials.html
    John Bokma, Aug 21, 2006
    #10
  11. Susan P

    bugbear Guest

    jeremy wrote:
    >
    > Absolutely correct. Always use the highest resolution and lowest
    > compression for best image quality.
    >
    > Some cameras default to a "middle-of-the-road" resolution and/or
    > compression. That seems foolish, because one buys a higher-megapixel camera
    > for its presumed better quality images, so why use less than you paid for?
    >
    > The only reasons I can think of to use more economical settings are:
    >
    > 1: If you're running out of room on your memory card and you absolutely must
    > stretch out the remaining number of shots.
    >
    > 2: If you are shooting for the sole purpose of emailing or posting on a web
    > site--to be viewed on a monitor only
    >
    > 3: If you are taking photos that you never intend to print, perhaps home
    > inventory shots that you want to store on CD and lock away in a safe deposit
    > box. What I call "utility photos." Where maximum resolution and size are
    > not as important as small file size is.


    4. *If* you only "need" 3Mpixels for your quality requirments,
    the extra mega-pixels in the camera will provide more usable
    zoom.

    BugBear
    bugbear, Aug 21, 2006
    #11
  12. Susan P

    John Bokma Guest

    "jeremy" <> wrote:

    > The only reasons I can think of to use more economical settings are:
    >
    > 1: If you're running out of room on your memory card and you
    > absolutely must stretch out the remaining number of shots.


    [..]

    > I wonder how many people have bought digicams that defaulted to less
    > than best image quality, and went on shooting with them for long time,
    > never realizing that they were not getting all the quality they had
    > paid for?


    Or did 1:, moved the pictures to back up media, and forgot to switch it
    back :) ( * raises hand *, see:
    http://johnbokma.com/mexit/2006/07/05/baby-guppies-and-other-pets.html )


    --
    John MexIT: http://johnbokma.com/mexit/
    personal page: http://johnbokma.com/
    Experienced programmer available: http://castleamber.com/
    Happy Customers: http://castleamber.com/testimonials.html
    John Bokma, Aug 21, 2006
    #12
  13. Susan P

    Shawn Hirn Guest

    In article <Xns98269E32375ABD5E712@127.0.0.1>,
    Susan P <> wrote:

    > My digicam is rated at 6 MP (0.5 inch, square pixel, 6.37 million).
    >
    > It can record still pictures as JPEGS using one of three settings:
    > Fine, Normal or Economy.
    >
    > -----
    >
    > QUESTION ONE
    > Do these three settings represent different amounts of jpeg
    > compression?
    >
    > Or would the the camera ignore some pixels from the CCD in the lower
    > quality modes and then make its jpegs from the remaining pixels?
    >
    > -----
    >
    > QUESTION TWO
    > I can "specify image size" by using a different number of pixels:
    > 6M 2816 x 2112 A3 print
    > 4M 2304 x 1728 A4 print
    > 2M 1600 x 1200 3.5 inch x 5 inch print
    > etc
    >
    > I am not likely to make prints larger than A4. So should I set the
    > camera to "4 MegapPixels"?
    >
    > Or will there be a loss of quality from things like the
    > interpolation/extrapolation of the original 6M pixels to derive the
    > content of the new pixels?
    >
    > -----
    >
    > QUESTION THREE
    > I could save a jepg in FINE mode onto my PC (approx 2 or 3 MB file
    > size) and then, if necessary, later compress it further to something
    > like 600 KB for use on the Web. This is convenient.
    >
    > Would I get *noticeably* less quality doing it that way compared to
    > recording the picture at Economy mode in the first place in the
    > camera? This is not so convenient but would give me a jpeg file of
    > approx 600 KB straight away.


    Try it and find out. That's the great thing about digital cameras; you
    can shoot photos all you want and it costs nothing. For my needs, I
    always shoot at the maximum resolution because I can always drop the
    resolution in post-processing, but increasing in post-processing never
    works as well as simply shooting at the maximum resolution.
    Shawn Hirn, Aug 21, 2006
    #13
  14. Susan P

    John Bokma Guest

    Susan P <> wrote:

    > QUESTION ONE
    > Do these three settings represent different amounts of jpeg
    > compression?
    >
    > Or would the the camera ignore some pixels from the CCD in the lower
    > quality modes and then make its jpegs from the remaining pixels?


    I doubt the latter, since the former is easier, but I am guessing.

    > QUESTION THREE
    > I could save a jepg in FINE mode onto my PC (approx 2 or 3 MB file
    > size) and then, if necessary, later compress it further to something
    > like 600 KB for use on the Web. This is convenient.
    >
    > Would I get *noticeably* less quality doing it that way compared to
    > recording the picture at Economy mode in the first place in the
    > camera? This is not so convenient but would give me a jpeg file of
    > approx 600 KB straight away.


    For resizing there are several algorithms. Technically the maker of the
    camera knows a lot about the physics of the camera and might be able to
    optimize on the resizing algorithm that a program running on your computer
    is not able to do.

    OTOH, I have no idea if this is actually done, or that just one of the
    many possible resizing algorithms is used. Recording in 6MP and scaling in
    on your computer gives you more flexibility IMO.

    And with the current memory prizes, I record always in 6MP. I have now 2GB
    in my camera and can record 678 pictures :-D.

    --
    John MexIT: http://johnbokma.com/mexit/
    personal page: http://johnbokma.com/
    Experienced programmer available: http://castleamber.com/
    Happy Customers: http://castleamber.com/testimonials.html
    John Bokma, Aug 21, 2006
    #14
  15. John Bokma wrote:
    > Susan P <> wrote:
    >
    >> QUESTION TWO
    >> I can "specify image size" by using a different number of pixels:
    >> 6M 2816 x 2112 A3 print
    >> 4M 2304 x 1728 A4 print
    >> 2M 1600 x 1200 3.5 inch x 5 inch print
    >> etc
    >>
    >> I am not likely to make prints larger than A4. So should I set the
    >> camera to "4 MegapPixels"?

    >
    > Personally I would say: 6M
    >
    > You can always scale 6M to 2M with software that gives you more control
    > then you camera. Also, if you make a picture that you want to print @ A3,
    > you have it.
    >

    Agreed.

    Also, the 600 K file you mention for the web is huge by web standards.
    Even 100 K is quite large. Unless you are talking pbase or making them
    available to friends for printing.

    --
    john mcwilliams
    John McWilliams, Aug 21, 2006
    #15
  16. Susan P

    John Bokma Guest

    John McWilliams <> wrote:

    > Also, the 600 K file you mention for the web is huge by web standards.
    > Even 100 K is quite large.


    Depends on the context IMO. For example the following page:

    http://johnbokma.com/mexit/2006/07/04/the-walk-to-the-volcano.html

    is 1873 kb, most images are over 100 kb. Yet I assume that people do want
    to see those images how I show them :)

    --
    John MexIT: http://johnbokma.com/mexit/
    personal page: http://johnbokma.com/
    Experienced programmer available: http://castleamber.com/
    Happy Customers: http://castleamber.com/testimonials.html
    John Bokma, Aug 21, 2006
    #16
  17. Susan P

    Stace Guest

    Hi, remember when you process your images in JPEG format there will be
    loss in just the editing and saving soooo always use the highest
    settings when taking the picture and resize your images for use using a
    copy of the original...
    Susan P wrote:
    > My digicam is rated at 6 MP (0.5 inch, square pixel, 6.37 million).
    >
    > It can record still pictures as JPEGS using one of three settings:
    > Fine, Normal or Economy.
    >
    > -----
    >
    > QUESTION ONE
    > Do these three settings represent different amounts of jpeg
    > compression?
    >
    > Or would the the camera ignore some pixels from the CCD in the lower
    > quality modes and then make its jpegs from the remaining pixels?
    >
    > -----
    >
    > QUESTION TWO
    > I can "specify image size" by using a different number of pixels:
    > 6M 2816 x 2112 A3 print
    > 4M 2304 x 1728 A4 print
    > 2M 1600 x 1200 3.5 inch x 5 inch print
    > etc
    >
    > I am not likely to make prints larger than A4. So should I set the
    > camera to "4 MegapPixels"?
    >
    > Or will there be a loss of quality from things like the
    > interpolation/extrapolation of the original 6M pixels to derive the
    > content of the new pixels?
    >
    > -----
    >
    > QUESTION THREE
    > I could save a jepg in FINE mode onto my PC (approx 2 or 3 MB file
    > size) and then, if necessary, later compress it further to something
    > like 600 KB for use on the Web. This is convenient.
    >
    > Would I get *noticeably* less quality doing it that way compared to
    > recording the picture at Economy mode in the first place in the
    > camera? This is not so convenient but would give me a jpeg file of
    > approx 600 KB straight away.
    >
    > ------
    Stace, Aug 21, 2006
    #17
  18. Susan P

    John Bokma Guest

    John Bokma, Aug 21, 2006
    #18
  19. Susan P

    jacko Guest

    Stace wrote:

    > Hi, remember when you process your images in JPEG format there will be
    > loss in just the editing and saving soooo always use the highest
    > settings when taking the picture and resize your images for use using a
    > copy of the original...


    i do wonder why a camera does not take picture at maximum, and
    progressivly pack them down when space is low. making a priority for
    each picture would get rid of the loss on must have pictures, while
    maintaining the continue to shoot flexability.

    very useful instead of manual rescale all the time.

    cheers
    jacko, Aug 21, 2006
    #19
  20. Susan P

    sally Guest

    In article <>,
    jacko <> wrote:
    >i do wonder why a camera does not take picture at maximum, and
    >progressivly pack them down when space is low. making a priority for
    >each picture would get rid of the loss on must have pictures, while
    >maintaining the continue to shoot flexability.


    Most people would prefer to keep the same resolution and insert a new
    memory card when the old one is full. Memory cards are getting pretty
    cheap these days.
    sally, Aug 21, 2006
    #20
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