BIG pictures or SMALL pictures ?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Albert, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. Albert

    Albert Guest

    Over the past 10 years, I've owned 3 digital cameras--one with 0.3
    megapixels (VGA), another with 2 megapixels and as of last week one
    with 8.1 megapixels.

    I normally prefer to view my pictures on my 1280x1024 monitor. I
    rarely print them out. With my old cameras, there was never a
    question of what resolution I would use. I would use the maximum.
    With my 8.1 megapixel camera, should I take pictures at the maximum
    setting and then use software to resize them, or should I just set the
    camera to a lower resolution (for example, 2MP) and let the camera do
    the resizing?

    With all three cameras, I've noticed that the maximum resolution
    pictures are blurry, but are considerably sharper when resized (even
    using MS Paint).

    I'm going on a cruise in a few weeks. Any opinions?
    Albert, Feb 12, 2007
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  2. Albert

    Scott W Guest

    I go for resizing afterwards, but also saving the full res version.
    With the full size version you have the option of doing a bit of
    cropping at the same time you resize, and you never know when you
    might want the full resolution for a print somewhere down the road.
    Also keep in mind that displays will be increasing in resolution in
    the years to come so you will likely want to redo the resizing from
    time to time.

    Scott W, Feb 12, 2007
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  3. Scott W wrote:
    I would agree with Scott's advice - take at full resolution. You may want
    to compare the different JPEG quality settings (called "extra fine",
    "superfine", "fine", "normal" etc.) and see which you need. Most likely,
    you won't be able to see the differences once you get above "fine" - all
    you will get are increased file sizes and fewer pictures per card.

    The program you use to view the images on your display matters. For best
    quality it should resample the images properly from their native size to
    the display resolution. Many programs do not resample very well, which
    may introduce artefacts (such as steps on near-horizontal lines such as
    power lines). The Windows Picture and Fax viewer does resample correctly.

    David J Taylor, Feb 12, 2007
  4. Albert

    Ron Hunter Guest

    If your camera has a setting for 2mp, you may find that an advantage for
    saving space on your flash card, but the options to edit, and crop, the
    images will be much poorer than if you had taken them at the full
    resolution. Unless you are wealthy enough to return to a scene to take
    another picture, capturing all the information you can when you are
    there just make sense. You can do editing, cropping, and resizing as
    needed when you return. With flash media getting cheaper daily, there
    is little reason to skimp on resolution.
    Ron Hunter, Feb 12, 2007
  5. Albert

    Bucky Guest

    If your flash card capacity is not an issue with 8.1mp, then go with
    8.1mp. But if the capacity may be an issue, I'd just go with the next
    lower resolution. For photos that you think you might need more detail
    or cropping, then switch to full mp temporarily. But theoretically,
    the camera should be taking an 8.1mp and resampling down to 2mp, which
    will still look very good on a screen.
    Bucky, Feb 12, 2007
  6. Albert

    jmc Guest

    Suddenly, without warning, Albert exclaimed (12-Feb-07 3:01 PM):
    Big, definitely big. You can shrink them later, and you can use all
    those MP to crop down when needed, especially if you don't have a long
    zoom. You can't recover pixels you don't have, if you get that perfect
    shot and want to print it at 8x10 or larger... or need to crop down for
    that dolphin that was a bit too far out for your zoom. Get a bigger, or
    second, card if you need to. Definitely big.

    On a good camera, max resolution shouldn't be blurry.

    jmc, Feb 12, 2007
  7. Bucky wrote:

    Both number of pixels (resolution) and JPEG compression ("quality"
    setting) will affect how many pictures you can fit on a card. Therefore,
    it might be worth testing before the OP goes whether 8.1MP at "standard"
    quality produces a better image than, say, 5MP at "fine" quality (assuming
    the file size is similar for each), when viewed at the conditions to be
    used for the final display.

    David J Taylor, Feb 12, 2007
  8. Albert

    SimonLW Guest

    I agree with the others on shooting at the largest size. The image file is
    your digital negative so to speak. It is easy to go from larger to smaller.
    It is not possible to go from 2mp to 8mp and get 8mp worth of resolution. If
    space is a concern, leave resolution high and set the camera's compression
    higher if it offers such a setting.
    SimonLW, Feb 12, 2007
  9. Albert

    Keith nuttle Guest

    I would go for the large picture. Remembering how monitors have changed
    in the last years, "next year" we may a 4880X 4000 monitor that will use
    the full 8/1 megapixels. You will then want the large picture.
    Keith nuttle, Feb 12, 2007
  10. Albert

    Bruce Lewis Guest

    Everybody who's recommended big is probably right. The only possible
    reason you might want small is if it reduces your lag between shots. It
    should be easy for you to experiment with your camera and see if it
    does. That's the only meaningful advantage small might have.
    Bruce Lewis, Feb 12, 2007
  11. I normally prefer to view my pictures on my 1280x1024 monitor. I
    If you're 100% sure that you're only going to view your pictures,
    cropped as you shot them, on a monitor, there's little reason to shoot
    at a higher resolution. But the higher resolution can be used for at
    least two things.

    1. The higher resolution gives you the option of getting a good print
    from your picture.

    2. Resolution can be seen as a trade-off against higher zoom. For
    example, 8MPix at 100mm gives you about the same as 2MPix at 200mm.

    Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Feb 14, 2007
  12. Albert

    scrammit Guest

    Albert -

    It's very strange that your high-rez images are blurry until you
    resize them. What are you using to view the images? I'm guessing
    Windows Picture and Fax Viewer? If this is the case, make sure to
    choose the option "Show actual size." This should then blow up the
    picture and make it crystal clear.

    As others have stated, higher rez is much better because you can
    always resize to a smaller image and keep a great deal of the quality,
    but the reverse is not true.

    If you have a need to resize your high-rez images down to something
    small enough for email try using PictureGirdle. Its a free app that
    will process hundreds of images with one click. I wrote it because I
    too have huge images and I got tired of manually resizing them just
    for email. This is really easy to use and it does not over-write the

    Its at
    to see how it works go to

    scrammit, Feb 20, 2007
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