Which size and quality to shoot?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Rudy Marcelletti, K8SWD, Sep 2, 2003.

  1. My cameras have several sizes and quality levels to shoot in. For example,
    one camera can shoot at 4 levels of quality: TIFF, Fine, Standard and
    Economy. It also can shoot at 4 different sizes: 2048 x 1556; 1600 x 1200;
    1280 x 960; and 640 x 480.

    What should I shoot it in? I have been shooting in Fine at 2048 x 1556 but
    I can only get about 75 shots on a 128 card. If I go to Economy at 640 x
    480, I can get something over 1300 photos. But these don't look as good as
    the former. Also, when shooting continuous, the Fine mode is slow.

    When should I shoot in large fine, or small economy? Any good rules of
    thumb here or other advice would be appreciated.
    Rudy Marcelletti, K8SWD, Sep 2, 2003
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  2. Rudy Marcelletti, K8SWD

    Bill Hilton Guest

    From: "Rudy Marcelletti, K8SWD"
    If your goal is prints then shoot in large/fine mode. If you know the file
    will only be used for the web then the 1280 x 960 size is fine, maybe even 640
    x 480. This is a very general rule of thumb though.
    Bill Hilton, Sep 2, 2003
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  3. Rudy Marcelletti, K8SWD

    Maze Guest

    Depends what you want to do with the photos - If you might ever need to
    print any of them off, go for the highest setting possible (Jpeg / Fine /
    2048 x 1556) I know your camera will do TIFF, but those files will be over
    10MB each.
    If you need to take more than 75 shots, get another 128MB card - they're
    only about £15. There's not much point having 1300 photos that would look
    awful if you printed them off bigger than a matchbox!!

    If you ever need to email photos you can drop the quality later.


    Maze, Sep 2, 2003
  4. Rudy Marcelletti, K8SWD

    Ken Alverson Guest

    Unless space is a real premium (and even then, you should probably just buy a
    bigger memory card), take pictures at the highest quality jpeg level
    available. It's simple to reduce the size in a photo editor, but you can
    never recover the data that you didn't save if you use the lower quality

    Ken Alverson, Sep 2, 2003
  5. Rudy Marcelletti, K8SWD

    Norm Guest

    Rudy, I would agree with Ken, always shoot at the highest jpeg quality
    available. You never know what you may want to do with those shots and with
    many you will never get a 2nd chance.
    Norm, Sep 2, 2003
  6. I say, unless you are POSITIVE they are non-crucial shots--quickies of items
    you're selling on eBay, or as a good example earlier I took a photo of an
    SLR lens I'm considering so I could describe it to someone else to get more
    information on it--then you ALWAYS shoot at the absolute highest quality you
    can get. Upgrade memory to handle it.

    If you later on decide it doesn't need to be at the absolute highest quality
    possible, you can also downsize it. But you can't "upsize" a photo you shot
    at too small of a setting.

    I mean, if you're going to pay for, say, 4 megapixels, why bother if you're
    always shooting at, say, 800x600? Might as well get a $20 Office Max
    off-brand if that's all one is going to ever do.

    Larry R Harrison Jr, Sep 3, 2003
  7. Rudy Marcelletti, K8SWD

    NJH Guest

    If you're shooting for prints, generally use the highest resolution. (Isn't
    that 2048 x 1536 with your camera, not x 1556?)

    Fine quality is of course the least "lossy" but as you know has the largest
    file size of the JPEGs. Standard will get you substantially more shots on
    your memory card and you may not see any difference in prints. It may depend
    on your camera. Try printing out a few shots taken at both those quality
    levels and see. If the shot is really important might as well use fine, but
    you may well find that standard is perfectly all right for most pictures.

    Economy 640 x 480 is great for e-mailing photos to friends etc. That's what
    I use for that purpose and the photos look tack-sharp on my computer screen.
    File sizes will be nice and small (usually around 60K or so, depending on
    subject) so they'll download quickly even if the recipient only has a 56K

    You might try 1600 x 1200 standard quality if you know you're only going to
    make 4 x 6 prints and need to get as many shots as possible out of your
    card. That's about 2 megapixels and should be more than adequate for prints
    of that size. Again, try it and see, comparing with similar shots at highest

    It's harder to think of a good use for 1280 x 960. Maybe viewing the images
    full screen on your computer, if it will do that resolution. Standard or
    economy should be fine for that.

    NJH, Sep 3, 2003
  8. Hi Rudy

    I'd recommend shooting at Fine 2048x1556.

    Reasoning: digital film is cheap. Whereas those
    photons will never enter your camera again. Capture
    them at the best quality that's reasonable.

    (TIFF offers very little improvement over JPEG Fine,
    at a large cost in memory requirements per image, which
    to my mind make it unreasonable).

    Stanley Krute, Sep 3, 2003
  9. Rudy Marcelletti, K8SWD

    JPS Guest

    In message <[email protected]>,
    Not really. A $20 camera will most likely have a tiny plastic button
    lens with lots of distortion and low contrast. The best way to shoot a
    640*480 is with a multi-megapixel camera with a halfway-decent lens, and
    then downsample it. The smaller the total pixel size, the more
    realistic each pixel needs to be.
    JPS, Sep 4, 2003
  10. Even if you are only shooting for the web, it is still best to shoot at
    higher res, as you may want to crop some images. You can always resize to
    640 by 480 from whatever larger size your final image ends up being.


    Michael Abbaticchio
    MS Exchange Server MVP
    Michael A. Abbaticchio, Sep 7, 2003
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