Mar 16 2007

Always Use High Resolution

Published by at 9:45 pm under Equipment

When I bought my first digital camera (a 1.3 mp), I had a 16 MB memory card and took all my pictures in a low resolution mode, so that I got more pictures on the card. As each photo needed just under 100K I was able to take about 160 photos before having to download to my computer.

Those 100K photos looked great on my computer screen, and when sent to friends and relatives via email.

What I was not considering was that my screen only needed 72 dpi, whereas my favourite printer needed 150 dpi. When I finally got a real “keeper” and wanted to print it, I was disappointed to find out that the printer could only do 4×6 prints. My low-res photos did not have enough info for 5×7 prints.

That was the day I switched my camera to its highest resolution.

In fact, on newer digital cameras there is a setting called raw. This is even better than the high-res mode that depends on jpeg format. My current camera (a 6.3 mp) can store about 70 photos on a 256 MB card. In raw mode that drops to about 35 photos. I still do not normally shoot raw, however, I am watching for good deals on 512 MB cards (which hold about 70 photos in raw mode) so that I can make the switch. As I write this article I have 6 memory cards, which hold about 600 photos in jpeg mode and 300 in raw mode.

One photographer explains the raw versus jpeg issue this way. “The advantage of RAW files is that they capture all of the data from the camera unprocessed – that doesn’t necessarily give you better images, it just gives you more flexibility after the fact. While simply batch processing images on the computer won’t make a big difference, if you need to adjust whitebalance or exposure after the fact it makes a huge difference in the quality of the images. Since you have a lot more information to work with, the images can be more forgiving to adjustments made in post-production and allow you to do things that would make JPEGs look horrid.” quoted from here

See here for another “thread” on the raw versus jpeg issue.

Try this article as well.

And, finally, a more academic study is here.

Bottom line in my opinion? ALWAYS shoot in your highest jpeg resolution. You never know when you may shoot that “photo of a lifetime” and want to make a large blown up version of it.

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