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Old Nov 17, 2006, 4:01 PM   #1
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I'm in the process of looking for a newer digital camera and have been hung up on the amount of megapixels as well as the different aspect ratios a camera offers...so I started reading articles online about all the tech-stuff in regards to dpi, pixel count, image size, etc.

I had been thinking that I "had to" have a camera that offered a 3:2 ratio (for 4x6 prints), and when I read tech-specs, I see that using the camera's built-in size ratios, you lose pixel resolution, for instance.

The Panasonic FX3 I've been looking at offers:

4:3 (2816 x 2112) = 5.94 MP
3:2 (2816 x 2176) = 5.29 MP
16:9 (2816 x 1584) = 4.46 MP


Then it just dawned on me today that the 3:2 and 16:9 picture size fit "within" the 4:3 ratio.

So am I thinking correctly that it would be better to take all pictures in the 4:3 ratio/size (for the best image quality) and then crop to those other aspect ratios using software...correct?

I realize that a higher megapixel count camera would offer better resolution if I wanted to crop and print from a smaller area of the image, but if I'm only to be cropping using the exact sizes listed above, then it does make sense to take all the photos at the higest MP count and image size available...right?
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Old Nov 17, 2006, 5:18 PM   #2
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Yes I always shoot using the most mps available then worry about cropping later.

I don't have a Photoshop on this computer, so I use freeware such as Faststone Image Viewer, for general cropping and resizing.

http://www.faststone.org/


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Old Nov 19, 2006, 4:14 PM   #3
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The way you ask the question suggests you have no problem cropping the images you want to print 4 X 6 down to the right ratio. It is better to use the full resolution if there is any chance you will ever get an image you want to print in a larger format. The standard 4:3 is closer to most standard sizes like 8 X 10, 11 X 14 and 16 X 20. You will get more useable pixels and better prints from a full sized 4:3.

As you have figured out the 3:2 mode is just cropping the image and not using all the available sensors.

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Old Nov 19, 2006, 5:57 PM   #4
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slipe wrote:
Quote:
The way you ask the question suggests you have no problem cropping the images you want to print 4 X 6 down to the right ratio. It is better to use the full resolution if there is any chance you will ever get an image you want to print in a larger format. The standard 4:3 is closer to most standard sizes like 8 X 10, 11 X 14 and 16 X 20. You will get more useable pixels and better prints from a full sized 4:3.

As you have figured out the 3:2 mode is just cropping the image and not using all the available sensors.
Ahhh...thanks for suggesting about "future" printing and print sizes and keeping with the highest resolution the camera offers. The more I read online about this stuff, the more I realize that other image sizes are perhaps offered for those who just want to take a photo and print it from the camera (without ever bringing it into photo editing software). That's something I could never do, I always desire to see an image in editing software for possible fine-tweaking.

Up to this point, I've mostly worked with images used on the web, and now that I have an Epson R260 for photo printing, I'm having to further educate myself about cameras, image resolution, printing, etc.

Steve's DigiCams has been very instrumental in getting me up-to-date about features and camera specs. In fact, it really helps that he consistently takes pictures of the same scenes, shot from the same perspectives so that I can compare image quality. And at this point, by comparing images, I've come to realize that a Canon A630 (8 MP) actually takes far sharper and more detailed pictures than the Panasonic FX3 (6 MP) camera I had been considering.

Plus, your talk about other print sizes got me thinking more that perhaps I might actually want to print some 8x10's or perhaps longer banner-length images.
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Old Nov 20, 2006, 12:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
I always desire to see an image in editing software for possible fine-tweaking.
I couldn't imagine printing an image without a trip through Photoshop.

After spending time on graphics boards I've concluded that most people are a lot better at framing than I. Most shots I take look better with a little cropping. That is especially true if I use the optical finder on my pocket camera since it doesn't cover the entire frame. But even with my EVF cameras I tend to not frame as tightly as I should unless I have plenty of time to take the shot.

The biggest factor though is that I only buy cameras that let me set the contrast and sharpening on minimum. Low contrast gives the most dynamic range and sharpening should be done last in post processing.

Another advantage of shooting with low contrast is that most shots taken with small sensors look better after a defogging with USM set to a small amount and high radius. That increases the contrast to the point where a shot with good contrast can look too contrasty after defogging. Any sharpening increases the contrast a little.

Most stores carry 8.5 X 11 frames anymore. Target has a decent selection. So I tend to print 8.5 X 11 rather than 8 X 10 since most photo paper comes in 8.5 X 11 and I don't have to trim them.

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