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Old Nov 19, 2002, 2:34 AM   #1
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Default Information loss on lower resolutions?

This may be a stupid question, but I am about to buy my first digital camera and no one in the stores I visited has been able to answer it. I hope someone out there can
If I buy a 3 MP (2048x1536 p) camera but only use 1600x1200 p for everyday use - how is the picture reduced in size? Is there any information loss?
Is it using the entire CCD (2048x1536) and then "removing" pixels while compressing, or is it only using a part of the CCD (1600x1200)?
And (perhaps most important) does it matter?
What do you recommend? Should I settle with a 2MP or is it worth the extra money for 3MP?

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Old Nov 19, 2002, 2:54 AM   #2
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In fact I too have a similar question. I know if we need a larger print, we need a megapixel camera. Most of the megapixel cameras allow to shoot at resolutions of 640x480. Now, the question is if I buy a megapixel camera, say 2 MP, and shoot a picture using the 640x480 mode, will it be giving the same resolution as a camera whose maximum capacity is 640x480 or it will be more sharp and detailed? In other words, as the resolution goes mega, is it necessary that the picture clarity also goes high even if shot using the lower resolution mode.
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Old Nov 19, 2002, 7:11 AM   #3
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All else equal (it never is), by shooting at a higher resolution and downsizing the noise will be reduced by averaging.

But the key point is that things are never equal - typically (though not always) a higher megapixel camera will have more features/better lens/less noise/higher ISO/.... than a lower megapixel camera. Also a higher price.

So I'd suggest that you look at the features that are important to you, e.g., low-light focus/good macro/long zoom/wide zoom/external flash/low noise/high ISO/price/... , as being as important as the pixel count.
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Old Nov 19, 2002, 7:48 AM   #4
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I have the Olympus C3000 and it takes great pics. I also own the C4040 which takes great pics. The C4040 also has advanced features that were not available when the C3000 was new. I also paid $200 less for the 4040. The C5050, a 5mp Olympus, is selling for $200 less than the C4040 when it first appeared on the market.

I would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a C3000, point and shoot picture, and a C4040 photo. I can easily tell the difference between low light shots because the C4040 has better optics.

Bill is on the money, as usual, you decide what you want the camera to do and then pick your camera. If you are looking for good pics then most cameras with 2mp or more will do the job.
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Old Nov 19, 2002, 10:07 AM   #5
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The possible answers to the original question might be:

Calculate the aspect ratio for each resolution option, you will find the image aspect is still 1.33:1.

1. The camera scans the entire ccd and reduces resolution in the cam processing.
2. The cam scans part of the ccd with the same image aspect.
3. The cam scans the whole of the ccd but selects a subset of the pixel array for lower resolution output.
4. The cam scans the whole ccd , combining pixels to increase light captured - but reducing resolution.

1. Is unlikely, since reducing resolution this way would give the same in-cam processing time for all res. settings, why process data only to throw it away, and you wouldn't be able to do movie mode.
2. Unlikely since this would be like zoom mag and noise would be higher.
3. Scanning the whole ccd and dropping pixels is most likely.

4. Definitely is done and is why you buy a 3-4Mpix cam to get the lower noise faster ASA options, trading off lower resolution.
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