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Old Dec 2, 2006, 10:21 AM   #1
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It appears that my new camera has a LOT more bells and whistles than I even realized. I want to learn everything eventually, but with vacation right on the threshhold, need to work with basics first. And some of this stuff is a bit too techie for me; so please bear with me.

What is the most common/average recording pixel setting used? The choices are L, M1, M2, M3, S, Postcard. I plan to shoot vacation pictures, mostly outside, some inside. I will not be printing posters, and only doing minor cropping. The pictures will be used both for viewing on the computer (online sites like Kodak Gallery) and for printing some of them. Most of the printing will be 4 X 6" ... certainly not larger than 8 X 10 if at all!

I already know that leaving it on L has resulted in a file size of 2.5MB. Dumb question: leaving it on L, does that mean I'm shooting at 7.1 megapixels which my camera is .... and does changing it to something like M2 or M3 mean I'm not using the full advantage of the 7.1 MP? I've read that for printing 4 X 6, I don't need a camera of more than 3 or 4 MP. But I'm :?

I'm also confused about the Compression Setting choices: Superfine, Fine, Normal. Do I have to do something with those settings, or is that automatically taken care of with changing the Recording Pixel setting? (pages 27-28 of the Advanced guide) For the photo situations and use of such outlined above, what would be the most commonly used setting.

I will probably do most of my shooting in the Auto mode until I learn more. Thank you for any replies that might help me, especially since vacation starts in 2 days! :-)
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Old Dec 2, 2006, 11:21 AM   #2
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You might as well use the highest resolution and the best (least) compression settings ie superfine.

Memory cards are cheap, and storage for your pictureson cds or dvds is cheap, so don't skimp when taking pictures.

You may want to print big in the future and you can't recover detail you never had in the first place.

Resizing an image is simple, takes, what 5 seconds in any freeware editor?

So, highest resolution, and the least compression..


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Old Dec 2, 2006, 11:27 AM   #3
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Superfine, Fine, and Normal refer to the amount of compression. JPEG files are compressed before being stored on the memory card. There are different levels of compression: more compression equals lower quality files, and quality lost can never be regained. For Canon (and most models I think) Superfine is the highest quality photo, meaning the lowest compression and largest file size.

(Resampling will lower the image quality too, but that happens in post-processing software like Photoshop Elements, you won't be concerned with that until after the vacation is over.)

Now that you have your camera, shooting more pictures is essentially free. If you have enough space on your memory cards, many people (and I) usually recommend the highest resolution (and lowest compression). And if you think you used a wrong setting or your finger was in the way (don't laugh, it happened to me), shoot the same image several times. When you get home and see your results, you will have fun and want to be a better photographer. Delete the ones that aren't "perfect".

Will you use all of the sensor at a lower resolution? I don't know. Someone else will have to answer.

One question: do you have experience with film cameras? This may give you a "feel" for digital. You probably know that there is a trade-off between shutter speed, aperture and ISO. That is true in the digital world too.

I would like to stress that in automatic mode, the camera may choose a higher ISO than needed, and you can probably lower it (less electronic noise) and still get good results (shutter speed still fast enough to capture the action). Press the shutter down halfway and the display will probably show you the settings the camera wishes to use. Noise probably won't be a problem with 4 inch by 6 inch prints.

Indoors, I wouldn't hesitate to a higher ISO (automatic mode or manually chosen) to capture those special moments.

But most of all, have fun!

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Old Dec 2, 2006, 5:54 PM   #4
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Thanks to both of you for the answers! Sounds like the consensus is to stay with the camera default settings of highest recording pixel setting and least compression. I think I do have sufficient memory card space for lots of pictures .... and then I can resize later for placing the pictures on the web.

Yes, I've had experience with film cameras, and also with an old digital. I understand the concept of aperture and shutter speed fairly well .... but ISO is a different story.

Also, I don't understand what is meant by "camera/electronic noise"????


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Old Dec 2, 2006, 7:23 PM   #5
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All the various electronics, power converters, circuits etcin the camera produce electronic "noise", think how if you bring an old AM radio close to a TV or monitor the sound picks up a buzz and distorts.

Also as sensors heat up even more "noise" is generated.

This noise can interfere with the weak signal sent back from the tiny photosites on the sensor. So instead of a clean signal indicating when and where photons hit the sensor, you get that plus false signals, blips, etc that never existed as anything but an error introduced into the signal.


In a film camera, your sensor (the film..) is not fixed, need to use it in low light ? You can use a higher rated film, but in a digital camera the sensor is fixed.

When you increase ISO the sensor does not magically get more sensitive to light, rather the signalfrom the sensor is amplified, this also amplifies any "noise" in the signal, similar to turning up the volume on a distorted and weak signal on a radio, the tune gets louder, but so does the hiss and static.

Although not due to the same reasons and hardly scientifically exact, you could think of noise producing an effect in a picture similar to grain in a high speed film.

Most cameras (shootingasjpegs anyway) try to tame this noise by runningthe signal through noise reduction algorithms, which tend to smooth out the picture removing the noise and as a side effect, removing the small details in the image as well !

Panasonic forexample are known for noisy sensors, andat highISOs many pictures tend to look like "watercolour" paintings,smooth yes, butdevoid of detail.





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Old Dec 2, 2006, 8:06 PM   #6
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Thanks! I think I understood the main gist of that! :-) I'm thinking "camera noise" is not something you "hear", but something you "see" in your picture ... distortions, etc.

If that's not correct, then I guess I didn't understand it as well as I think I did.
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Old Dec 2, 2006, 8:48 PM   #7
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Yep, you've gotten the idea.




Forexamples look at the sample images at the end of the A710s' review.

I have combinedtwo crops taken from the reviewbelow, at ISO 100 and 800 in the same pic, gives you an idea of what noise looks like







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Old Dec 2, 2006, 10:19 PM   #8
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My Canon S3 automatically applies noise reduction when the shutter is open 1.3 seconds or more. I don't think it is even possible to turn it on or off in any menu choice.

The amount of noise reduction inside the camera is chosen by the manufacturer, whether you can turn it on or not. In software post-processing, you choose the amount of noise reduction. I think I've heard people use a "sharpen" filter after noise reduction. But I can't give you any advice, I've barely started moving around in Photoshop Elements.

My neighbor's Gateway (DC-T50, secretly made by Toshiba) defaulted to ISO 400 many times in automatic mode, and photos were noisy. That is why I mentioned this in my earlier post.

If I knew then what I know now, I'd have much better photos. But maybe borrowing cameras for 6 years was a great "warm up" for my S3........

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