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Old Mar 26, 2005, 5:36 PM   #1
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what resolution should I use for making the best 4x6 and an occasional 5x7 on the a510? Noticing that it has a 3:2 ratio aspect, would this be better than the super fine or fine setting? I would like to conserve card capacity but not sacrafice print quality. Also, is there any way to determine battery status. The reviews don't seem to mention that feature. I am pretty convinced that the a510 is the one I will get next week so any asap responses would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Mar 27, 2005, 10:51 AM   #2
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There is no charge indicator until it the batteries are almost depleted, then you will see a little warning symbol. A few shots after I saw the "low battery" symbol my camera withdrew the lens, shut down the LCD and told me to replace the batteries. This was after about 220 shots (about 40 with flash) on a fresh pair of 2500 mAH Energizer rechargeables. Almost all my shots were at maximum resolution and superfine compression.

I haven't done any printing yet, so I can't give you much advice on that, but my approach would be to shoot at the highest resolution and lowest compression and then scale it down to the desired print size (or file size if you are planning to send it as an email attachment) using photo editing software on your computer. (You do have a computer, don't you? If not, please disregard this part.) The big advantage of doing it this way is that you will be able to cropextensively if desired without losing too much print quality. (Incidentally, memory cards are cheap! I bought a 256 MB Dane-Elec SD card for $18 on newegg.com).
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Old Mar 27, 2005, 10:11 PM   #3
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Thanks Dan, for the information. I could not find anything listing a battery meter feature on the reviews. I held the camera and it feels great. My main question however, was on the two settings. As 99% would be for computer or tv viewing and I have no experience to know how much differece the eye could see between the two. Perhaps someone else would know more first hand and let us know.
Thanks again for your response.
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Old Mar 31, 2005, 12:18 PM   #4
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Nobody else seems to be stepping in, so I will answer what I can:

"what resolution should I use for making the best 4x6 and an occasional 5x7 on the a510? Noticing that it has a 3:2 ratio aspect, would this be better than the super fine or fine setting?"

I played with it a bit, and all the 3:2 Postcard setting seems to do is shoot at 1600 x 1200 with Fine compression, then crop a little off the top and bottom so the aspect ratio will match that of a standard 4 x 6 postcard. (Conveniently, you can see the cropped image on the LCD screen as you frame your shot, so you will know exactly what you are getting.) The only purpose I can see to using this setting would be if you were actually planning to print 4 x 6 postcards and didn't want to bother with cropping your shots manually.

"I would like to conserve card capacity but not sacrafice print quality."

Wouldn't we all! However, as you have probably guessed, it's a tradeoff. Greater file size means greater picture detail, and if you plan on making large prints you will want to capture all the detail that your camera is capable of. (Small prints are not such a big deal and you can get by with shooting at reduced resolution. Which resolutions exactly, I can't say, although I have seen various guidelines posted. They shouldn't be too hard to find.) However, the Powershot A510 is only a 3 megapixel camera to begin with, so there's not a lot we can throw away.

Viewing your photos on a computer monitor, however, is a much different scenario. If you just want to take photos and view them on your computer monitor or TV, and if you don't plan on making large prints or doing any cropping, then there is no need to shoot at a resolution that is any higher than your computer monitor's resolution. If your monitor is running at 1024 x 768, shoot at that resolution and your pictures will fit the screen perfectly. If you shoot at higher resolution, your pictures will be larger than the screen and you will either have to scroll up/down/left/right to view the whole thing, or you will (most likely) choose to let your viewing software scale the picture down to fit your screen. (This seems to happen automatically when you hook the camera up to a TV set). The extra resolution and the finer detail won't be visible when you scale the photo to fit your screen, but it will still be available in case you want to zoom in on a part of the photo, and that's why I choose to do all my shooting at maximum resolution and minimum compression. This setting is also preferable if you plan to crop or edit your photos. Although the files are a bit on the large side, you can always use your editing software to downsize a copy of your photo to a lower resolution and/or a more highly compressed file if needed, i.e for emailing. Well, that's my 2 cents.
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Old Mar 31, 2005, 2:52 PM   #5
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For the battery indicator, no there is none, what I suggest you do is that u know more or less how many shots ur camera can take and always have a spare set with you... Personally I do not carry a spare set with me most of the time, because I know that with my A95, I can do over 400 shots and unless I am at 300 or more, I don't need batteries unless I plan to take lots of pics.

As for the picture quality. What Daniel T said is very right and its probably all you should listen to. Since that wasn't the answer you wanted, I will give you a compromise to it... I warn u right now, its not as good. First of all, always shoot with the maximum resolution, which is 2048 x 1536 on the A510. IF you will not edit your pictures AND that you won't print larger than 5x7, you could using the Fine setting. I don't actually recommend that you do because its irreversible and that its your negatives. Memory doesn't cost much, but its still a possibility.
MAYBE you could even take pictures in normal, but for that, its more a matter of preference.

Here is what I suggest you do, if you really wnat to fit as many pictures as you can. Take some pics in Large resolution and in all 3 compression modes, then change some things in the pics and save it in JPEG, repeat it 3 times and then print the pictures at 8x10... Check the differences and stick with the level of compression you prefer.
NOTE: I suggest that you edit the pictures 3 times, because each time you edit a picture and save it in JPEG, it compresses the already compressed file, so its more likely for artifacts to appear. I also suggest that you print them at 8x10, because its the next size larger than the largest u plan to print, so you will see the problems amplified.... So if you see none that big, then no chance u see some smaller.
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Old Apr 2, 2005, 12:08 PM   #6
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Thank you both for the generous and very informative answer. Being new to digital I find the variety of selections pertaining to resolution and compression overwhelming particularly since I have little experience in what to anticipate in each. Your overview certainly gives an excellent idea of what results to expect.
Thank you again for sharing.
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