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Old Jun 22, 2009, 8:54 PM   #1
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Default Which is likely to give better results?

Hi - My camera offers 5MP and 7MP as options, and picture quality of Standard and High. Which is likely to offer better quality photos:

A) 5MP @ High
or
B) 7MP @ Standard

Any thoughts?

Thanks.
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Old Jun 23, 2009, 1:07 AM   #2
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No answer, right? Only thoughts?

This sounds like a good question for your camera manufacturer's tech support.

With "A", you have lower resolution with minimum JPEG compression and with "B", you have higher resolution with more JPEG compression.

Somebody would have to do a test to determine the usable resolution in both of these cases.

If such information isn't available, you could just do an informal test yourself. Take a picture of something with a lot of detail using both combinations. Crop out a portion (the same portion) from each and put them side by side in a single document. Blow them up onscreen and see whether you notice any difference at any magnification.

You can print the same composite picture at magnification levels similar to what you would find in the biggest prints that you are likely to make and see if there's a difference.

If you can't reliably see a difference, then, effectively speaking, there is no difference.

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Old Jun 23, 2009, 3:22 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by granthagen View Post
...With "A", you have lower resolution with minimum JPEG compression and with "B", you have higher resolution with more JPEG compression....Take a picture of something with a lot of detail using both combinations....
Unless these are the only two options available, the proposed experiment changes two variables at once. Surely it would be better to try all four experiments...

by adding C) 5Mpix @ standard, and

D) 7Mpix @ High.

In this situation with my last few digicams, I've found that the change in jpg compression level makes very little discernible difference, even when viewed at high magnifications, while the number of pixels makes a much bigger difference. However, subject matter and sensor noise level (in large featureless areas) can affect the results. An important factor in deciding what setting will be satisfactory is the size at which the image is likely to be viewed.

However, now that it's difficult to buy memory cards that don't have enormous capacity, and hard disks are huge and cheap, why bother with the space saving? If it's for electronic transmission, e.g., email, the resizing would be better served by shooting a good quality original, and using a processing package for resizing, perhaps with a little added sharpening.

With the excellent free 'Irfanview' (www.irfanview.net) you can do whole batches at once.

Good luck, spodeworld, with your experiments. It's a fine life as an experimental scientist. Just now and again you might get a clear result!

It would be helpful if manufacturers gave some idea, on a percentage or 10-point scale, just what level of jpg compression is applied for each setting. One manufacturers 'standard' may be another one's 'fine'.

Last edited by Alan T; Jun 23, 2009 at 3:26 AM.
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Old Jun 23, 2009, 4:50 AM   #4
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I've never used anything apart from the highest quality on all my cameras however in your situation I would say that unless you are printing large then you will probably be fine with 5mp and high quality as this will likely give a good result but as suggested just give it a try and see what meets your needs.
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Old Jun 23, 2009, 6:47 AM   #5
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Compression High v Standard will only lose detail for certain types of pictures. In general the compression is very good. Normally you will not be able to tell the difference.

5mp v7mp will ALWAYS show the resolution difference.

So although it may be possible that a 5mp high will give better quality than a 7mp standard, I would guess that 99% of the time it would be the other way round.

But really, memory is so cheap that the best thing to do is always use 7mp at high quality. If it's a good photo you want it to be the best quality possible, if it's a bad photo - just delete it.
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Old Jun 23, 2009, 6:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spodeworld View Post
Hi - My camera offers 5MP and 7MP as options, and picture quality of Standard and High. Which is likely to offer better quality photos:

A) 5MP @ High
or
B) 7MP @ Standard

Any thoughts?

Thanks.
Are those the only two choices, or can you shoot at 7MP with high quality?

What camera model is it?

With some of the very cheap cameras, the highest resolution mode is interpolated versus native to the sensor.

Memory cards are very inexpensive now. I'd go with the highest native resolution and best jpeg quality the camera supports.
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Old Jun 23, 2009, 11:51 AM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback. Really quite interesting and not what I expected. It seems the consensus weighs in favor of going up the MP ladder rather than decreasing compression (it is not that those are the only choices; I was just curious how each of those two sets of options would stack up against each other). I'm guessing the added detail is much more noticeable than the higher compression, which, it seems, is not so obvious in general situations.
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Old Jun 23, 2009, 3:44 PM   #8
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Default Interesting article

Found an interesting article on the topic http://www.neocamera.com/feature_size_vs_quality.html
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Old Jun 24, 2009, 8:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spodeworld View Post
...It seems the consensus weighs in favor of going up the MP ladder rather than decreasing compression
Yes, but this is quite a recent phenomenon in small cameras.

Alongside the 'pixel wars'...

...with manufacturers striving to outdo each other in consumer megapixels, just for marketing purposes (silly), there have been, in the last couple of years...

...Enormous developments in sensors (sensible), so that you can have it both ways, more pixels on a small sensor AND more than adequate image quality in a small-sensor camera.

But don't forget that lens quality is all-important.
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