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Old Feb 3, 2010, 10:34 PM   #1
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Default What is the difference between superfine, fine and normal

Ok a kind of silly newbee question...
In the camera I can not only select the resolution/size - I have the option of choosing superfine, fine or normal... I know it has to do with compression ratio - but what does that mean in ENGLISH!!
What is the difference? My simple mind tells me I should always choose superfine... I can always reduce quality, but can't get back something that is not there...
Unless I am worried about size of pic... but with large memory cards almost a non issue now a days...
Why would one choose normal or just fine over superfine?

What would be difference between lets say on a 12mp camera choosing highest res at normal vs 10mp at superfine?
Just trying to get an understanding of these settings...
Thanks in advance.
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Old Feb 4, 2010, 4:07 AM   #2
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Unlike with ZIP and RAR files, the algorithms used in JPEG compression are not lossless. That is, detail that is lost due to compression is not recoverable. The difference between Superfine, Fine, and Normal is the amount of detail that is lost. The only advantage of selection Fine or Normal instead of Superfine is the smaller file size that results from the greater compression.

As far as the image is concerned, increased compression results in artifacts where loss of edge and color detail are visible. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compression_artifact
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Old Feb 4, 2010, 5:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nech770 View Post
...Ok a kind of silly newbee question... Why would one choose normal or just fine over superfine?...What would be difference between lets say on a 12mp camera choosing highest res at normal vs 10mp at superfine?
It's not a silly question at all. I despair of ever-expanding file sizes, especially as the 'pixel wars' between manufacturers of the last few years have in many instances led to worse rather than better image quality in modest cameras.

For each of the successive digicams I've bought, I have resolved this issue to my own satisfaction by taking, from a tripod, test shots of a finely-detailed subject, at the various resolutions and compression ratios, and comparing the results, carefully, to see whether I can see significant difference (a) pixel for pixel, and (b) at the maximum magnification I expect to use.

As a result, for my purposes, I use the maximum resolution (useful should I wish to crop the image later), and the 'normal' compression setting. I couldn't see an advantage in the 'fine' setting, even on very large prints or otherwise magnified images. But that's just my cameras. You should do the experiments for yourself!

Unless you're working to very high standards, viewing at large magnifications, you probably won't notice the difference. However, purists will be horrified, as will those not worried about how their descendants will preserve their terabytes of family photos. That's why I suggest you should try the experiment for yourself.
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Old Feb 4, 2010, 7:47 AM   #4
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Some people buy cameras, not for getting the best photographs they can. but for other reasons, such as pictures for Ebay sales, photos for personal web pages and blogs, or just making backgrounds for web. One person I know shoots pictures of cars for ads in a regional auto sales guide. None of these applications can make use of large pictures or file sizes.

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Old Feb 4, 2010, 10:02 PM   #5
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ok I see - so I am best leaving in superfine mode...
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Old Feb 4, 2010, 10:07 PM   #6
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Yup, it would give you the best results
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