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Old May 3, 2010, 9:46 AM   #1
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Default what pixels / photosize

Ok, this is a newbie question, sorry if this is a simple answer I should probably know... but i'm just getting started to take more 'serious' photos and get into photography a bit more, want to learn as much as possible from this great forum..... I just purchased my first decent camera, and in the past I never worried about image sizes, pixels etc, just took the pics, lol, now with a better camera I would like to get the best out of it..... I just want to know what's the best settings for me....


Going thru my image settings I have these options... btw it's a 10.3 megapixel camera.

3648 x 2736(10M)
3264 x 2448(8M)
2592 x 1944(5M)
2048 x 1536(3M)
1600 x 1200(2M)
1280 x 960(1M)
1024 x 768(PC)
640 x 480(VGA)
3648 x 2432(3:2)
3584 x 2016(16:9)
2736 x 2736(1:1)


I understand what megapixels mean, just not sure whats the best quality for certain size photos or just in general.... I always thought and would think higher is better....

Now from what I read on dif reviews, it's not always best to go the highest??? I don't plan on larging any pics bigger than 5x7 or so.... most are just 4x6, but it's always nice to have the option if I want to make some 8x10's etc.... should I go with the 10M?

Do different pixel settings matter for zoom shots compared to close up shots? I take alot of distance zoomed in photos... like sports etc... should I always use the highest settings? And what about for closeups? like flowers etc.... or is it the ISO and shutter speed that matters for the quality and not the pixel size?

btw I'm still learning this camera, so I use Automode as well.. so I dont mess around with ISO and that stuff, I leave it auto for now til I get better understanding all this stuff.

I have a class 4, 8-GB SDHC memory card. so storage isn't really an issue with my camera, I dont plan on taking many HD 1080 videos either, if I do I will most likey always transfer my pics/video to my computer anyways.

Ok, thanks for any help offered... and for understanding my newbie experience, I'm getting right into this lately and enjoying it.... plan of posting some pics later on....

I'm sure I'll have a hundred more questions in the future as I learn more and get better.... lol
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Old May 3, 2010, 9:48 AM   #2
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oh something else to add.... the image options of Fine, Normal, Basic.... which is best to use?

Currently I am using 3M and on Normal

thanks again
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Old May 3, 2010, 10:06 AM   #3
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For the ocassional large print, you are always better off with the highest resolution and the least compression. Anything less, and you'll lose detail and the images won't look as good. With your camera, that would be 3648 x 2736 Fine. But that makes large files, so you'll need large memory cards to handle more than a handful of photos.
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Old May 3, 2010, 11:14 AM   #4
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Thanks TCav!

And so using 10M compared to a 3M doesn't affect a zoom or anything? Doesn't affect how the picture will turn out (ie: blur) ???
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Old May 3, 2010, 11:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by raiderfan View Post
And so using 10M compared to a 3M doesn't affect a zoom or anything? Doesn't affect how the picture will turn out (ie: blur) ???
No. In fact, they'll be sharper. What will happen is that it will take longer for images to transfer from the camera's buffer to the SD Card, so, since you're only using a Class 4 card, your shot-to-shot times might not be as good, and it will take longer to transfer the images from the card to your computer. It will also take longer to print your images and to e-mail them, and you'll have to reduce them before you can post them on-line (like, for instance, here) but you'll get better results for whatever you want to do.
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Old May 3, 2010, 9:38 PM   #6
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Unless you have a very specific purpose which requires a lower resolution or file size, you are always better off shooting at the highest resolution of your camera. Downsizing and cropping can be done later (on a copy-don't destroy the original) in a photo editor.

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Old May 3, 2010, 10:00 PM   #7
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Unless you have a very specific purpose which requires a lower resolution or file size, you are always better off shooting at the highest resolution of your camera. Downsizing and cropping can be done later (on a copy-don't destroy the original) in a photo editor.

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ya, like I said, file size is not an issue... with my settings at 10M I get 3000+ photos on my card. Most online photo hosting and sites like facebook etc will resize automatically anyways.....
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Old May 9, 2010, 6:17 PM   #8
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Here's my smartass answer: It doesn't matter. If you have specific requirements, then it maybe matters. Otherwise, no. It all depends on presentation. I still use an ancient 1mpx Sony DSC-P20, just 912x1216 pixels. I've made (and sold) poster-size prints from some of its shots. The secret? They look like posters, not like big photos. I've also made 6x9cm B&W prints from some P20 shots, mounted them alongside contact prints from an old 6x9 folder, and they cannot be distinguished without a magnifier. I've made 8x10" prints from 240x320 pixel frames; they look like art prints, not photos.

Remember that what you see on a monitor is NOT how a picture will look printed, matted, glassed, framed, hung -- or projected. Resolution matters if your image is to be commercially printed, or greatly enlarged and inspected closely. Images can be blown up tremendously and still have great impact, if not looked at too closely. Pre-digital cinema was shot on (often cheap) film with frames the size of an APS-C sensor (about 16x24mm) and blown up to 30x50 FEET or so -- and how much of the audience sits in the front row to inspect every detail?

Yes, it's usually best to shoot at the highest possible resolution, with greatest sharpness and fidelity -- unless you have reasons not to. With people, you can get away with lower resolutiuon. Human visual systems are funny; we prefer to see things (scapes, artifacts, buildings etc) in great detail, but we can recognize human features that are quite indistinct. There's a famous 8x8 B&W blur that, when you squint, is unmistakably Abe Lincoln. People and other animals in action are exciting, grab our eyeballs, whether or not the image is razor-sharp. I'll put up with almost any noise level or lack of resolution if I can get interesting shots of people doing stuff. I've shot (and sold) blurry grainy images that yet convey action. No contest winners, but I have no use for contests anyway.

If you're not happy with the resolution of a picture... print it anyway, mount it, hang it high on a wall where nobody can look close enough to see the fuss. Distance covers many sins.
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