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Old May 14, 2004, 11:25 PM   #1
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Forgive me I am a newbie. I just ordered a Canon S410 as my first digital camera.

Could someone please explain in general terms about filesize and compression? The S410 has four file sizes the smallest 640x480, the largest2272x1704. It also has 3 compression modes, Superfine, Fine, and Normal.

I know the larger file size records more pixels, takes up more space, and I assume the clarity of the photo is better the larger it is. But for viewing on your computer, I would think 640x480 or 1024x768 would be more ideal so you can view the whole picture on the screen. I want to know how this pertains to printing, as in I took the same picture at all four sizes and then printed a 4x6 print. Am I correct in assuming the larger file size will give the sharper print? ...and then what is the compression modes going to do for my pics?

Is it best to take your pictures at the largest filesize and Superfine compression... print from the native image and then reduce the size for viewing?

If someone could help me understand, I would be very appreciative.

Thanks all, dzaborn
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Old May 15, 2004, 8:19 AM   #2
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You are right, the number of pixels and compression depends on what you are going to do with the picture. However, it is often difficult to know that when you set up your camera to shoot. While framing a shot, you might discover that what you thought was a chipmonk in the background is really Big Foot. You will be unhappy if you have your camera set to 640x480 high compression.

Memory is cheap - get lots of it and shoot at the highest-resolution/lowest-compression.

When you put them on the web, downsize them and compress them a bit past the point where you start seeing artifacts - other folks won't be as fussy about your pictures as you are. And us dial-up folks will be much happier.
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Old May 15, 2004, 8:29 AM   #3
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dzaborn wrote:
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Is it best to take your pictures at the largest filesize and Superfine compression... print from the native image and then reduce the size for viewing?

Absolutely. If you have plans to print or think you might print and even if you didn't, I'd still always take picutures using the highest resolution on Superfine compression in case you later decided to make prints. I would then use copies of those originals (always keep the orig. in pristine condition for future use - consider it as your negative)for edits, reduction in size, or whatever your end result requires.

When you are taking picutures, the higher the resolution, themore pixels each picture will contain. This willenable you to printlarger prints or even better cropped pictures. Similar can be said for compression. To save space, manufactures compress your files. The type of compression they use is lossy; Once the data is lost, it can not be recovered. If you use too much compression, the detail will be lost and jpeg atifacts could be introduced (irregular shaped shapes, usually kind of square or rectangular, that can be very obvious). The loss of detail and/or jpeg artifacts will of course prevent you from getting as nice a print as desired.

For viewing pictures on the web or sharing pic's in email, use post processing to reduce the size to 800x600, 1024x768, etc. This is much too small for printing, but perfect for monitors because the picture fit on the screen without scrolling and the file sizes are much smalller to allow quick downloads when viewing on the internet or sending via email. If done properly, even thought the pictures are much smaller, they still appear to have excellent detail on the monitor.

Hope this helps.
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Old May 17, 2004, 11:01 PM   #4
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Thanks both of you for the info... that makes perfect sense!

dzaborn
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Old May 18, 2004, 7:09 AM   #5
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No need to reduce the size for viewing on your computer. Most viewers can be set to downsize the image so it fits on the screen.

Irfanview is free at
www.irfanview.com When you install it choose "images only" in the file type associations. When you first run the program go View>Display options>Fit image to window. You can scroll through an entire folder with the mouse wheel or make thumbnails in various sizes.

You would want to downsize only to post online or e-mail – also saving the originals of course.
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Old May 18, 2004, 10:39 PM   #6
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I have a friend who sent me a pix as she had taken it...all 2.5MB! On dial-up, it took a while to get...and I had to shrink it to 25% to see it...so please do be kind when emailing pix!
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Old Jun 14, 2004, 10:05 AM   #7
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Thanks for the pointer ot Irfanview. I had gotten used to the auto-resizing feature in XP and was frustrated trying to look at photos on our old Win98 PC. This is just the ticket. The ability to view .wmv files and all the others is definitely convenient when cleaning up old directories.
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Old Jun 14, 2004, 10:47 AM   #8
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kcowan2000 wrote:
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Thanks for the pointer ot Irfanview. I had gotten used to the auto-resizing feature in XP and was frustrated trying to look at photos on our old Win98 PC. This is just the ticket. The ability to view .wmv files and all the others is definitely convenient when cleaning up old directories.

Irfanview is especially handy for sorting with the thumbnails. What makes Irfanview nice is that you can change the default size of the thumbnails so it isn't usually necessary to open the full image. You can highlight groups of images and move them to another folder, rotate, resize or delete them.
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