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Old Jan 2, 2005, 12:04 PM   #1
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For this test I decided to photograph a sweater with lot of texture so I could compare pixel degredation in each processing format. I setup my Slik tripod and usedprogrammed modefor each exposure. Iturned off sharpening, BSS, and used an iso of 50. Iused a timed shutter release toeliminate any camera shake. Each pic was taking with the Nikon's flash.

I proceeded to compare each image, Tiff, Extra, Fine,Normal and basic, in Photoshop. I was looking for pixel smearing, blurring, or any kind of degregation to the pixel structure. All in 300 dpi and from 100% all the way out to 600% of the original size. To my eye I actually liked the Extra over the Tiff image for contrast. I also couldn't tell a difference between Extra and Normal and then saw a small amount of pixel smearing in Basic. Perhaps my monitors are the weak link in this test and I need to print out each pic to see a real world test. I sure will and report back. But my gut feeling is that Normal will be my file format of choice. I didn't bother with RAW because I don't want to be bothered with converting images, long write times and converting the image into a JPG, anyway.
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Old Jan 2, 2005, 12:12 PM   #2
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Is this one of your Christmas sweaters? :lol:
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Old Jan 2, 2005, 12:16 PM   #3
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Its my wife's sweater. I like to go bare chested!
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Old Jan 2, 2005, 12:45 PM   #4
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Traderfjp

Thanks for taking the time to do those comparisons. Much appreciated.

Bare-chested? You're a guy, right? If not, how about a pix?

Just kidding. :lol:

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Old Jan 2, 2005, 12:57 PM   #5
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Hi Trader ! Thanks for doing that test. It's an interesting comparison. I've been waffling back and forth, trying different settings, to no conclusion. I didn't really notice a big difference and decided on Normal, as it takes less time to write. Then I went out the other day, in the sun, and shot a bunch on Extra ( I don't know why) and was really surprised at how sharp, brilliantly coloured and contrasty they were. I prefer a bit more contrast than usual. I think I notice a difference since updating the firmware, but that may be silly to suggest. I think the biggest difference is noticeable on an LCD screen, rather than a monitor ( I just bought a new lap top ). The sharpness and contrast seem to jump out. I've noticed some really low prices on 17" LCD screens now, and think this is possibly a good buy for those (us) who really enjoy digital photography. I guess it's silly to have a high res camera and then lose the advantage on the last stage.

I would agree with you that Normal is certainly the best all round setting for detail versus speed. If I'm not worried about the write time , I'll opt for Extra. The TIFF and RAW mystify me.

Thanks for the comparison. Did you try "blowing" each sample up ? If so, did you notice much difference ? It's nice to have a lot of options, but confusing to know which is "best".

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Old Jan 2, 2005, 1:08 PM   #6
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I have a 17" LCD Tv that i bought for my Motorhome, but seen i am not in it all the time i told the wife i'd better use it awhile to make sure it works ok :Gand i find it great for viewing my pics, i just viewed some on my moms monitor and it made me realize the difference.
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Old Jan 2, 2005, 2:06 PM   #7
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I have an older 17" Nokia LCD monitor that doesn't keep its settings well. It keeps reverting to colors that don't match my printer. I've tried the Spyder device, but that hasn't worked. Therefore, I'm also looking at the lower prices on the new 17" monitors.

Definitely we don't want to mess up our pictures using a poor monitor.

I've seen something called an Envision at Staples for about $269. Anyone with experience with that brand - or others?

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Old Jan 2, 2005, 6:26 PM   #8
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The Scrubbler. I blew up the pics in Photoshop and didn't see much of a difference until I blew up the Basic JPG format. And even that wasn't bad at all and probably fine for 4 x 6 snapshots. I'm going to send my comparisonpics to a lab to get printed for comparison. I'll blow them up to 8 x 10 and then use a loop to examine each pic for degredation of th epixel structure, blurring, etc. I would like to be able to use a smaller file format to increase shooting speed. But I'm greedy and don't want to settle for poor quality photos or lesser resolution - to an extent.

RAWis Nikon's format for saving your pic without any compression of loss of detail. JPG compresses the photo so the files are smaller. Each time you save a JPG you're loosing more and more detail. Tiff is just another file format that is also lossless but file sizesare quite big.Nikon and other companies employ the RAW format so you can have lossless negative (if you will) with much smaller file sizes then Tiffs. With a RAW format you have to use software to process the file and I believe the end result is a TIFF file but I'm not sure since its been a while since I played with RAW files. Perhaps they give you a choice. I haven't loaded the Nikon software yet since I use Photoshop and am not interested in RAW files.
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Old Jan 2, 2005, 9:11 PM   #9
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Hi Trader. Thanks for the lesson. I'm still not sure why there isn't a really noticeable difference when viewed on a computer screen . Is it only really important to have the RAW or TIFF files if you are making massive prints ? I guess that I'd like to store my photos at the highest res possible...just so any monitor improvements may be taken advantage of. Thanks for taking the time to do a "scientific" test. I'll look forward to your conclusions, as, I'm sure, a lot of others will .

Walter...I've seen these 17" LCD's here in Staples (Canada) as well. They are still only $100 Cdn less than complete computer packages, and so are still not the best value. But I do find the LCD much easier to view in daylight and it doesn't seem to lose the vibrancy that a regular monitor does in room light. I was VERY pleased with the Coolpix results on my older computer, but my wife and I both went "OOOOhhhh" when we first saw the same pictures on the LCD. I'm also looking forward to taking the camera and lap top away on our travels. I'll have something to play with in the trailer in the evenings. Lap tops have finally come down in price to about the same as my 8800 and I couldn't resist. But I wouldn't mind an LCD for this old banger as well.

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Old Jan 2, 2005, 9:37 PM   #10
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Scubbler: I ran another test tonight. Geez it's great to be on vacation and get to screw around. Anyway, this time I used a scene with lots of contrasting colors and textures. What I found was that the Tiff image has the best contrast from all the other formats. Resolution was also a tad better with the Tiff pic. My first test, the sweater, had too many muted colors. On this test I had the black of the computer speakers, white of the keyboard, and thevibrant colors of the snowman to compare.

When I applied sharpening in Photoshop and increased the contrast the JPG (Extra) picturelooked superior.I really want to try this testoutdoors on a sunny day. So for now I will stick with extra for most of my creative shots and normal for snapshots. I'm also using a really old slow CF card and the write times are: 29 seconds for Tiff, 8 seconds Extra, 5 seconds Fine, 3 seconds Normal and 2 seconds for Basic. I'm hoping to get better write times once I get my 1gig Ultra III card.

As for your question: Tiff and Raw images are for serious photographers who don't want to lose any detail or resolution from their pics and want the best contrast. If you're only enlarging to 8 x 10's you shouldn't be able to tell a difference from the Tiff formatfrom the Extra format.
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