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© Copyright 2017, Digital Photography Beginners. All rights reserved.

Does Your Picture Size Really Matter?

Many people mistakenly go for quantity over quality when taking their digital

photographs and use the ‘Less is More’ principle for image quality and picture

size.

You would think that this may get you more pictures on your memory card, but in fact it does come at the expense of the final photo quality. Quality should always win! How can your camera settings have an effect on the quality of your printed photographs you would ask? People often mistake picture size and image quality for the same thing. Although they are linked, they are very different. Because of this, people tend to overlook one or both when setting up their camera. Or they think that because they don’t see a problem with the picture when they look at it on the small screen of the camera, it doesn’t make much difference to photographs if they lower either or both settings. They succeed in cramming as many pictures on the memory card as they can but it’s only later that they can see the effect doing this has on their pictures. So why is it wrong? Because Picture Size and Image Quality have a direct effect of photographs when they’re printed out! Picture size is not how big the photograph is when you print it out. Picture Size refers to the actual dimension size of the picture you take with the camera. For example, taking a picture with the dimensions 1600x1200 is 1600 pixels wide and 1200 pixels high, giving a total of 1920000 pixels (2 megapixels) making up the final image. When you select the Picture Size setting, the camera will show you several size options. Shown in pixels (the little building blocks that make up the image) as WIDTH x HEIGHT, e.g. 4000x3000, there is sometimes a letter L, M, or S next to each option to indicate that this or either a Large, Medium or Small picture size. Your camera offers you the option to increase or decrease the number of blocks (pixels) that make up the image, which in turn changes the number of pictures you can store on your memory card. So what Picture Size setting should you choose? Your photograph is like a jigsaw made up of lots of small square pixels (px). You have a choice of how many squares you use to make the picture up. Let’s create the same image in two pictures, but use fewer pixels in one. IMAGE 1 starts with an image that is 450px x 450px                     IMAGE 2 starts with an image that is 200px x 200px At first look, there appears to be very little difference between the two pictures.  Image 1 looks a little crisper along the line edges but both appear to be quite acceptable versions of the image. You can see what the picture is meant to be and you can make out all of the detail. But which of these pictures actually contains more detail? If we wanted to print these images out to the same size photograph, what would happen? Here is a portion of each image enlarged to the same amount.  IMAGE 1      IMAGE 2     Already, Image 2 is showing the effect a smaller picture dimension has on a printed photograph. Because Image 1 uses more pixels to build up each part of the picture, there is more detail present, so the lines which give the outline around objects and detail are crisper and more defined. Image 1 is still a perfectly acceptable picture but Image 2 is getting to the stage of being too blurred. That is only after one very small enlargement. What would happen if the picture was of a special occasion, or a lovely holiday scene that you wanted to place in a frame? What would happen if you tried to get a reasonable size picture to print out?  IMAGE 1                                                                                                                IMAGE 2     IMAGE 1                                                                                                              IMAGE 2     Now you can see that the lack of detail in the smaller picture size of Image 2 has made the image unusable. When printed out as a photograph, Image 2 would have a massive amount of Pixelation.               ‘Pixelation’ is when you see the edges of the pixel building blocks when you view the picture either on screen or printed out in a photograph. It happens because you are trying to view or print the image at a size that is too big for the dimensions of the picture size. The way the computer screen enlarges the image to fit the size you ask for is by making every pixel in the image bigger. When the pixels are enlarged past a certain point, the square pixels become visible, which you see as jagged lines, not the smooth edges objects should have. There is some remedy by using software like Photoshop to increase the Picture Size, but this does NOT add detail in. The software increases the size by spacing out the pixels already present in the photograph and then tries to fill in the gaps with the best match to the pixels around that gap. As long as you don’t try to make a really small picture too big, you end up with a reasonable result. The downside to it is that it does make the photograph a little ‘softer’, less defined, but usable. So whilst reducing the number of pixels in your picture size allows you to get more pictures on the memory card, the images contain less detail and definition which produces inferior quality photographs. Is it worth losing all that information when you consider the amount of space that a spare memory card takes up? It won’t cost anymore to use a larger Picture Size but the memories you will get to keep are priceless. My advice, when taking any photograph, would always be to take the best quality picture you can. Set your camera to the highest quality settings you can.
Digital Photography Beginners
© Copyright 2017, Digital Photography Beginners. All rights reserved.

Does Your Picture

Size Really Matter?

Many people mistakenly go for

quantity over quality when

taking their digital

photographs and use the ‘Less

is More’ principle for image

quality and picture size.

You would think that this may get you more pictures on your memory card, but in fact it does come at the expense of the final photo quality. Quality should always win! How can your camera settings have an effect on the quality of your printed photographs you would ask? People often mistake picture size and image quality for the same thing. Although they are linked, they are very different. Because of this, people tend to overlook one or both when setting up their camera. Or they think that because they don’t see a problem with the picture when they look at it on the small screen of the camera, it doesn’t make much difference to photographs if they lower either or both settings. They succeed in cramming as many pictures on the memory card as they can but it’s only later that they can see the effect doing this has on their pictures. So why is it wrong? Because Picture Size and Image Quality have a direct effect of photographs when they’re printed out! Picture size is not how big the photograph is when you print it out. Picture Size refers to the actual dimension size of the picture you take with the camera. For example, taking a picture with the dimensions 1600x1200 is 1600 pixels wide and 1200 pixels high, giving a total of 1920000 pixels (2 megapixels) making up the final image. When you select the Picture Size setting, the camera will show you several size options. Shown in pixels (the little building blocks that make up the image) as WIDTH x HEIGHT, e.g. 4000x3000, there is sometimes a letter L, M, or S next to each option to indicate that this or either a Large, Medium or Small picture size. Your camera offers you the option to increase or decrease the number of blocks (pixels) that make up the image, which in turn changes the number of pictures you can store on your memory card. So what Picture Size setting should you choose? Your photograph is like a jigsaw made up of lots of small square pixels (px). You have a choice of how many squares you use to make the picture up. Let’s create the same image in two pictures, but use fewer pixels in one. IMAGE 1 starts with an image that is 450px x 450px                     IMAGE 2 starts with an image that is 200px x 200px At first look, there appears to be very little difference between the two pictures.  Image 1 looks a little crisper along the line edges but both appear to be quite acceptable versions of the image. You can see what the picture is meant to be and you can make out all of the detail. But which of these pictures actually contains more detail? If we wanted to print these images out to the same size photograph, what would happen? Here is a portion of each image enlarged to the same amount.  IMAGE 1      IMAGE 2     Already, Image 2 is showing the effect a smaller picture dimension has on a printed photograph. Because Image 1 uses more pixels to build up each part of the picture, there is more detail present, so the lines which give the outline around objects and detail are crisper and more defined. Image 1 is still a perfectly acceptable picture but Image 2 is getting to the stage of being too blurred. That is only after one very small enlargement. What would happen if the picture was of a special occasion, or a lovely holiday scene that you wanted to place in a frame? What would happen if you tried to get a reasonable size picture to print out?  IMAGE 1                                                                                                                 IMAGE 2 IMAGE 1                                                                                                               IMAGE 2     Now you can see that the lack of detail in the smaller picture size of Image 2 has made the image unusable. When printed out as a photograph, Image 2 would have a massive amount of Pixelation.               ‘Pixelation’ is when you see the edges of the pixel building blocks when you view the picture either on screen or printed out in a photograph. It happens because you are trying to view or print the image at a size that is too big for the dimensions of the picture size. The way the computer screen enlarges the image to fit the size you ask for is by making every pixel in the image bigger. When the pixels are enlarged past a certain point, the square pixels become visible, which you see as jagged lines, not the smooth edges objects should have. There is some remedy by using software like Photoshop to increase the Picture Size, but this does NOT add detail in. The software increases the size by spacing out the pixels already present in the photograph and then tries to fill in the gaps with the best match to the pixels around that gap. As long as you don’t try to make a really small picture too big, you end up with a reasonable result. The downside to it is that it does make the photograph a little ‘softer’, less defined, but usable. So whilst reducing the number of pixels in your picture size allows you to get more pictures on the memory card, the images contain less detail and definition which produces inferior quality photographs. Is it worth losing all that information when you consider the amount of space that a spare memory card takes up? It won’t cost anymore to use a larger Picture Size but the memories you will get to keep are priceless. My advice, when taking any photograph, would always be to take the best quality picture you can. Set your camera to the highest quality settings you can.
Digital Photography Beginners