Incorporating photography as part of your upcoming map printing project? Being cautious about digital camera settings can help you avoid unexpected printed results. What photo quality settings should you utilize on your camera to ensure a crisp, clear, beautifully printed map?
Photo Quality Settings & How They Affect Compression
The photo quality settings on your digital camera determine the amount of compression the camera applies to the digital image file:
- High Compression
- Standard Quality (SQ)
- Low Quality (LQ)
- Low Compression
- High Quality (HQ)
- Super High Quality (SHQ) or Fine Quality (FQ)
What Does This Mean? Eking Out the Differences in Compression/Quality
So what’s the difference between high and low compression, why are high compression images lower quality (and vice-versa), why is compression such a huge issue, and how does this affect your image? Quality = compression. Compression, simply put, is the ability of the camera to save your images as a smaller file size. This makes the images faster to upload/download/transfer – but in reducing the data and file size, produces an image of poorer quality. Low quality settings use the most compression, create a smaller file, but make your image look much worse. Higher quality settings use the least compression, but in saving data from a photo with a larger file size, produce a higher quality image
So Why Do I Have So Many Choices?
These photo quality settings are available to help you make files sizes more manageable, as well as to increase storage capacity for those times when a large number of lower quality shots (your 8-year-old’s birthday party) are preferred over cramming just a few high-quality shots (family holiday photos for enlargement) on your memory card.
- High Quality = Low Compression = Better Image = Larger File Size/Space
- Low Quality = High Compression = Poor Image = Smaller File Size/Space
Mega Pixel = Maximum Confusion
Would-be digital photographers can also become perplexed when translating resolution to megapixels. The American motto: ‘Bigger is better’ applies when it comes to megapixel selection. A 6 megapixel camera will utilize all 6 megapixels on its highest resolution setting; compressing to 4 on medium quality, and 2 on the lowest quality setting. Using compression, parts of the image are cleverly removed so that when you display the image later, hopefully (if you don’t blow the image up to big) you won’t notice the missing elements. So what settings should you use to ensure reliable results? Though at some point the law of diminishing returns applies, you’ll want a digital camera with a higher megapixel capacity, opting for the highest quality/maximum megapixel setting to achieve photo quality that looks great when printed in great detail or used in a large format setting.
Photo Shoot for Your Upcoming Project? Use the Highest Quality Settings
No matter what resolutions your camera supports, always go for the highest quality setting. You never know when you’ll be presented with that ‘once in a lifetime’ photo opp. And it would stink for it to print out pixelated. While your goal may not be a massive print from the start, you never know when substandard resolution could cost you award-winning results. In the digital file world where ‘bigger is better,’ ‘tis far better to upgrade to a bigger memory card than miss an amazing opportunity.
Looking for ways to beef-up your upcoming project? From the latest in ink and substrate technology to the industry’s most intricate folds, we’ve got you covered. Widen your vision. Contact the experts at Vision Graphics today.