File Formats & Your Camera

July 7, 2010

Let’s start with your camera. No, doubt you have figured out by now that you camera saves images in one of the formats we discussed yesterday as soon as we take the picture, but which format?

Actually, this is easy to figure out – most digital cameras save their images in the JPG file format. The JPG file format is pretty good as a compromise between image quality and file size for most people, and in most photographic conditions.

But what you may not realize is that you have a fair amount of control over how aggressively your camera compresses the JPG images. Take a look at your camera – probably on the menu system – and you will find a setting for image quality.

Canon SD1200 Compact Digital Camera>

Canon SD1200 Compact Digital Camera

Its well worth pointing out that many digital cameras have a second file format available: TIF file format. Remember, the TIF file format, unlike the JPEG file format, can be used to ensure that the image is absolutely pristine, without any data loss at all. Many digital cameras have a special setting that you can use to store your images in this lossless TIF format.

If your camera does allow you to shoot in the TIF file format, remember that you will need a larger memory card for your camera.

Remember, keep taking lots and lots of photographs of your kids. You will be glad you did!

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

ps: Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter “Real Kids Photography” here!

For example, on the Canon PowerShot SD1200IS Digital Camera there are 2 choices: Normal and Fine. And the file format – JPEG.

Please understand that image quality is quite different from resolution: resolution is a measure of how many pixels are in the image, while image quality determines how much the image will be compressed and, as a result, how much image quality will be sacrificed in the process.

Needless to say, the more the image is compressed the more image quality is sacrificed. My recommendation? Stick with the highest quality setting for your camera. Be sure and check your camera manual and the menu on your camera and choose the highest quality setting for your images. Every camera is a little different, so you may need to do some research to find the best choice for your particular camera.

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