A reader asks:
Do you have any suggestions for camera settings as far as size of file goes? I see that when I change from "Superfine" to "Fine," I can take almost twice as many pictures; the number doubles again when I switch to "Normal".
Have you ever tested to see if there is big difference between the settings?
The Canon S1iS provides three "quality" settings, which you find in the Func menu: Press Func, scroll down to resolution (L M1 M2 S), and then press Set. (Other cameras also provide a variety of quality settings."
The quality settings actually refer to the amount of compression applied to the JPEG files that record images. You can see how quality (compression) trades off with filesize (number of pictures that can be stored on a memory card):
* More quality means less compression.
* Less compression means larger JPEG files.
* Larger JPEG files means fewer images per memory card.
I currently have a 96MB memory card in my S1 camera. As I change the quality setting, the number of pictures changes:
Lowest Quality = Normal = 205 pictures = approx 0.3MB per JPEG file
Medium Quality = Fine = 103 pictures = approx. 0.9 per JPEG file
Highest Quality = Superfine = 57 pictures = approx. 1.7MB per JPEG file
(The number of photos and their filesizes are just estimates; the actual filesize depends on the content of the pictures. More details, such as leaves and branches, results in larger files; more blank areas, such as night photos, results in smaller files.)
Some cameras, such as the Canon G-series, also have a RAW mode, which does not compress the data at all. This results in the highest quality image the camera is capable of capturing. In practice, most photo editing and viewing software does not recognize RAW mode, and so it is useless for the everyday picture taker.
Which Quality Setting to Use?
I've taken test photos at all three quality settings, and found that Normal is so good that I use it all the time. I have found that resolution and ISO (ASA) are more important than the quality setting, so I use the highest resolution setting (2048x1536) and the lowest ISO setting (50).
There are two occasions when Superfine is recommended: when taking Stitch photos and when using digital zoom. In Stitch mode, the S1 automatically switches to Superfine mode.