View Full Version : Which resolution to select?

03-10-2009, 10:52 AM
It was suggested to me by a local photographer to always shoot at my camera's maximum resolution. This confused me a little as I would think if you know your not going to use the photo at that resolution would a lower resolution not be better because you would need to resize it less?

In a example, let say I was doing a promo shot for my website. The largest photo you would put on a website would probably be no larger than 1000 pixels in width. I would think using my camera's lowest setting, 2.5MP, would be the best because I would only need to resize it a little when compared to the maximum, 10.2MP.

The reason he gave me for always using the maximum resolution did make sense and that was because it is much easier, and better, to shrink a picture than it is to enlarge a picture when resizing. So, he likes to keep all his photos very large just in case, but is this a good enough reason to always shoot at maximum?

I'm very new to photography and I am use to cameras with only 2 or 4 MP, not to mention this huge 10.2 I have now. Any suggestions, ideas, or thoughts about this would be greatly appreciated. I would like to know if this is a common suggestion everyone gives.

03-10-2009, 12:06 PM
"Resolution" as applied to digital photography is a cofusing and often mis-used term. I think what you're referring to here is the quality of the image (Often referred to as "High", Medium" or "Large", "Fine" etc). As a rule, yes, you should always shoot at the highest quality your camera can produce because, as you can always reduce it, but if it's not there to begin with, you can't make it up.

Strictly speaking, resolution refers to the number of pixels (when talking about screen resolution, also known as PPI or pixels per inch) or dots of ink (when referring to printer resolution, "dpi"). As a general rule of thumb, 75ppi is fine for web-quality and for printing, look to 300 dpi.

Mad Aussie
03-11-2009, 03:45 AM
I can see what Scott is saying here.

If he really is certain that his photo will never be needed as a larger image (physical size not print output) then surely setting his camera to 'fine' and the resolution he needs will still provide a perfectly good image but he won't have to re size it.

I would have to say the theory is a simple 'Yes'.

I've never tested the theory though as I've always shot in the highest res I can because I never know when I'll use the image and how.

03-11-2009, 06:36 AM
It would be a real shame to have an absolutely wonderful image that can only be printed at 5x7 because it falls apart any larger. Memory is cheap, hair implants are expensive after you've torn your own out :D

03-11-2009, 06:54 AM
I'm just echoing what's already been said but I feel the burning desire to jump in and add my :twocents:

Your original plan may be to use that photo for a web site but what if that photo then needs to be included in a printed ad. For print you would want the highest quality possible and if you didn't get all that detail in the original photo then you can't create it. It is very easy to throw away pixels you don't need but it's very, very hard to create ones that aren't there.

And also, disk space is pretty cheap. I saw an ad yesterday for a 1.5TB drive for $160 (Canadian) so by a new hard drive and shoot away.

I was actually wondering why cameras bother with the ability to reduce the quality of the shot you want to take. With 8GB and 16GB SD cards selling for $20 - $40 it makes little sense to shoot at a low resolution.

03-11-2009, 10:02 AM
Thank you everybody for your input. You all said the same thing the local photographer said and I plan on going by that advice and only shoot at the highest setting, which is 10.2MP for my camera.