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I have a Samsung S1050 camera. There are three quality settings - Super Fine, Fine and Normal, which I believe relates to the JPEG compression level. I have mainly used Fine in the past, but wonder if I should be using Super Fine instead. All images are taken at the maximum supported resolution (10 megapixels).

As a test, I tried taking an (almost) identical photo in both modes (Super Fine and Fine) to compare. I found that there was no noticeable difference when looking normally at the photo on my monitor between the Super Fine and Fine in this case. However, when I compared both images with FastStone Image Viewer and zoomed up to the pixel level, I may notice slightly more "dithering" around objects, but it is very subtle. The Super Fine photo was 4.8MB in size, whereas the Fine was only 2.43MB. So is it worth nearly doubling file size by upping the quality setting? I like to be able to archive my photos onto DVD-R, so smaller file size is an advantage.

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marked as duplicate by mattdm, Matt Grum, Paul Cezanne, John Cavan, MikeW Feb 13 '13 at 17:32

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
Indeed the setting relates to the JPEG compression level. On a side note, Samsung states that on average, a 10MP SuperFine image will be 4.3MB, while a 10 MP Fine image 3.1 MB (user manual p. 75). –  akid Feb 13 '13 at 12:47
    
The question I marked as duplicate is for Pentax, but I think the same basic answer applies. (The exact compression levels may be different but the concepts are the same. And I have some nice example images showing the practical differences.) –  mattdm Feb 13 '13 at 13:03
    
There is one important difference between the questions and perhaps you want to reword them to show it. The Pentax answer uses RAW as a safety net, so maximum quality is always available, while a Samsung S1050 does not. –  Itai Feb 13 '13 at 13:10
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@JohnCavan - You found the right duplicate question but the answers take on some wild tangents. Not sure what we should do in this case for the asker and future readers to get clear answers? –  Itai Feb 13 '13 at 15:12
    
@Itai - Good point, I think the mods may need to do something. –  John Cavan Feb 13 '13 at 16:12

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

On any camera, I recommend using the highest quality because most people never know what they will end up doing with the photo before shooting.

If you are certain you wont make large prints, then go ahead and reduce it by one. As you said, the reduction in quality is small and not noticeable until seen very large.

If storage is the problem, then you can always shoot at full-quality and reduce it in the archival step. There are plenty of tools to do this. My favorite is nconvert which you simply pass it the desired quality. You run it in a simple script to do it on plenty of files which xnview can do for you. This will give you the opportunity to spare your favorite images.

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I've decided to use the Super Fine setting from now onwards. I can still fit a lot of Super Fine images onto a DVD-R without reducing. –  Goto10 Feb 13 '13 at 18:30

Personally, my philosophy is that storage is dirt cheap, so I always shoot the highest available quality (preferably RAW). The only exception to this is if I need to be able to do continuous high speed shooting that makes the highest quality setting have to buffer. There is nothing worse than having a photo come out in a way that you really love it, but then realize that you shot it on a low quality setting and can't use it the way you want.

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Here is my philosophy. When I'm picturing just to record/picture something, for example some building or something else, which is not important, I always use low picture settings. In your case I would use Normal settings. But when I try to picture something which will be post-processed and printed in big format or something else, I always use high picture quality. In this way, you are saving your space. Let's say you take one Normal picture (2MB), and Supper fine picture (5MB). Average usage is 3.5MB. If we used only Supper fine picture size, average usage would be 5MB. If we used only Normal picture size, average memory usage would be 2MB. This is very simplified but I think you get the point.

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I see no advantage to this unless you are somehow very limited on storage space in the camera. That is rarely the case these days. For example, with my camera I can store 1100 frames at the highest resolution and quality level on a single card, and the camera holds two. There is no way I'm going to shoot that many frames without a opportunity to off-load data to a computer. If I don't like something, I can always delete it later, but I can't go the other way. –  Olin Lathrop Feb 13 '13 at 15:09
    
Let's add some videos, what then? If you are on the trip of 10 days, 1100 shots is not so much for 10 days (110 shots per day) sometimes is little. That's my technique and it helps me a lot, I don't say it is the best, but it can help :) –  D4Am Feb 17 '13 at 11:32

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