I am an amateur (have been for many years) who is trying to take photos of jewelry for poster quality print at A2 size. The image of the jewelry needs to be able to look good at about 1/3 of the size of the poster.

I am trying to work at the highest quality resolution and image size, so have experimented with taking images at the L setting as a high quality jpg, and shooting in RAW.

Issues I am coming up against is that, shooting as high quality jpg, the jpgs are ending up at about 3 or max 4MB and as I need to actually crop into the shot image to isolate the jewelry, that's not good enough resolution.

In RAW, I am having to use the silky pix software to "develop" the RAW files into jpgs. I am not familiar with silkypix, but have ferreted through it and tried to find the options to save at highest resolution - I opted for the photo retouching setting and highest possible quality - and the file is now only 6MB.

I have opted for the TZ100 as I wanted a camera that would hopefully be relatively easy to use - and it comes with a 1inch 20MP sensor... so I thought I would be getting nice big files.

Can anyone suggest a solution? I have read the manual but it doesn't say anywhere how large the files are that you can save at -just three settings, L, M or S for the jpg sizes, or RAW. Have I got the wrong camera?

I have been trying to look online for info on the TZ100 but haven't found any good resources that aren't more than a basic overview or review. I am thinking of looking at a photography course as well, but photographing jewelry is SUCH a tricky thing not many courses focus on this sort of thing.

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    The file size in MB s not an indicator of picture quality. This earlier question treats the relation between image and print size. This question is about jewelery photography.. If you Google "specs tz100" you'll find the actual maximum resolution in pixels (5000 something times ...) – Saaru Lindestøkke Nov 16 '20 at 5:46
  • Working in the English system, A2 is about 16x24 inches or 384 square inches in area. 300 dots per inch is about 10 square inches per megapixel. So an A2 printed at 300 dpi requires about 38 megapixels. That’s out of the “travel zoom” range. – Bob Macaroni McStevens Nov 16 '20 at 6:16
  • On the other hand one advantage of a travel zoom for jewelry photographs is the long end of the zoom allows setting the tripod way back and using the long end of the zoom to get a deeper depth of field. This allows getting more of the piece in acceptable focus. But again a tripod. – Bob Macaroni McStevens Nov 16 '20 at 6:21
  • How many megabytes a photo compresses to is highly dependent upon the content of the scene. Using the same camera at the same resolution and "quality" (i.e. compression) settings to capture a scene with a lot of uniformity in it (think a uniformly lit blank white wall) will compress much smaller than a scene with a lot of diverse colors and brightnesses in it. MBs do not equal MPs. – Michael C Nov 16 '20 at 7:54
  • And A2 poster is looked at from a distance. You don't need to print it at 300DPI. For the same viewing quality the required print definition decreases with viewing distance, and the viewing distance increases as the size of the print, these two even out and so the pixel count is the same for all print sizes. From 12Mpix upwards you should be fine. – xenoid Nov 16 '20 at 8:23

While the Panasonic TZ100 is a capable camera, your expectations of it are too high. It's 20 MP is much better than typical 1/2.3" used in other compact camera but, even at its best, it will have trouble producing an A2-size print.

To maximize image quality from the TZ100:

  • Use ISO 125, which is the native ISO of its sensor and shows the least amount of noise while preserving all the dynamic-range the sensor can capture.
  • Use plenty of light. Since you are in a controlled environment add as much light as you can.
  • Most lens sharpen up when stopped down a little but stopping down too much gets you past the diffraction limit. With that lens, you get the best sharpness at F/5.6 with the lens at its widest. So, get as close to the subject as you can so that you can use a wider focal-length and stop down 2-stops from wide-open.
  • Use a tripod.

Some points for explanation:

  • File size in jpg files is not an indicator for quality of the images. It is just a measure which is influenced by amount of pixels multiplied by the factor how good the image can be compressed. You could e.g. add noise to your image, this would increase file size, but decrease quality.

  • What you are looking for is optical resolution. This is dictated by several factors as well, like optical resolution of the lens (sharpness, correction of aberrations), optical resolution of the sensor (might by limited due to anti aliasing filters), pixel resolution of the sensor (megapixels), and signal to noise ratio of the sensor.

  • Small sensors with high resolution usually have a disadvantage in low light and will produce more ISO noise in low light situations.However, in your case, you are doing product photography, so you could get your scene perfectly lit. So ISO noise should not be a problem. Use the native ISO of you sensor, which is ISO 125 for this camera.

  • The factor that will determine if your images look good is mainly technically limited by the sharpness and optical quality of the lens you are using. As this is not an interchangeable lens, you have to try if it is sufficient.

  • If you are absolutely needing more resolution and your files are of good quality, then you can just increase resolution in photoshop and resharpen a bit. However, there are limits. Some services offer AI-based resolution boosting. However, an image will never be better than the image you start with.

  • If you really want the best possible quality product shots, you WILL have to learn how to develop and correct RAW files and do post processing in an application like photoshop, affinity photo, gimp or similar. And you might get to the point where you come to the conclusion, that the camera is the limiting factor.

  • You will need need good light and a tripod to minimize camera shake. As the camera has no way to drive external flashes, I would recommend daylight balanced LED constant lights of good quality plus softboxes. You might be able to use a light tent to minimize unwanted reflections from your environment.

  • And just to manage your expectations: Usually product photography uses high-end cameras in the price range of about 10x the cost of the camera you are using plus a high-end macro lens. The lighting setup would include several strobes or constant lights, different light formers to produce pleasant light, probably multiple shots of the product that are finally combined and cleaned up in a tedious post production process in Photoshop to get rid of any unwanted reflection. If the object is very small, even dozens of images might be needed to be joined in a process called focus stacking to achieve decent sharpness. This does not mean you cannot get good photos out of a compact camera, but you will run into limits.

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