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Does it give higher quality to shoot in low-res mode in-camera, or to downsize high-res photos later?

I want my final image to be stored at 1MP and I want it to be in the best quality as possible. I was thinking if I shoot at 3MP then resize it down to 1MP (using a PC software like FastStone Photo Resizer, etc), will I achieve a better photo quality vs simply shooting at 1MP?

Note that I tested this theory but since my eye isn't so good at telling the difference I was wondering what experts say.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you mean megaBYTES as opposed to megaPIXELS because it's been a long time since I've seen a 3 megapixel camera... \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    May 13, 2012 at 13:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ JoanneC: MP as in Megapixels. My D40 allows me to have 1, 3, 6MP. \$\endgroup\$
    – IMB
    May 13, 2012 at 13:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Cool, I just wanted to make sure. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    May 13, 2012 at 13:25

1 Answer 1


As a rule of thumb, it is always recommended to let the hardware and software of the camera do only the indispensable (that is, recording your image) and leave all the manipulations (raw -> jpg conversion, for example) for later, while off-line.

In the case of resizing, resampling, cropping and what else, your computer can unleash much greater computational power (and possibly better algorithms), without the constraint of "having to be fast to shoot the next photo".

So to achieve better image quality I would ask my camera to do the only part of the job that it must do, and proceed to resize via computer later. You also have the advantage of having more information to start with, which you cannot recreate if you didn't save it at the moment of the capture.


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