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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Starting Out...I have bought myself a Panasonic DMC-FZ38 bridge camera to begin with. To date I have been using the auto ...
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Old 13-10-2010, 01:52   #1 (permalink)
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Starting Out

I have bought myself a Panasonic DMC-FZ38 bridge camera to begin with. To date I have been using the auto mode while I get used to the camera. One issue I would like some help with is what Picture Size should I be using for general photography or does it matter. The pics I take are for now your general family shots, the kids playing ball, on hols ect. Some of the pics will end up being printed out on a std 6" x 4" photo and some will reside in a digital photo frame as a slide show. My camera has several options for photo size, 4:3 12M, 4:3 5M, 4:3 3M, 3:2 10.5M and 16:9 9M. What setting should I use for the type of pics I will be taking. I am familar enough with AR to know when to pick 4:3 as against 16:9 but it's the M(egapixels) part I am not so sure of, and as to 3:2 well I think I'll just leave that one alone.
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Old 13-10-2010, 07:32   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Out

There are really two things to consider here. The first is the file size. The more pixels you have in your image the bigger the file size. For display on a screen you only need a low resolution image with a small file size, but for printing, you need a high resolution image which means a large file size. You also will get more images on your memory card if the file size is smaller.

Nowdays memory cards have huge capacities and are cheap, so I'd recommend that you use the largest possible size/resolution. That way if you decide you want to print that shot that you took two years ago in Australia, you won't have to go back to take the hi res shot you will need for printing!

The aspect ratio is a bit more complex. The standard photographic sizes are in the aspect ratio of 5:4. The classic 'whole frame' picture is 10x8 inches (5:4 ratio) as is the 20x16" or the smaller 5x4". You will find that proper photo frames also use the 5:4 ratio.

Modern international paper sizes have a 3:2 ratio. A1, A2, A3, A4, 6x4" etc. as do most screens. Of course images can be cropped to any size/ratio, but it makes sense to use the ratio that you are going to be using the most, and I guess that means 3:2. The 16:9 is a kind of panoramic ratio that is used in movies, but can look good with some landscape shots.
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Old 13-10-2010, 07:36   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Out

Personally, I'd recommend the max size, 12MP, as you can always crop back an image to, say 3:2, but you can't stick non-existent pixels back into a pic

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Old 13-10-2010, 15:31   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Out

If you are going to print pictures if only from a few of the many hundreds you might take then choose your highest settings! If you have no intention of using any of the pictures other than on the computer then a low setting will do, but really if I were you I would choose the highest setting you just never know where you images might finish, I get great pleasure in looking back at some of my old pictures and sometimes I curse at the ones with a low resolution!........
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Old 13-10-2010, 17:18   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Out

Thanks guys, I'm clearer on this now. I was making the mistake of thinking the higher the resolution the bigger the print size. If I'm reading this right it's the AR that has the relationship with the print size and the higher res just means whatever the print size you will get a better quality print using a higher resolution.
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Old 13-10-2010, 19:13   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Starting Out

Yes - the physical size of any prints you might make can be changed independently from the camera, but if you have not captured a hi res image you will not be able to make very big prints.

For instance I have a Nikon D70s, my first dSLR - a 6 megapixel camera. I have a print 30x20" (3:2) from it as I always use the highest possible quality and size. If i had the camera set foe lower file sizes and quality, I doubt that I could have got bigger than a 6x4 print.

Best (in my view) is to use the biggest, highest quality files that will then enable you to do anything at a later stage - even reduce them!
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