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02-23-2012, 08:44 PM   #1
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Shooting 6 MP JPEGs; am I giving up too much?

Hi All! I suspect I know how the answers will run here, but curious for opinions. I used to shoot RAW with my K100d, but on moving up to the K20d my computer just couldn't handle the files, plus I was running out of hard drive space. So I started shooting JPEGs, and as I had never needed a larger print from the K100d, I set the K20d to 6MP. I would try to remember to use the RAW button when I saw something really good, and would switch to RAW for special projects; but honestly as the noise seemed so much more pronounced I always went back. I really like not having to process every shot, and feel I can do a fair bit of work on JPEGs with FastStone, GIMP, etc. if I have to.

Still, now I have upgraded both my PC and my camera again, this time to a K5. As I went through and adjusted my settings, I again went to 6MP JPEGs. But I have been thinking perhaps I am giving up some of the good for which I bought the K5 in the first place. Any body-specific thoughts on the trade-offs involved?

Thanks, Nick

02-23-2012, 08:56 PM   #2
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If you're happy with the photos, I can't imagine what you're missing. You still get the good high ISO image quality of the K-5, as well as all its other charms as a camera body.
02-23-2012, 09:11 PM   #3
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you're giving up several stops of extra DR (depending on iso), extra room for cropping and tweaking in post. if you can nail your exposure and dont care about all those other bits, then you're probably not missing much
02-23-2012, 09:12 PM   #4
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There have been several threads at PF about trying to minimise the JPEG file sizes. There are basically two methods: (a) reducing the pixel resolution (eg 12 => 6 Mp), and (b) changing the JPEG quality (from 4 stars to 1 star).

With the K-7, I made some simple tests and I read several other threads fo K-7 cameras. The outcome was simple. The method (b) gives the best output for an identical file size. In other words, change first your JPEG settings from 4 down to 1 stars. Then and only then, if you need smaller filesize, consider to reduce the pixel resolution.

I understand that the quality JPEG files drop sharply when the files need to be re-sized from the origial sensor size to a small size: eg from 12 Mp to 6 Mp in your case.

With my K-7, I shoot 14Mp two stars (instead of 4 stars). If I want smaller file, I would switch to 1 star but retain 14 Mp. (The K-7 sensor is 14 Mp resolution.)

Food for thoughts and hope that the comment may help.....

Last edited by hcc; 02-23-2012 at 10:19 PM.
02-23-2012, 09:25 PM   #5
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Unless card capacity is an issue, I would shoot raw + jpeg; and the latter with the quality / size that you're happy with.

I shoot RAW+, just in case I have to do some serious recovery. In general, I'm happy with the (full size highest quality) jpegs of the K5.
02-23-2012, 09:40 PM   #6
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I have always shot highest quality JPEG starting with my *istD and following on with my K10, K7, and K5. Although I should at some point upgrade my 2003 dell desktop as I can see it is slowing down, but it still can manage my files even if I shoot raw occasionally. My issue has always been that if I pay attention while shooting any minor work that I do is managable by modifying jpegs so there is not any point in raw
02-23-2012, 10:56 PM   #7

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I shoot 6 MP jpg images when they will be used only as small web page photos. Otherwise, I shoot RAW.
02-23-2012, 11:31 PM   #8
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My two bob's worth.

You can't increase the quality either in terms of file size or JPEG quality after a photo is captured. You can always go down but never go up. If the difficulty is in file management because of computer performace or disk capacity, then these are the problems to fix if at all possible. Personally I can see little sense in compromising the performance of a high quality camera such as K5 or K7 to compensate for a low performance storage or processing machine. Of course if there are other reasons for shooting lower resolution images with smaller file sizes then fair enough but I prefer to shoot as high as possible then reduce later for a specific need.

02-24-2012, 12:23 AM   #9
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wedding and importances: highest, Jpeg + Raw;

everyday my kids playing in parks: 6mp = no resize right to Facebook

IMHO, when you use your camera, and been taking pictures long enough, you think about composing behind the viewfinder, then press the shutter, usually no major croppings, hence 6mp Jpegs are fine.
02-24-2012, 01:45 AM   #10
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Hard disks are really cheap. Seems like it's logical to buy a bigger one, given the cost of the K5, you can't be totally broke?
02-24-2012, 02:05 AM   #11
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I agree with above, get something like this: Western Digital WD Elements 1 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive WDBAAU0010HBK-NESN: Electronics
$90 for 1terrabyte
or Western Digital WD Elements 2.5 TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive: Electronics
$155 for 2.5 terrabytes

a 1tb one could last you a while...
02-24-2012, 02:45 AM   #12
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I also shoot 6mp jpegs. The camera works faster, the computer works faster. If you don't print big, don't need to crop heavily, don't shoot anything important, what's the problem?

02-24-2012, 03:03 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
Hard disks are really cheap. Seems like it's logical to buy a bigger one, given the cost of the K5, you can't be totally broke?
Sure thing: Hard disk space shouldn't be an issue with current prices. But processing power and RAM may be. I have a "moderately old" (February 2009) dual-core 2GB RAM laptop and I did notice a slow down as I went from K200D to K-5 file sizes. So, disk capacity doesn't do it alone.
02-24-2012, 03:15 AM   #14
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Well I would then also make the choice for 16 megapixel and two star quality. If your pictures are for private use they will be fine. If you only use single shot mode, you still can convert the last picture taken into RAW with the A-EL button.
02-24-2012, 03:20 AM   #15
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eh??? My computer's a single core 2002 laptop and it wizzes along OK.
I just set all the parameters, then click to batch process. Then watch TV or do something else whilst the batch is happening. I'm using Pentax DCU - what's everyone else using that's so slow?

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