What camera settings for image quality?

I'm hoping someone can recommend what camera picture quality setting to use for posting photos. I upload to Photobucket.

My camera is an automatic one (10mp Fuji Finepix z33wp) It also has a "Manual Mode" where there are a limited number of additional adjustments.

The options for Image Quality are:

10M F (789 frames) (Highest quality)
10M N (1568)
9M (3:2) (1758)
5M (3052)
3M (4805)
2M (5992)
03M (25546) (Suited to e-mail or the web)

I understand 03M would upload faster and use less bandwidth, but would the quality of the photos be better if I used a higher setting, especially for close-up shots?

I would probably use the 03M setting if I was to want to use the photos directly for forum posting and not using any image editing software.

You also need to decide on a maximum image size, length x width, as well as the quality settings.

I often use an image size of 640 x 480 for web forum posts. The file size varies from about 20 KB to 40 KB the way I save them from Photoshop where I edit. They load fast and have enough detail for normal display viewing, IMO.

Look here to see some and check if the quality suits you.

For high quality desktop or mobile phone viewing, under 400kb for single jpeg photo with 1200px width (long edge) is quite sufficient.

Thanks MtnDon.Yes the photos in your link look fine to me, So if I understand correctly 640x480 (03M) will display pictures in high quality on a computer screen …and the higher settings would mainly be used for better quality paper prints?

(Sorry, I’m not very knowledgeable in digital photography)

Thanks freeme, The lowest camera setting (3M) is 640x480, those photo files average around 130-140kb, so I would get a bit higher quality image if I moved up to a setting nearer 1200x width? Or is 640x480 good enough? (sorry I’m so camera dumb!)

Most modern screens, especially wide LCD screens will do 1920 or more pixels, so the old 640x480, for the most part, is years outdated. If you want clear and sharp photos, then take them at high resolution and resize them down to 800x600 or around there, at least 800x600. I would shoot at the least, at the 5M, which means 5 megapixel, setting or above and then resize or crop the photos. If you do not expect to learn to resize or crop or adjust photos, then you probably can just use the smallest setting and get what you get, since part of taking digital photos is really learning how to adjust them for the best photo output. It is just like we always used to let someone else do our film for us, but now we either have to learn to do it ourselves, or just accept what we get.

Just my opinion.

EDIT: @ MtnDon, I can hardly see your tiny photos, LOL. With my 27" screen, they look so small I just have to guess at them. I have to increase the zoom of my browser to see them halfway clearly. I know, lots of people don't use the big screens, but really most newer PCs do use them. Of course there's the tablet and phone crowd, but I don't figure any of them know what a quality photo would be, since the screens are so small that photos are more like icons, so it does not matter the quality.

Note, disclaimer, whatever… I have composed and maintained my own company website for over 20 years. I only do this for myself; I’m not what I would call an expert but have formed some opinions over many years. Web page images are a compromise, a balance between quality of the images presented vs the bandwidth used and speed of loading images. Not everyone has fast, fast broadband. I have a couple friends here in the mtns who still use dialup. Three percent of users nationwide in the USA are still on dialup. That has been a stable figure since about 2011. One friend struggles within the confines of the allowable data (before everything slows to a dial up like crawl) with the satellite service he uses. And others, like myself who use cell phone data when I’m up here. Bandwidth matters when the user falls into one of those categories. So I tend to look at the bandwidth used when I use images; and use images with as small a file size as I can.

The last time I looked (about 2 months ago) the most common screen resolution in use was still 1366 x 768 at about 33% of the users. That was followed by 1920x1080 at something like 18% of the users. After that the screen resolutions become smaller with 1280x800 coming in at about 8% of users. I believe it was only 2 to 3% of users with a resolution greater than 1920x1080.

A couple of years ago the number of mobile device users surpassed desktop systems. Worldwide by 2017 over 60% of users are expected to be using mobile devices with a large number being phones. In the USA 75% of smartphone owners use them to access internet sites.

I use a 1920x1080, 17” laptop as my prime machine at home. My 640x480 images appear at approximately real size with that display resolution and the browser at almost full screen. For me that works well. That is my take on the web image thing; big isn’t always better. That said, we all choose to do what suits us best.

Although if I used a desktop as my primary machine I’d probably hook it up to a 70” 4K flatscreen. My son uses one for games. Impressive. But a small % of users.

I’d probably use the 10M N. Photobucket will create downsampled versions for you and use those for forum posts. I wouldn’t worry about the extra size unless I was uploading a lot of photos over a slow connection.

Mtn, freeme, OL: thanks for the replies and help, so I see there are a lot of factors at play here, I’m getting answers across the board. Mtn yes bandwidth may be a concern right now since my home service provider is Verizon through my cell phone, (4g cellular mobile hotspot feeding a laptop)

When I uploaded to photobucket a 7mp (3072x2034) photo seemed to take about the same time to upload as the same photo in VGA (640x480)

I used my Sony Cyber-shot for these (7mp) because the battery on my 10mp Fuji is on charge.
Here’s the photos both set to 90% width in the editor:

First the VGA (640x480):


And here’s the 7m (3072x2034):

I’m viewing in a 17.3” HD+ laptop screen both photos are the same size and the VGA is acceptable, but the 7m does look a good bit sharper. I like the 7m.

So I’m curious what they look like to you guys, and OL’s 27”

Try and take a pic with highest resolution and resize it to smaller resolution in post. Yes, you will need imaging software to achieve that. If you can't get the DOF (depth of field) right, try to move you camera away from the object and crop the photo in software. It is easier to get sharp images with wider shots.

On most point and shoot camera’s, the pixel size on the sensor is usually considerably smaller that the optical resolution in the camera’s optical system. This is true until you get image sensors larger than 1 inch (the 35mm full frame and APS-C size sensors do not have this problem), and in fact in most situations with point and shoot cameras the optical system typically limits resolution to between 4 and 8 mp due to the Dawes limit on resolution, camera ‘shake’, and limitations in the accuracy of the auto focus system.

So unless you are using a camera with a larger image sensor, there is little, if anything to be gained from images with more than 4 mega pixels. Unfortunately the highest resolutions will occur with the smallest f-number, which also translates into the setting with least ‘depth-of-field’. This is one reason many higher end cameras will utilize an ND filter rather than stop down the lens to very small apertures. The compression of the image by JPEG further degrades image resolution. By comparision a full frame 35mm Kodachrome® Transparency from a film camera is on the order of 6mp, which is usually limited by the grain size in the film, and Kodachrome had the smallest grain of all the transparency films.

The 7mp appears a little better than the VGA on my display. But very little apparent difference, probably in part because of out of focus areas. I find it invaluable to have image editing software so I can do things like the suggested back off, to get better depth of field, shoot at a higher resolution, then edit and “save for web”.

Thanks I’ll try that as well, I was using the “macro” setting for close-up shots.

I have a paint shop pro photo2 disk that came with the Fuji, but I can crop and resize with the editor in microsoft office, what size should I resize to for posting?

I can also resize by percentage in the BLF editor, but your saying to use imaging software instead? The editor in photobucket can resize too.

BTW your photos are some of the best I’ve seen on here!

Thanks for the explanation, both of my cameras have a 3m and 5m setting, I’ll try the 5m vs the 10m next

I hate to be contrarian but what you taking pic of in the first place. I have a couple of DSLR's and a few lenses. The pixel ratings are largely to sell cameras not take good photos. The biggest limitation of most point and shoot cameras are lighting. So you are for example using a point and shoot to take a pic of flashlights use a cheap light box and it will like a pro took the picture. or get some cheap external lights. do not ever use the flash built into the camera (say suck).

Flashlights (see pill/driver example photo above) Also trying some beamshots but that’s not working out so well.

I’ll have to look into that (lightbox) since I don’t know what that is. I never use the flash for these, I’ve been taking the photos outdoors but not in direct sunlight, the pill/driver example photo was taken outdoors.

beam shot with a point and shoot will be tough. Just shoot outside early in the morning before the sun gets too high in the sky. You are correct to avoid direct light. You can also take pics with highest resolution and adjust them later in light room or other editing program.

OK this was taken at highest resolution and then resized in the Microsoft editor (then set to 90% in BLF editor)

Resized smaller (1299x922):

Full size as taken (3072x2304) (not resized in software, but also set to 90% on BLF editor):

I can’t see any difference, but I’m pretty happy with this example for the most part.

I usually do everything with my (heavily optimized) smartphone. With it I can swiftly do anything in the past I would have required my laptop/desktop computer for.

Take a look at these images (you should be able to open them on a new window for their full resolution):

Original resolution: 1280×720

That image says it all…

Original resolution: 2592×1944, which is the maximum this smartphone can do. Good to know what mattheww said about the limits of the optical system.

Sometimes I crop out and/or edit my photographs to emphasize whatever it is my intention to.

Cheers ^:)

I’ve never understood why there has to be different options for image quality in the camera. Memory is cheap so you should always use the highest possible quality available so there’s more leeway in post processing. RAW format preferred.

So I should try beamshots at early sunrise? Thanks I’ll try that. Interesting, I thought it had to be total darkness for those.