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Image format and size

From: Shooting with the Canon Rebel T3i (600D and Kiss X5)

Video: Image format and size

By default, your camera shoots in JPEG format. Established by the Joint Photographic Experts Group, JPEG is a compressed image format. That is, it takes the original image data that your camera captures and it crunches it down so that it takes up far less storage. JPEG compression is a lossy compression scheme. That is, there is a loss of quality when JPEG compression is applied to an image. The more compression you apply, the more your image is visibly degraded. Most cameras give you a few different JPEG conversion choices.

Image format and size

By default, your camera shoots in JPEG format. Established by the Joint Photographic Experts Group, JPEG is a compressed image format. That is, it takes the original image data that your camera captures and it crunches it down so that it takes up far less storage. JPEG compression is a lossy compression scheme. That is, there is a loss of quality when JPEG compression is applied to an image. The more compression you apply, the more your image is visibly degraded. Most cameras give you a few different JPEG conversion choices.

Some compress more than others and therefore degrade your image more than others. Your camera also captures a certain number of pixels. When shooting JPEG images, most cameras give you the choice of shooting at lower pixel counts in addition to the full-pixel extravaganza. So you might be able to save an image that's only half-size. This is another way of saving space on your storage card. Finally, some cameras also give you the option to shoot in RAW mode, a non-compressed format that offers a lot of editing advantages over JPEG.

To change file formats, I hit menu button to go in to my menuing system. Very first menu, very first item is Quality, Image Quality, because the format I choose has a large bearing on the quality of my final image. You can see that I am set to Large JPEG and I think this little icon is going to make a little more sense to you when you see what our options are. L refers to the size of the image and right now, I am at an 18 Megapixel image with 5184x3456 pixels. I can fit approximately 431 of those onto the space on my card.

There's this curve here that's very smooth. That indicates that I'm at the best level of JPEG compression. If I go over here, I still have an L so I'm getting the same pixel dimensions, but now that curve has gotten kind of chunky. That indicates that I'm not at such a good level of JPEG compression. But look at my image count. Even though my pixel dimensions have stayed the same, my image count has gone from 431 to 863. So I'm getting dramatically more images with the lower quality compression. I've also got two sets of Ms. This is Medium size, 8 Megapixels, basically 3000x2000 approximately, and I have got two level of JPEG settings there.

And at that setting I'm up to a count of 1700 images. Then I have two S1s. This is a 4.5 Megapixel image and I have got two JPEG settings there. Then I have S2 which is a 2.5 Megapixel image. I don't have JPEG choices here. I can just go there and get a tremendous number of images. Then I have got S3 which is a third of a Megapixel. This is 720x480, so this is kind of a standard video size. Then I have these two options out here, RAW + High-Quality JPEG.

So when I am in this mode, I'm going to shoot a RAW image plus my best-quality JPEG. I only get 96 of those on the card. It's going to write both files out separately, and that's going to take a while. So when I am shooting RAW + JPEG, my buffer is going to fill up faster. It's going to take longer for it to clear out. I'm possibly not going to be able to burst as quickly or as often. Or, I've got just a straight RAW file. This is the same RAW file that would be written here, but there's no accompanying JPEG. So those are my different settings. I'm going to go back here to Best-Quality JPEG for now and hit OK and my quality is set.

If you're shooting JPEGs, my recommendation is to always shoot at full pixel count with the very best quality that your camera can manage. Storage is real cheap these days, so there is little reason to try to save space on a card. If you're finding you're running out of space during a typical shoot, then invest in some more media cards. But if you're in the field and storage is running low and buying another card isn't an option and you absolutely need to cram more images onto your card, then you should change your JPEG settings, or your image size, ideally not both.

If your images are destined for print, then be sure that you don't lower the pixel count below what you need to get the print size that you want. Maybe go down to half size and one stop down in JPEG quality. If your images are destined for online viewing, then you can cut the pixel count dramatically and probably not need to increase JPEG compression and that will preserve more quality. Mostly though, I would recommend shooting RAW. You get tremendous postproduction and image quality advantages if you leave JPEG behind and become a RAW shooter.

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This video is part of

Image for Shooting with the Canon Rebel T3i (600D and Kiss X5)
Shooting with the Canon Rebel T3i (600D and Kiss X5)

88 video lessons · 21053 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 5m 59s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. What is an SLR?
      2m 39s
    3. How to use this course
      1m 53s
  2. 22m 33s
    1. Basic camera anatomy
      2m 39s
    2. Attaching a lens to your camera
      2m 36s
    3. Batteries and media cards
      2m 44s
    4. Powering up
      2m 38s
    5. Menu navigation and factory defaults
      4m 1s
    6. Setting the date and time
      1m 31s
    7. Setting the language
      1m 7s
    8. Formatting the media card
      2m 48s
    9. Holding the camera
      2m 29s
  3. 21m 23s
    1. Setting Auto mode
      4m 14s
    2. The viewfinder display
      5m 31s
    3. The LCD screen
      2m 15s
    4. Autofocus basics
      2m 38s
    5. Lens controls
      1m 17s
    6. Flash in Auto mode
      1m 26s
    7. Image review
      2m 28s
    8. Image playback
      1m 34s
  4. 21m 14s
    1. What Program mode does
      1m 57s
    2. Exposure compensation
      2m 15s
    3. Metering revisited
      1m 57s
    4. Changing ISO
      2m 51s
    5. Program shift
      2m 30s
    6. Image format and size
      4m 21s
    7. Creative Auto mode
      2m 20s
    8. The Info button
      1m 17s
    9. The Quick Control button
      1m 46s
  5. 6m 21s
    1. Manually selecting a focus point
      2m 33s
    2. Focus modes
      1m 19s
    3. Manual focus
      2m 29s
  6. 7m 30s
    1. Auto white balance
      1m 54s
    2. White balance presets
      2m 7s
    3. Manual white balance
      3m 29s
  7. 8m 56s
    1. Drive mode
      3m 16s
    2. The self-timer
      2m 19s
    3. Remote controls and Bulb mode
      3m 21s
  8. 19m 38s
    1. Metering modes
      2m 19s
    2. Exposure lock
      56s
    3. Aperture Priority mode
      2m 50s
    4. Depth-of-field preview
      2m 11s
    5. Shutter Priority mode
      2m 23s
    6. Manual mode
      2m 46s
    7. Auto exposure bracketing
      2m 34s
    8. Auto lighting optimizer
      1m 59s
    9. Peripheral illumination correction
      1m 40s
  9. 18m 0s
    1. Metadata display
      3m 2s
    2. LCD brightness
      52s
    3. Rotation
      1m 4s
    4. Rating images
      1m 43s
    5. Applying creative filters
      2m 6s
    6. Protecting and deleting images
      3m 26s
    7. File numbering options
      2m 51s
    8. Creating folders
      48s
    9. Copyright information
      2m 8s
  10. 4m 55s
    1. What is a scene mode?
      1m 8s
    2. Scene modes and image formats
      3m 47s
  11. 6m 34s
    1. Fill flash
      1m 2s
    2. Flash exposure compensation
      1m 52s
    3. Red-eye reduction
      1m 36s
    4. Night Portrait scene mode
      2m 4s
  12. 6m 59s
    1. Picture styles defined
      2m 7s
    2. Selecting a picture style
      1m 38s
    3. Adjusting predefined styles
      2m 20s
    4. Monochrome picture styles
      54s
  13. 13m 53s
    1. Activating Live view
      4m 42s
    2. Focusing in Live view
      5m 31s
    3. Aspect ratio
      1m 35s
    4. Live view's drawbacks
      2m 5s
  14. 12m 55s
    1. Configuring and activating video
      5m 17s
    2. Focusing
      4m 6s
    3. Exposure control
      2m 11s
    4. Movie playback
      1m 21s
  15. 15m 6s
    1. Custom menus
      2m 11s
    2. Custom functions
      1m 31s
    3. Exposure level increments
      1m 0s
    4. ISO expansion
      1m 8s
    5. Long exposure noise reduction
      1m 9s
    6. High ISO speed noise reduction
      1m 46s
    7. Highlight tone priority
      1m 53s
    8. AF-assist beam firing
      56s
    9. Mirror lockup
      1m 17s
    10. Shutter/AE Lock button
      2m 15s
  16. 4m 37s
    1. Camera and sensor cleaning
      1m 4s
    2. Operating conditions and temperatures
      2m 9s
    3. Firmware updates
      1m 24s
  17. 23s
    1. Goodbye
      23s

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