Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Changing image format and size, part of Learning the Canon 6D.
Your camera can record images at different quality and size settings. These determine how much space each photo takes up on the memory card, as well as what type of edits and outputs can be made later. Most of the time, I choose to shoot at a maximum quality, and I recommend that you do, too. You can always make a large photo smaller, but you can't really take a small photo and blow it up. Not without a significant loss in quality. But perhaps you're running low on memory card space and you need to save room. Or maybe you're shooting a time-lapse sequence and you want to capture a lot of images to a single card.
To change modes, press the Menu button, and choose Image quality from page one of the shooting menu. There are eight different JPEG quality settings. Additionally, there are three RAW image quality settings. Select image quality, and press the set button to modify it. If you chose something from both the RAW and JPEG setting, you will be shooting RAW plus JPEG. As you make changes to the image quality, you'll see that the megapixels will update. You'll also see that the total number of images that you can store on a card will change with each format and size.
Remember, your camera has two different types of files it can record. The RAW file stores all of the raw data from the image sensor. This file is typically an extension of CR two, and this type of file is generally much larger but offers significant benefit during the editing stage. With RAW files, as these are often called, you can easily adjust things like white balance and contrast after shooting. Canon does offer three different RAW sizes. A standard, medium, and small RAW. These two smaller formats will take up less space, but still capture RAW data.
And this will increase the burst shooting speed, and allow you to put a little bit more onto the same card. If you really need a small file, then you could shoot for JPEG, and these are optimized for sharing over the Web or transferring via email. JPEG's a very popular format that's been around for a long time. These files use a lot less storage space than RAW files, but they don't give you the same flexibility for editing. For example, if you were to take a JPEG file into photo editing software, like Photoshop or Lightroom, and you start to adjust the brightness or the color balance, you're going to start to see a lot of distortion and artifacts very quickly.
On the other hand, with the RAW file, there's a tremendous amount of data that can be manipulated. With JPEG, your Canon camera offers eight different sizes. Remember, each JPEG file is compressed, meaning it discards away information in order to get the file size smaller. The more you shrink the file down, the more you compress it, the more the image is visibly degraded. I usually avoid shooting JPEG and stick to RAW for the best, most professional results. I find that storage has gotten pretty cheap these days and I like to capture the best images possible.
If I need a JPEG in order to post to the web or a photo sharing site, I'll generally make it with my image editing software, and this tends to be a really optimized file that I can precisely control. However, if you do need the best of both worlds, you can shoot both a RAW and a JPEG file simultaneously on your camera.
- Taking shots in Auto mode
- Using special scene modes
- Changing image format and size
- Changing ISO
- Adjusting exposure compensation in Program Exposure mode
- Focusing manually or with autofocus
- Changing the shutter release mode
- Adjusting exposure in the 6D
- Shooting video