Note JPEG Compression Can Be Great

Just because JPEG compression is lossy doesn't mean thatyou should avoid it. Limited compression can be visually imperceptible in most situations, and the resulting smaller file is quite valuable in terms of saved time, easier sharing, and reduced storage needs.

BALANCING JPEG COMPRESSION WITH IMAGE QUALITY

The trick is to balance image quality and file size according to the scene, the subject, and what you plan to do with your photos. Here are some guidelines to help you make intelligent choices about compression settings:

■ When you want the absolutely highest image quality, and your camera doesn't offer TIFF or RAW formats, shoot at the lowest (least) compression settings.

When you simply need to document a visual fact or occurrence, and the small details aren't important, higher compression settings save you time and space.

If the subject you are photographing has lots of little details that could be easily lost, use lower compression settings.

If the scene consists primarily of large homogenous areas of solid color, higher compression settings won't impact image quality as much.

If you plan to make large prints of your photos, choose lower compression settings.

If your prints will be small, or if you will be displaying only small photos on a computer screen, use a medium to high compression setting, depending on how much detail you need to show.

If you need to magnify or enlarge portions of your photo, use lower compression settings.

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