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Photo 101 : Resolution & Compression < Previous
DSLR cameras let you set the resolution of the images to suit various purposes. For example, you may want to shoot at the highest resolution if you want to print your images. Or you may want to select a low resolution to keep the file sizes small if all you wanted was to view the images on the screen. Setting the image size to “Large” gives you the highest resolution, and “Small” gives you the lowest resolution.

For our intent and purpose, I urge you to always set the image size to “Large”. You should always shoot at the highest resolution so you can always have the flexibility to print or edit your photos. A small file size or low-resolution file restricts what you can do with it, and you can’t enlarge a low-resolution photo or you will end up with pixilation of the image.

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close-up of a pixilated image
The other image setting is compression – where it determines how compact a file size can be, given that the resolution is not compromised. This applies for JPEG images where compression is performed by the camera before saving the image onto the memory card. Selecting a high compression ratio lets you store more images onto the memory card, but at the expense of image quality. High compression JPEG images loses fine details when enlarged, so I’d advice setting the compression setting to the lowest.

Memory cards today are very affordable, so always set your file size/resolution to the highest, and set the compression settings to the lowest.

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You’re now a qualified DSLR photographer!
That’s it – you’ve now mastered the basics of using a DSLR! It wasn’t that difficult, was it? The theory of exposure might sound a bit complex, but as you bring your camera out to shoot, observe the relationship between aperture and shutter speeds and you’d understand the theory very quickly.

It’s important that you keep shooting with your DSLR in the initial stage to familiarize yourself with the settings, and that you do not forget the theory. Otherwise, you’d just end up with a huge and over-glorified point-and-shoot camera. Have fun with photography, and read the rest of the web site for more articles to improve your skills!
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