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Photography Tutorial - Image Compression

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Most digital cameras have a one of their menu options, a setting to adjust picture quality. In most cases the image quality setting will be near the top of the menu along with image size, and the choices will be something along the lines of Basic, Normal and Fine. If you've played with this setting you've probably noticed that the most immediately noticeable difference is the number of pictures you can fit on your memory card. The reason is that higher quality settings produce larger file sizes, that is more megabytes of data. In most cases Normal will give you twice as many shots as Fine, and Basic with give you twice as many as Normal. In other words Normal files are twice the size of Basic, and Fine files are twice the size of normal. Since the actual physical size of the image in terms of pixels remains the same in all three settings, how can the size of the file change? The answer is file compression, and in digital cameras that means the JPEG file format.

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