What are the optimal settings for a digital camera?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jc0481, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. jc0481 macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2005
    I have a slightly old camera. I have the Canon Powershot A510. It is a 5 megapixel camera and it has a ccd chip in it by the way. I was just wondering what are the best settings to take a picture? I am not looking for amazing shots just casual shots when I go on a vacation, friends and family pictures etc. When I make the picture bigger some of them are really pixelated. I want to look crisp and clean. Should I change the settings for the megapixels or leave it at 5 megapixels? What resolution should I change it to. I will be starting a blog soon and I want people to click on the small picture and get a bigger picture that looks pretty good. On the camera settings it says F (Fine) and SuperFine. Can anybody tell me what that means? Any other settings I am forgetting to mention? I am going to use different mediums such as pictures on a cd, print it out on paper and on my future blog. Can I use just one setting on my camera for all these different scenarios? Thanks

  2. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    There's no easy answer I'd say. There is no optimal setting, it depends completely on the setting. What car is the best? It depends on your needs and the terrain.

    Are you always using automatic mode? What modes does your camera have?
  3. iBallz macrumors 6502


    Dec 31, 2007
    So. Utah
    I've always been told the highest settings possible. Let it do the rest.
  4. disdat macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2005
    New England USA
    Keep it on the highest settings possible. That means superfine and 5 megapixels (whatever the highest resolution is)

    That will give you the best photos for all your scenarios.

    When you say it looks pixelated, are you just zooming in, or are you physically resizing (enlarging) the photo file? If the latter, then that is why. Don't resize your photos larger.

    If your photos look bad zoomed in, then it is probably just the limitations of your camera. Not all Point & Shoots are alike, and some take better and some take worst photos.
  5. Maui macrumors 6502a


    May 18, 2007
    JC: you might have better luck asking this question on a Canon-specific forum. For my Nikon D300, there is a spreadsheet that gets passed around that has all sorts of setting info for different types of shots. It's really helpful.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing exists for your camera, somewhere.
  6. disdat macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2005
    New England USA
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Always shoot in the highest resolution mode. later to can down sample in the computer if required. So in your case that would be "SuperFine". The are dumb names. Canon should have simply used the numeric resolutions measures in pixels.

    As for other setting, they are there so that you can exercise some control over how the image looks.
  8. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    For most Canon cameras, the settings for "Superfine/Fine/normal" refer to the JPEG compression. For the least amount of compression (and best looking pics), use Superfine.

    Resolution is often specified as "L/M1/M2/S" (Large/Medium1/Medium2/Small). Use "Large" for the highest resolution.

    For best results, don't use your Digital zoom either - this throws away pixels. Try to use your optical zoom go get in closer, instead of enlarging the images after the fact.

    Remember that you can't ever enlarge an image without losing resolution. This is often a tough thing for people to understand when you are first starting with images. Enlarging images requires the software to "create" additional detail that isn't there, and that makes pictures look fuzzy, or more pixelated.
  9. tibbon macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2006
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Where? I only have settings for skin-tone that I made up myself, since the D300's default settings are pretty much the worst default settings ever. People look horrid. Sometimes I look at my early D300 JPEGs and think, "Did I really pay that much money for this camera?" The RAW files don't look much better, actually. They usually come out better on JPEG with the settings I have.

    Lots of people seem to be using similar colour settings as me to achieve the same thing, so I guess I'm on the right track. Other than skin-tones, I have no other favourite settings for my D300.

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