Controlling Picture Quality

In This Chapter

Reviewing factors that lead to poor photo quality

Exploring resolution, pixels, and ppi

Calculating the right resolution for traditional print sizes

Understanding the tradeoff between picture quality and file size

Deciding on the best file format: JPEG or Raw?

Picking the right JPEG quality level

A\ lmost every review of the Rebel T1i/500D contains glowing reports ¥ • about the camera's top-notch picture quality. As you've no doubt dis covered for yourself, those claims are true, too: This baby can create large, beautiful images.

Getting the maximum output from your camera, however, depends on choosing the right capture settings. Chief among them, and the topic of this chapter, is the appropriately named Quality setting. This critical control determines two important aspects of your pictures: resolution, or pixel count; and file format, which refers to the type of computer file the camera uses to store your picture data.

Resolution and file format both play a large role in the quality of your photos, so selecting from the eight Quality settings on your camera is an important decision. Why not just dial in the setting that produces the maximum quality level and be done with it? Well, that's the right choice for some photographers. But because choosing that maximum setting has some disadvantages, you may find that stepping down a notch or two on the quality scale is a better option, at least for some pictures.

To help you figure out which Quality setting meets your needs, this chapter explains exactly how resolution and file format affect your pictures. Just in case you're having quality problems related to other issues, though, the first section of the chapter provides a handy quality-defect diagnosis guide.

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