Uncrapping a Digicam

The object of today's exercise

The object of today's exercise


Got a Nikon CoolPix S1100PJ digicam yesterday. I confess, it was for the gadget factor. Unfortunately, the built-in pico-projector doesn’t work on Mac OS X Lion. Nikon has promised to look into it. The projector works for slideshows straight from the camera’s SD-card, though, and that is kind of nifty.
But what about the camera qualities of this, well … camera? In the default settings, image quality is crap (by the way: all images in this post can be clicked for large versions):
Let's call this rendition of the berries and the leaves "painterly", shall we?

Let's call this rendition of the berries and the leaves "painterly", shall we?


See those JPEG compression artifacts at the limit of the sensor’s resolution? That’s what you get when you cram 14 megapixel on a sensor smaller than your pinkie’s nail.
But…
There’s no substitute for actually reading the manual. It states that the default JPEG compression is 1:8. Again, this gives results like these:
A detail from my Dinky's pickup

A detail from my Dinky's pickup


And this is a photo with flash on the lowest ISO (80). Setting the JPEG compression to 1:4 improves image quality quite a bit:
Dust particles and details on the pickup's magnet poles stand out in more contrast

Dust particles and details on the pickup's magnet poles stand out in more contrast


Of course, you can always overcook things. Applying Nik Software’s Color Efex “Local Contrast” filter to the 1:4 compressed JPEGs gives you this:
Poor Seymour Duncan being attacked by JPEG gnats!

Poor Seymour Duncan being attacked by JPEG gnats!


On the one hand, you now can see details in the strings (and even bits of my fingertips on them!). On the other hand, the script on the pickup is starting to break up. The ideal version for viewing on the monitor would be somewhere in between the last two, though I wouldn’t hesitate to print the last version.
If these ramblings have a kind of “take-home-message” it is this: delve into your digicam’s settings and see if you can find a way to increase the image quality. If you can’t go RAW, decrease JPEG compression!

Flattr this

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: