When I use the "auto" mode, my pictures are best printed at a small size, only 4" x 6". The disposition button tells me the resolution is only 640x480. But when I use landscape or portrait mode, the resolution goes all the way up to 2816x2112. Why can't I get a better resolution on "auto" mode?
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I always recommend setting the camera to take the largest size format at the highest quality or "resolution" settings the camera offers.
Using the largest size and resolution combination provides images with the most detail available in your camera. It will provide excellent results for standard 4 x 6 prints and you'll be glad you chose the larger format and resolution if you wish to edit, crop & enlarge any of your shots. At one point, you'll take a picture that you're going to want to enlarge and frame - but when you have your camera set for smaller images at lower resolutions, jagged edges and pixelization begins to appear in the image. The more you enlarge - the more noticeable it becomes. You see this for yourself by taking a picture of something with small size and low resolution settings and another picture of the exact same scene but with the largest size and highest resolution settings. Display the pictures on your computer screen and enlarge them both to 200% or more. Compare the details and edges of both pictures at the same percentage on enlargement to see what I'm describing.
The size of your pictures has no bearing on the cost of printing them. The only downside is the fact that your memory card will hold fewer pictures. This means you'll need to buy additional or larger memory cards if you find that you take too many pictures between the times you transfer to your computer.
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This may not be the solution; however, please obtain a larger capacity memory card.
A 2GB card will give you several hundred photos. Cost is less than $10.
You really should not lower the resolution. you will lose detail that you may want in the future (really). (4GB card will hold over 999 pictures - $15)
If you must lower the resolution, press "Menu" and use the arrows to move the highlight bar to "resolution" ... change it to a lower number like 6MP. keep the "FINE" setting in place (if your model has that setting) or maybe "BEST".
Do not use "RAW" - (very large pix).
Hope this helps!
The XTi allow to set different image size for manual modes an for AUTO modes. So you can set a Large size superfine for auto and RAW type for manual modes. So check the size settings under manual and automatic modes.
However, the "smal" resolution (1936x1288 px) on XTi will allow you to print good 5x7 photos.
Please check the image size (pixels x pixels) setting or the resolution (MP). Seems like the camera is shooting in low resolution. Have you used this memory card on a mobile phone or another camera? Format the memory card and try again.
When you say it's displayed on the screen, do you mean while it's in playback mode, it's embedded there?
If not, you will have to put your resoltion in postcard mode and make sure in menu that your date or date/time stamp is turned on.
To get to your resolution settings, turn camera on to shooting mode, hit function/set button and arrow down to the bottom left corner where it will show your resolution (L,M,S, etc) and this is where you will find postcard mode.
This setting is the only one you can use date time stamp and will show up in prints, but only good for 4 x 6 prints, anything larger will not be good resolution, it will be pixelated because it's only enough quality for a small print.
Picture resolution is the total number of pixels in your picture (those little colored dots when you look really really close). It's expressed in megapixels and is simply the product of the number of pixels in the width of the picture times the number of pixels in the length. For example, a 7.1 MP camera takes images with a resolution of 3072 pixels width by 2304 pixels height ( 7.1MP = 3072 x 2304).
Pixels/inch refers to the resolution of your picture on some external viewing device (printer, computer monitor, etc...). It has nothing to do with the settings on your camera. It's equal to the number of pixels in the picture divided by the width of the displayed picture on the device. For example, an 8 x 10" printed picture has a width of 10 inches. If I wanted to take full advantage of my 7.1 MP picture by printing it as an 8x10, then I should look for a printer capable of printing 707,789 pixels/inch. Now I'm pretty sure there's no printer currently capable of this feat.
The example above shows that the rush for more megapixels is not necessarily where consumers or camera manufacturers should be focusing their attention. Most people really only need something around the 3MP range for printouts or display on their monitor screens.
The higher quality will not degrade the prints, you can always reduce the size for printing, if you wish. (Although it shouldn't matter, if the printer is not able to print all the pixels due to limited resolution, it will downsize properly, anyway).
The only drawbacks are, as you noted, increased size/storage requirements.
I would shot always in the biggest possible size and with fine JPEG (no sense in using TIFF - the quality is not so different that you ever notive it).
The reason for always using the biggest size is that you can later crop and have better chances at postprocessing. When "THE" shot comes your way, you don't want to accidentily store it in all the glory of 800x600 pixels :)
(Switching sizes is a bad idea, you inevitable forget to switch the size back and shot an entire afternoon in the small size. Been there, done that, did not get the pixels back :)