Nikon D7000 resolution and compression settings

Today I photographed an event for a large company/TV network. Their assignment involved photographing individuals and groups in candid and posed situations at a press conference, and getting those images on-line as quickly as possible. All I had to do was photograph the event, and half way through the event, my client would post the images before the event was completed. Problem was, he wanted a specific size file, straight from the camera.

My contact wanted the file size to be 800k-1mb (roughly). That required me to create an in-camera file at 1MB, as resizing on a computer would slow down the process. He also uses a laptop with a built-in SD card reader, so a camera that uses a CF card was not an option. I chose my Nikon D7000 as the (almost) perfect solution.

I like to shoot large, RAW files. I get lots more control of white balance, sharpness, contrast when I shoot RAW using the Nikon NEF format. Plus, I like the ability to create 30″ photos if the need arises. My issue was that I had no idea, (well, only a vague idea) as to what settings to use.

With the Nikon D7000 I could shoot at various JPG sizes including: large , medium, or small. I also have the ability to vary the degree of compression to each file to “Fine”, “Normal” or “Basic”. A large JPG file with compression setting of “Fine would yield me the highest quality JPG that my camera would create. It would also be too large for my client. I did some research, and come up with these sizes and compression rates if you are shooting for a particular file size:

 

Image quality
Image size
File size1
No. of images1
Buffer capacity2
NEF (RAW), Lossless compressed, 12-bit
15.5 MB
291
11
NEF (RAW), Lossless compressed, 14-bit
19.4 MB
223
10
NEF (RAW), Compressed, 12-bit
13.6 MB
398
15
NEF (RAW), Compressed, 14-bit
16.7 MB
330
12
JPEG fine3
L
M
S
7.8 MB
4.4 MB
2.0 MB
813
1400
3100
31
100
100
JPEG normal3
L
M
S
3.9 MB
2.2 MB
1.0 MB
1600
2800
6000
100
100
100
JPEG basic3
L
M
S
2.0 MB
1.1 MB
0.5 MB
3100
5500
11000
100
100
100
  1. All figures are approximate. File size varies with scene recorded.
  2. Maximum number of exposures that can be stored in memory buffer at ISO 100. Drops if Optimal quality is selected for JPEG compression or long exposure noise reduction is on.
  3. Figures assume JPEG compression is set to Size priority. Selecting Optimal quality increases the file size of JPEG images; number of images and buffer capacity drop accordingly.

I went to the “Menu” – “Shooting Menu”- “Role played by card in 2nd slot” and chose RAW for slot 1 and JPG for slot 2.  The SD card in slot #1 would record RAW files for potential use at a later time, and the card in slot #2 would record the desired 1MB files. These are from the Nikon website, and based on my over two years of shooting this camera, and a quick test prior to my assignment, I’d say they are pretty stinking close. If you shoot a scene with lots of blue sky, or some other situation where one color/tone dominates the scene, your files will be smaller than a scene with lots of detail.

My JPG settings were “Medium” size and “Basic” compression. I shot 633 images at the assignment. Files ranged in size from 480k (helicopter in flight) – 1.8 MB (lots of detail). Quite a variety of sized, but that is the nature of compressed files.

Client is happy, and so am I.

 

Copyright 2012 Richard K. Dalton (Other than Nikon data)

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Photography in Ft. Worth and Dallas area: Wedding photos, High School Senior pictures, commercial photographer, family portraits