JPEG Image Size & Quality
Standard Test Scene
The FinePix S7000 provides six image size/quality options on the Photo Mode menu, these are labelled as 12MP F, 12MP N, 6MP, 3MP, 2MP and 1MP. Only the 12 MP size provides for selection of JPEG quality (compression). In addition there is also a CCD-RAW option which creates a .RAF file which can be converted using the supplied RAW File Converter LE.
Lighting note: Because of the poor weather (dull and very low light levels) in London at this time of year we decided to use our Studio Strobe to light the scene, normally we use daylight.
To give an impression of what some of the combinations of image size and quality produce the table below is a cross reference of some of them:
- CCD-RAW: 4048 x 3040
- 12MP F: 4048 x 3040 JPEG Fine
- 12MP N: 4048 x 3040 JPEG Normal
- 6MP: 2848 x 2136
- 3MP: 2016 x 1512
- 2MP: 1600 x 1200
- 1MP: 1280 x 960
Images below are cropped 240 x 100 area of the image magnified
200% (nearest neighbour).
|12MP: 4048 x 3040|
12,939 KB .RAF file (not for download), VGA crop - 460 KB .TIF
|6MP: 2848 x 2136|
|3MP: 2016 x 1512|
|2MP: 1600 x 1200|
|1MP: 1280 x 960|
While at first there doesn't appear to be very much difference between the 12 MP Fine and 12 MP Normal modes it is possible to detect some 'mosquito type' JPEG artifacts in the Normal quality image. Again sharpening artifacts are spoiling an otherwise good image, there are fairly strong white sharpening halos around dark detail in both the twelve and six megapixel image sizes (although this can be alleviate by changing the Sharpness setting to Soft - see below).
The S7000 provides very little control over image processing parameters, especially when you consider the impressive flexibility of some of the competition (notably the Minolta DiMAGE A1). You can not for instance output in any color space other than sRGB, nor can you directly control color saturation or the tone curve used. From the Photo Menu you can choose one of three color modes (normal, chrome - high color saturation, B&W).
To my eye there is very little difference between Normal and Hard, certainly in terms of visible sharpness. The Soft setting certainly removes some of the sharpening artifacts but does require you to sharpen the image later in post-processing (and those halo artifacts may well come back). Samples below taken at the 6MP image size.
The Color Mode setting simply allows you to select the alternative color output options of Chrome or B&W. The "Chrome" setting increases color saturation and applies a more contrasty tone curve giving the image more 'punch', although the Disney colors may not be to everyone's tastes. Samples below taken at the 2MP image size.