JPEG Quality / Image Sizes

Standard Test Scene

The Coolpix 885 provides four different image quality choices : HI (uncompressed TIFF), FINE (JPEG 4:1), NORMAL (JPEG 8:1), BASIC (JPEG 16:1) in combination with three resolution choices: 2048 x 1536 (native CCD resolution), 1024 x 768 (XGA) or 640 x 480 (VGA).

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:

  • 2048 x 1536 HI (TIFF)
  • 2048 x 1536 FINE
  • 2048 x 1536 NORMAL
  • 2048 x 1536 BASIC
  • 1024 x 768 FINE
  • 640 x 480 FINE

Images below are cropped 240 x 100 area of the image magnified 200% (nearest neighbour).

2048 x 1536

TIFF 9,327 KB - not available for download

745 KB

657 KB

394 KB

1024 x 768
294 KB

640 x 480
121 KB

Here again we note that a FINE JPEG (same 4:1 compression as the 995) weighs in at only 745 KB, compared to the 995 image at the same compression which was around 990 KB. Either Nikon have enhanced their JPEG compression algorithm (doubtful), are compressing more than reported or are carrying out some kind of noise reduction / smoothing on the image before it's compressed.


Generally speaking, if you intend to post-process the image, you would probably be looking at using a low level of sharpening. If you wish to shoot for direct printing or don't intend on doing any post-processing, then a normal or high level of sharpening should be used. The 885 also features Auto sharpening where the camera will decide based on the scene content which sharpening mode to use.

The higher the sharpening the more visible sharpening artifacts such as white halo's around dark detail and the more other artifacts are amplified by the sharpening algorithm.

Auto High
Normal Low

Image Adjustment

The 885 provides the photographer good control over the internal image processing algorithms which are applied to the image before it is "finalized" and written away to the Compact Flash card. Image Adjustment controls what contrast curve the camera applies to the raw image. In Auto mode the camera will analyse the image and decide for itself (though most of the time it appears to choose 'Normal').

Auto Normal More Contrast
Less Contrast Lighten Image Darken Image

Probably the most interesting adjustment out of these is 'Less Contrast' which reminds me a lot of a linear image (no gamma applied), it also appears to have more dynamic range (or at least is clipping highlights less).