Windows Photo Editor question?

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by agunnoe, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. agunnoe

    agunnoe TPF Noob!

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    Hello,
    I recently got Windows 10 and have started playing around with the photo editing software. I am liking the ease of use and options thus far (I find it similar to Picasa, which I used to use until google stopped updating it).

    Anyway, my question is about the size and quality of the photos after editing them. For example, if I edit a picture the size of the photo after editing is 5.17 MB, vs. 13.1 MB for the original. Does this drop in size of the file mean that the photo will no longer be suitable for enlargements, etc.? Is there any way to edit photos and not lose quality?

    Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
    Andrew


     
  2. jpross123

    jpross123 TPF Noob!

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    Im not familiar with windows photo editor, but are there any settings you see when you export the photo? Some programs will ask how much quality you want out of the export to decrease the file size. If you want the best quality, bump that all the way up.

    As far as enlarging/printing a photo, you will want it in the highest quality and resolution as possible. If you edit a photo, make sure its at the right size and resolution that you want to print.
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    There is image file size (bytes), image resolution (pixels), and print resolution (pixels per inch or ppi (not dpi)).

    For prints the image resolution and the print resolution matter more than the file size.
    Indeed the image resolution and the print resolution determine the print size.
    With image resolution constant, varying the print resolution makes the print larger or smaller.
    Fewer pixels per inch (ppi) deliver a larger print, but at some point the pixels become large enough that image quality suffers.
    180 ppi is pretty close to the limit for enlarging a photo, and no image quality is gained by setting the print resolution higher than 340 or so ppi.
    Note too that image content also matters as does how aggressively the photo was edited, particularly regards sharpening.

    As an example, you have an edited photo that has image resolution of 4000 x 2667 pixels and you want to make an 8" x 10" print.
    4000 px / 10" = 400 ppi so that would make a nice print.
    You then decide you want a 16 x 20 print
    4000 px / 20" = 200 ppi and that would probably also be a nice print
    But lets say you want to go really big and have a 30 x 20 print made
    4000 px/ 30" = 133.3 ppi. The print likely won't look quite as good as the 16 x 20.

    Note too that different size prints usually have different aspect ratios.
    Most DSLR's make photos that have a 3:2 aspect ratio.
    8 x 10 is a 5:4 aspect ratio so a 3:2 image has to be cropped, and pixels discarded, to make an 8 x 10 print from a 3:2 photo.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
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  4. agunnoe

    agunnoe TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the reply, this is really helpful.

    A few more things: After reading your explanation of file size vs. image size I looked at the photos that I have edited and the image resolution and all of my photos are taken at 6000 x 4000. Both the original and the edit maintain the 6000 x 4000, only the file size decreases. So if I understand you correctly, my edited pictures should be able to be blown up to at least 16 x 20 and not lose any quality, right?

    I'm using a Nikon D7100....
     
  5. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Afraid not. Returning to your original post, you asked, "Is there any way to edit photos and not lose quality?" Let's start by answering, "no" and then saying, "that depends."

    Image editing is double edged. Every edit you make that improves a photo: alter color, raise contrast, sharpen, noise filter, etc., etc. will always produce some degree of harm as well as good. It may only be 5% harm and 95% good and so we'll take that as an overall win. But 5% here and 5% there becomes cumulative. The more we edit the photo the more we compound harm as well as good. This then generates a first basic principle: Make all of your choices such that you do as little editing as possible. You'll hear the adage, "get it right in the camera." This is why; editing comes with a price and so the less we have to do the better.

    Next, how you edit matters. There are very different ways to edit digital photos. For most people the variations in this regard aren't meaningful because of the way they use photos. Most people are happy to share their photos in electronic form on their phones and tablets or with small prints. As a result the bad effects of editing disappear into the small size of the images and don't matter -- be happy. You however asked about a 16x20 print and that's a game changer. How you edit your photos matters a lot if you plan to make a 16x20 print.

    Your post references Windows Photo Editor. That software application only allows you to edit existing RGB images and in most cases is used to edit JPEGs. The file size difference you're experiencing involves changes in JPEG compression rates. So what you're doing is editing the JPEG files produced by your camera. As an alternative you could edit your camera's NEF files, but you'll need different software. Now let's go back to what I originally said; all editing is double edged. Given a choice to perform an edit in one way that does 95% good and 5% harm versus performing the same edit in a way that does 60% good and 40% harm which would you choose? By working with JPEG files in Windows Photo Editor you've made the second choice. If you're sharing photos on your phone and making 4x6 prints it doesn't matter -- be happy. But if you want to make 16x20 prints consider saving your camera's NEF files and editing those with appropriate software.

    There are lots of options for raw processing software for your camera's NEF files. You can start with Nikon since they made your camera.

    Joe
     
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  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    6000 x 4000 px is a 3:2 aspect ratio. The long side is 1.5 times longer than the short side.
    16" x 20" is a 5:4 aspect ratio. The long side is only 1.25 times longer than the short side.
    To get from 3:2 to 5:4 the long side of the photo has to be cropped so the long side is only 5000 pixels long.

    If you crop the photo before it gets printed you get to choose how much of each end of the long side of the image is cropped.
    You won't get to choose if you let the print lab do the crop. The print lab would likely just take 500 px off of each end of the photo where as you could choose.
    5000 px / 20" = 250 ppi so you should get as nice a print as can be made from your image file.
    Hopefully the image will not have editing artifacts visible in the print.

    JPEG - Wikipedia
    Joe doesn't mention a couple of things about JPEG files.
    The minimum JPEG file compression ratio is usually 1:4 or the JPEG file size is 1/4th the file size of the original Raw file.
    JPEG, a lossy compressed file type, was designed to be a ready to print file type that would not have any additional editing done to it outside the camera.

    Consequently JPEG files have little or no editing headroom, in large part because JPEG changes the original Raw file's color bit depth from 12 or 14 bits to only 8 bits.
    Bit Depth

    For prints it is best to edit the Raw file and only convert to JPEG once all the editing is done. You would also want to be sure the image file color profile and color space are set to sRGB just before the file is sent to be printed.

    While editing you would want the editing color space to be as wide a gamut of color as is available, or a color space like the ProPhoto RGB color space, and you would want to do those edits you can do using whatever 16 bit-depth editing tools you have available before you use 8-bit depth only editing tools.
    Photo Editing Tutorials

    The Digital Negative: Raw Image Processing in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop (2nd Edition)
    The Digital Print: Preparing Images in Lightroom and Photoshop for Printing
    Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw, and Lightroom (2nd Edition)
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017

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