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High quality images from a digital camera are large files that take a long time to upload and download, even with a high-speed Internet connection therefore images must be compressed.
- Always save your original image for archiving and later use.
- Save compressed images with a different file name.
- Irfanview is a free Windows program that can be used for compressing photos.
- JPEG is a format that allows for compression with minimal loss in quality, and is a standard format for the web
- Perform any sharpening, brightness, contrast or color adjustments necessary.
- Go to the menu item that sets Image Size: set the longer dimension of the image to 5 inches and the resolution to 72-150 ppi. Some images will look better at higher resolutions than 72 ppi; experiment until you are satisfied with the appearance. Small images to be used for presentations should be set at 125-150 ppi.
- For radiographs or scans, change the mode to Grayscale.
- For color images, consider changing the mode from RGB to 256 colors. This will decrease the file size without an appreciable loss in quality.
- Save the image as a JPEG with a quality setting of 5-8/12 (higher setting: better quality and larger file size.
- Give it a descriptive name different from the original image.
Assuming that you are searching for a camera to use in your office/clinic and operating room, I believe that the most important consideration is size. A full-featured digital SLR (DSLR) may give you extreme flexibility and the ability to be very creative. However, it will be bulky and heavy. Medical photography is more like photojournalism: the object is to realistically and clearly portray what you saw and want the viewer to appreciate. A camera must be AVAILABLE to achieve this goal. For the vast majority of photos, the newer compact digital cameras will do the job nicely, and their small size and low weight will make them easy to carry in a pocket or bag. Because you will be taking photos of small structures, it is mandatory to choose a camera with good macro capability (the ability to focus at close distances so small objects can nearly fill the viewfinder.) Various memory card options are available and all function well. Prices for memory cards continue to fall, so look for a card that will hold a sufficient number of images to allow you to download them at your leisure, not when the card is full. Shooting at the highest quality setting will allow maximum flexibility in preparing images for printing or presentations, but will generate large files, so I recommend at least a 1 GB memory card. The most versatile shooting format is RAW, but this is generally only available on larger and DSLR cameras. Each manufacturer has a different name for its “highest quality” format. More megapixels do not necessarily lead to better images. In fact, if too many pixels are crammed onto a small sensor, artifacts and loss of resolution can result. Digital cameras of 9-10 years ago with 2-3.5 megapixels took excellent clinical and OR photos. Most good contemporary cameras will have 8-14 megapixels. There are many manufacturers and models of digital cameras available, and new models are constantly introduced.
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