Strange Image Sizes

For some reason I got multiple “strange image size” emails while I was out of the country. I hope this isn’t someone pranking me, but I’ll deal with it here anyway:

  • Check your camera settings. The number one cause of unusual image sizes while shooting seems to be that people are in Video Live View mode, which imposes a 16:9 crop on the image, and often uses a slightly smaller portion of the sensor on the long axis, as well. For example, a D600 will report 6016 x 3376 when set this way. With DSLRs that have a lot of crop settings, you can actually get some very strange numbers in terms of image size when you start combining settings, and on a D4 or D4s there’s even a special 2mp size that triggers when you’re shooting video. On at least one Nikon camera there are well over a dozen image size settings you can trigger, so this is another of those “watch your camera settings” warnings. 
  • Learn the nuances of ACR. Why Adobe used an Internet Link style to trigger a dialog box instead of a button, I don’t know, but look at the ACR dialog closely:

That thing circled in orange leads you to this if you click on it:


And low and behold: my D7100 just became a 47mp camera with 8000 x 5600 pixels! Wait, what? I entered 8000 x 6000. Yes, this is just another of Adobe’s little bazingas, or perhaps they were listening to the Stones when they created this function (“You can’t always get what you want…”). 

Now the real trick here is that ACR remembers what you set here and then tries to honor that in subsequent conversions. Thus, if you use Image Sizing once, you may be resizing forever if you forget to go cancel the Resize to Fit option you selected. 

While I’m here: what should all these options usually be set to?

  • Color Space: ProPhotoRGB if you’ve got the memory (and especially if you’re using Lightroom), or AdobeRGB if you don’t. 
  • Depth: 16 Bits/Channel
  • Resize to Fit: not checked
  • Output Sharpening: not checked
  • Smart Objects: checked

Okay, that last one is probably a surprise to you if you haven’t been to PhotoshopWorld or consumed any of the KelbyOne tutorials lately. If you’re using Photoshop in a non-destructive way, you should always be converting into Smart Objects. The good news is that every decision—even the ones that kicked off the conversion—can then be changed later. The bad news is that you’ll have to learn yet another new UI in Photoshop (the Layer pallet works differently for Smart Objects). 

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