What Factors Affect Digital Camera Photo Quality?

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Updated July 26, 2022

Whether you’re a new or experienced photographer, you always want to showcase your best work. The last thing you want to upload to your social media is a bad-quality image. So, what factors affect digital camera photo quality? As an amateur photographer with a top-rated digital camera, you need to be aware of color accuracy, scaling, compression, and other factors.

Factors Affecting Image Quality

For you to get the best out of your digital camera, let’s take a closer look at the elements that influence image quality. These elements can also affect a 3D digital camera, too, but not a non-digital camera.

Image Scaling

An aspect ratio on a digital camera is the width and height of an image’s proportion described in two numbers, like 4:3 or 16:9. So, if you want to produce a good image quality, you have to use the correct aspect ratio.

Common Aspect Ratios

  • 1:1 is an aspect ratio that is equal in height and width. This ratio describes a square that is ideal for an Instagram post.
  • 4:3 is an aspect ratio for tablets, TV, and computer monitors. 
  • 16:9 ratio is the most popular ratio used for high-definition monitors and TVs.


The combination of acutance and resolution is what is known as sharpness in digital cameras. Resolution is associated with the pixel size, while acutance is the photo contrast. Generally, sharp digital images are considered the best quality because they have more contrast and detail. That said, some people dislike overly detailed photos when filming outdoors. If this is you, you can check out what a digital bridge camera is for outdoor shooting. Or, you can use a digital camera UV filter to tone down that harsh sunlight. Since clear detail results from increased sharpness, you’d want to lower the sharpness to achieve the desired blur effect.

Insider Tip

Always crop your photos in-camera and not during the post-processing stage; you have a better chance of getting better quality images this way than cropping out 90% of the picture.

Digital Noise Levels

Digital noise is the random variation of color information or brightness in an image. More so, image noise is more visible when shooting at night. While you might think that increasing the ISO levels would create a quality image in low light conditions, that is not always the case. You can find out what does the sensor in a digital camera do to learn more about the role the sensor plays.

Often, you determine the ideal ISO for a scene through trial and error, as it depends on the weather and the brightness level of the environment. Generally, though, a higher ISO can cause more digital noise. Fortunately, if your image has minimum noise, you can boost the image quality in the editing phase.

Compressed Images

Compression is removing or grouping certain portions of a photo to reduce its image size. Generally, there are two compression types: lossless compression and lossy compression. You need to understand the difference to get the best image quality.

Lossy Compression

RAW is technically a lossless format, though it can be uncompressed, lossless compressed, or compressed. Both JPEG and RAW formats are available in most digital cameras. Professionals prefer the RAW file image format because it is easier to enhance the quality of the image during the post-production process. On the other hand, JPEG is an in-camera compression format that is less detailed because some of the image data is deleted.

Lossless Compression

This compression type is all about reducing the picture’s size without affecting the quality. For example, suppose you convert an image to TIFF, PNG, or PNG. In that case, the compressed and original files will be similar because the formats only compress the size by reconstruction. Another lossless compression process is archiving the image files and then transferring them into a ZIP file. But this option is not web-friendly.

In summary, if you want to share an image across the web, go for PNG and not JPEG.


Be careful when using ISO above 400 for outdoor shoots and 800 or 1600 indoor shoots; otherwise, you risk decreasing sharpness, contrast, and saturation.


Do megapixels affect image quality?

Megapixels are important when it comes to printing. The more megapixels, the better the quality print you can prepare. But it does not mean that larger pixels will deliver a significant increase in the picture quality.

How does pixel density affect picture quality?

The higher the pixel density, known as PPI (Pixels Per Inch) on display devices, the sharper and clearer the image’s display size on the screen.

What is the recommended pixel density for an image?

The best printing resolution for an image is 300ppi. Very low image resolutions make images look pixelated or blocky.

STAT: According to Samsung, approximately 2.5 billion people all over the world use a digital camera. (source)

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