Sun 27-Jan-13 06:04 PM | edited Sun 27-Jan-13 06:06 PM by coolmom42
Menu button--shooting menu (camera icon)---image quality. Then hit the OK button on the right, and it will show you the image quality options. Choose JPEG fine, then OK again. That will give you the highest resolution JPEG possible. Then scroll down to image size, hit the OK button, and choose LARGE.
Those settings will get you a 4602 x 3012 pixel image.
Some people will say you need 300 pixels per inch for an acceptable image. Others will tell you 100 pixels per inch is adequate. What you need depends on what you find acceptable. I try to go no lower than 150 pixels per inch. The largest image I've ever had printed from my D3100 was 16 x 20, made from a slightly cropped JPG.
The printed user's manual that came with your D3100 is not the full version. Here is where you can download the full version:
You don't want to crop excessively, but you can crop modestly and have enough pixels to print larger. If you cropped an image down to say 3600 x 2400 pixels, you could print at 300 ppi and get an 12 x 8 inch print. Or at 150 ppi, you would get a 24 x 16 inch print. A lot depends upon the quality of the image, i.e. how sharp it is, etc., and from what distance the print will be viewed. If you want huge prints, you will need to buy a D800.
It is really quite simple to convert Raw (NEF) files to jpeg or even Tiff files using Nikon View NX2 (free) or Nikon Capture NX2 (free trial) since both automatically read and include all in camera settings in the conversion.
The primary advantages of shooting Raw is Raw files have significantly more information than Jpegs that provides much more latitude for adjustments. Just like a film negative. You can make adjustments to a Raw file without loosing any information. Every time you adjust a Jpeg and resave it information is lost.
Most third party software also have Raw converters though you must adjust many of the in camera settings in the computer since they can not read the in camera settings. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
I would edit in raw simply because it doesn't degrade the image like jpg, then save a copy with edits as a jpg if you wish. I was just curious what you wanted jpg for or more so wondering if you wanted to edit in jpg.
Raw is a lossless format editing and such does not degrade the image and can be undone. Jpg is not that way, there is only so much data and every edit changes and loses some of the data degrading the image. How bad it is damaged depends o. How much editing you do. You can edit your raw image archive it and also just make a jpg copy of it for emails and posting etc. some will tell you just openo g and closing a jpg cause it damage but I don't believe that and have seen no proof to support it,, manipulating a jpg does the damage. It is usually simple to make a jpg or tiff copy of a raw image. How depends on the software you use.
I forgot to mention that the D3100 will allow you to shoot both Raw and Jpeg Fine Large simultaneously. In other words the camera will create two seporate files: a NEF file and a Jpeg file. This will allow you to practice converting the Raw files and still have the Jpeg to fall back on. Keep in mind that Raw Files are larger and require more Hard Drive space to store. That is the only downside. That said, Hard Drives are reasonably cheap so it is not much of an issue. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
You've received good advice so far. Generally speaking you do not want to crop too far. BUT everything is relative, and it is CERTAINLY the case that you can go further with images that were captured with good technique, good support, good lenses, etc. Most beginners overlook this consideration - which is actually a much bigger contributor than it may seem.
Also, not for your immediate use, but do be aware that software is now good enough to print at least twice as big as you've seen with generally very high quality. Depending on the image and how well it was captured, processed and printed, I've seen 4mp originals printed beautifully at 16z20. Of course, doing this requires the very best all the way through the chain, but it can be done. Your D3100 can produce a 14mp file.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!