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JPEG Quality

  JPEG with jaggies/artifacts
Fig 1: 5k JPEG with Jaggies / Artifacts

High quality JPEG
Fig 2: 29k High Quality JPEG
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JPEG is a Lossy Format: JPEG is a lossy image format. That means that in exchange for a potentially greatly reduced image file size, it is allowed to discard some image information. This compression results is 'jaggies' or 'artifacts' in the image, as seen in Figure 1.

JPEG Quality Setting: Be aware that most any program (and digital camera!) that produces JPEGs allows you to control the quality setting, so the quality of the JPEGs you produce is actually under your control.

In order to produce high quality panoramas, you need to use a high quality JPEG setting.
Examples: In Figure 1, the JPEG is very low quality, but it uses only 5k of disk/web space. In Figure 2, the JPEG quality is high, but it uses around 29k of disk/web space. The tradeoff in quality is easy to see.

Recommendations: You should use the highest JPEG quality setting in your camera, and a very high quality setting when producing panoramas. You will use more disk and web space, but with broadband connections relatively fast now and only getting faster, the only choice for serious panoramas is to use a high quality JPEG setting.
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