My digital camera defaults to 2.2 MB. Think what this does to a file when you download the photos. For a home at 3x5, 640x480 is more than sufficient to represent the property and not eat up file space.
It surprised me at first, when these things first came out, how quickly the industry and our clients were willing to accept crappy, low-resolution digital photos.
Years ago, polaroids were the fashion, they were black & white, but usually had decent resolution. Then color polaroids came out and clients started refusing to accept black & white photos. Then came the advent of one-hour processing and polaroids were not allowed by a lot of clients.
During the short-lived one-hour era, we tried to always get the house address numbers in the photo and it was fairly common for underwriters to ask if a photographed comp was really correct if a tree branch obliterated one of the address numbers. With these low resolution digital photos, you couldn't even start to see the address (or many other details of materials and finish). Yet, for the convenience of e-mail, these things are no longer important to our clients.
for a photo that is 1024 x 768 pixels, at "basic" image quality the file size will be approximately 100 KB and transfer time at 28.8 Kbps will be about 40 seconds. For a photo that is 640 x 480 pixels at basic quality, file size will be about 50 KB and transfer time about 20 seconds. I prefer to use the largest file size I can get away with for the sake of quality. But, if you are transmitting over a dial-up, anything larger than XGA will slow you down considerably. File size, and disk space is a non-issue as far as I'm concerned - hard disk storage is cheap these days and you can always store your old photos on CD's.
For you photo buffs or those appraisers who want a good printed image on the cover of your narrative, size matters. For the printed image, file sizes so small as those that can be sent by e-mail are a disaster. It takes UXGA or 1600 x 1200 to print a just decent photo at 8" x 6" and if you want to print at 13" x 10" you'd better have a size of 2560 x 1920 pixels and "fine" quality.
Actaully I have found some clients to have file receipt limitations!
as in file 'bounce' due to excess sixe on THEIR end 8O
I use that low end setting and have never received a complaint.
I agree that the industry has chosen to accept what I consider a lower level of resolution than I feel apropriate, but until the cleints indicate a preference, I shall stick to low res for sending... MY file copy is higher res.
640x480 here. So buy a cheapie camera. Me. I've got a Sony mega pixel cranked down to 640x480.
Mega pixels don't really matter when they're printed out at 300x300 on the receiving end. All mega pixels do is create mega file sizes.
Now ponder this as advertising for your business and the need for small file sizes via using low resolution and Adobe Distiller to crunch down file sizes.
I had several clients tell me they send me more business because my emailed file sizes are so small...the other guys files take too long to download...go figure..they're that lazy...But, hey, time is money,right?
I use a 2.0 Megapixal DC5000 (post recall) set at the lowest quality/resolution. Then I reduce the size further using Quick Pixs during download (about 60% setting). This gives me a photo that is about 896 x 592. Good enough for viewing and printing but not overly large.
For V.A., we must limit our file size to 2Megs. In order to do that, we have to squeeze the file down, including the photos. The other day I sent a file with subject photos that were not very good....don't know if the batteries were down, or what, but they were very blurry. And, of course, that house is over an hour's drive away for me. Haven't heard any complaints yet, but we'll see. I think there's much more emphasis on "hurry up" than "quality" these days......must be a sign of the times.
Don't get downsampling and compressing confused. It's possible to keep your photos at a decent resolution (downsample to 200ppi) which gives you great printed results-- and keep those photos small by compressing at a moderate rate in a jpg format. A 200 pixel per inch photo at 4" x 6" can be compressed down to less than 50K with a medium jpg compression. Anything less than 200ppi really starts to look crummy when printed. Though, I'll agree that clients really never complain anymore.
Also consider if you initially have the need for more resolution when you take the picture. I'll typically shoot at 3 megapixles which gives me enough data to zoom in and see house numbers. I later downsample & compress after I've read the number! I'll sometimes need to zoom into the subject photo to see detail too. Or, if you've taken a photo in the distance (you know, people outside) then you can enlarge the photo and still have decent resolution. ie- if you double the size of the photo, you've reduced the pixels by half.
Most moderately good photo imaging programs will have some sort of macro recording feature or otherwise allow you to apply the editing functions to a batch of photos. It's real easy to shoot in hi-res to have data when you need it, and run a batch program to reduce a bunch of photos down all at once.