BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Jeff Galbraith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2001

Optimum Burning Speed for Image CDs?

I have heard that using too fast a burning speed when burning digital image files to CD can cause a loss of image quality. I have burned several image CDs at my burner's maximum speed of 48X, and some of the images do look a little over compressed, or at least seem to be of lesser quality than the original file from my digital camera. Does anyone have any thoughts on this subject?

To love this question, log in above
6/24/2005 9:54:08 PM

Michael H. Cothran   My burner will only burn up to 8x, which I rarely use. Normally I burn at 4x or 6x, as the computer must be able to keep up with the speed at which the data is being transferred. Best is to turn off everything else while the CD is burning. Otherwise, the CD may crash. Gee, I can't imagine being able to record at 48x!
As far as your inquiry/dilemma is concerned, unless I'm missing something here, why don't you just burn a few CDs at different speeds, then open a file from each, and compare? Seems to me that if there is a drop-off in file quality that you can see, you'll know not to burn that fast again.
Michael H. Cothran

To love this comment, log in above
6/26/2005 11:13:26 AM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  When using standard CD-burning software, like Nero, or the one built into Windows XP, there is no compression to images during a CD burning process. If your images look compressed, it was likely due to using a high jpeg compression ratio during editing.
In general, you can burn up to the rated speed of the media, the rated speed of your burner, or the fastest speed your PC can keep up with and not cause buffer errors. If there is an error during writing, your software should tell you. I always select "Verify data on disc" just to be sure.
I regularly burn at speeds up to 48x with no errors, but I always verify the data just to be safe. I also have a fairly macho 2.66GHz Pentium IV with 1GB RAM, so it can keep up with these speeds. If you have a slower PC, you might not have consistent results at high speeds.
What program are you using to burn your CDs? I remember (long ago) having a program that would make a slide show of pictures, and it would compress them to fit on a floppy. Are you using a program that is doing something like this? One way to be sure is to compare the file sizes of the images on your CD to the original files on your hard drive.

To love this comment, log in above
6/26/2005 12:27:16 PM

Shawn Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2005
  From a technical standpoint - barring any such unique things as burning a slide show of images or movie of some kind - the speed of burning affecting the content is quite impossible. ...Other than maybe a failed burn due to a poor quality burner or media ... but if the burn completes with no errors then you've got a binary copy of the data 100 percent the same as your original.
CDs, like all computer-related storage, are binary in nature. Meaning that, say, an original file is '1010', it will be '1010' everywhere it's copied, burned, or emailed. The only thing that would change that is manipulation with a software package like Photoshop or combining the images in things like a slide show where what you end up with is not the original files separately in a folder like they started.
If you are burning a simple data CD where you end up with a file list of your pictures just like the file list on your computer, then rest easy, someone was pulling your leg or didn't understand themselves.

To love this comment, log in above
6/26/2005 2:08:57 PM

Jeff Galbraith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2001
  Thanks all--much appreciate the quality feed-back.

All the Best, Jeff

To love this comment, log in above
6/26/2005 3:12:51 PM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.