What are the "advantages"/"disadvantages" of using a Screen Capture program to take pictures? Does it effect the quality? I've basically wanted to know this for as long as I've been interested in picture taking with the game. Even with the highest settings, the photo quality by using the 'C' button just isn't right.
(Also, I'm pondering if I should've put this here or not. :hmm: )
The in-game camera takes pictures at a limited size and automatically compresses them. That's why the pictures taken with it usually don't look very good.
Images taken with a screen capture program are generally your full resolution (whatever size you're using, that's how big they are), and you can usually choose to save in an uncompressed format such as .bmp so there is no loss in quality (you will usually need to crop/resize/compress them after so they're not huge if you do this). The pictures will look exactly as they do in-game.
There's no real disadvantage to running that way besides a very slight performance hit you may experience if you have a very low-powered computer - but if you've got one good enough to run the game decently well, you shouldn't notice anything like that. That, and if you want to share the pics you might have to edit them afterward, but really, that's something you probably would want to do anyway - crop out unneccesary stuff, resize, adjust, etc.
Even with the highest settings, the photo quality by using the 'C' button just isn't right.
Well, you just answered your own question there. If you use a screencapture program you can save images at the resolution of your screen, in whatever format you like. If you use something uncompressed like a bitmap then you get a large file size for the images, but very high quality. JPG files are smaller, but of a lesser quality as they are compressed. That's why the in game camera looks so rubbish.
The in-game camera does take decent pics, at high settings, that is. But it's not really full-resolution. FRAPS is a good screentaker, but that's the only one I know (besides Screenhunter, which has limited features on the free version).