Clearly I'm missing some setting - I'm opening jpgs that had been created with FW CS3 and immediately saving it (for troubleshooting purposes). Optimize Quality is set to 75 | Smoothing 2. The file is fully 3 times larger than it was prior to save. I've exported instead of the straight Save and have the same result. I've lowered the Quality to 60 to make sure I was invoking the compressor ... the file lost 2k.
So a 260x83 bitmap moves from an acceptable 5k to 17k (or 15 with unacceptable compression level)?
Can't be right. Not even Adobe could have mucked up FW this badly.
Not too certain about this, but the increase in file size might be due to additional meta data in the file - that easily adds ~10kb to the file, so it might explain what you are seeing. But as far as I am aware, the save for web functionality in FW should remove meta data.
Use RIOT (radical image optimization tool) (win) or ImagOptim (mac) to check if this is the case or not, and remove the meta data.