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Raw vs JPEG Is it worth the extra space and effort?


MGJ 6 168 5
22 Mar 2014 11:24PM
No one has mentioned the business of posterisation which you get the instant you apply a levels or curves adjustment to a JPEG. JPG is an 8 bit format and you only have 256 levels - the combed histogram shows the posterisation. So if one wants to retain that info and the tonality that accrues, you have to take in RAW, and do your editing in 16 bit format. After that you can convert to (8bit) jpg - your printer will do an 8 bit conversion anyway.

Does that posterisation matter? Large areas of even tones (skin and the like) certainly. Most landscapes and lots of fine details - probably not.

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Nick_w e2
7 4.1k 99 England
22 Mar 2014 11:57PM
I'm fully fledged to the RAW camp. But that said, if your carful, there's no reason why you should get posterisation with a JPEG file. It's only when you push it to its limits you will get problems. If it does happen add a small amount of noise (yes noise) to the image. Also put curves / levels in luminosity mode.
23 Mar 2014 12:32AM

Quote:I'm fully fledged to the RAW camp. But that said, if your carful, there's no reason why you should get posterisation with a JPEG file. It's only when you push it to its limits you will get problems. If it does happen add a small amount of noise (yes noise) to the image. Also put curves / levels in luminosity mode.


I agree. All depends on the photographer's skill.

JPG, if taken thoughtfully, may need only minor corrections where posterisation and other processing induced image defects will not be an issue. This sort of trouble only comes when a JPG needs a "surgery" - and it won't take it well.

RAW is more "forgiving" by allowing to produce some unnaturally looking albeit smooth images. Some of them may even look as an abstract art - and still be acceptable technically.

However, keeping things right at the moment the shutter clicks might be as good practice with RAW as it undoubtedly is with JPG.
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
23 Mar 2014 12:49AM

Quote:I lost the Fuji to my daughter who's off to Brighton next year to study photography, not seen it for a few months now!


So soon Smile
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
23 Mar 2014 2:49PM

Quote:I'm fully fledged to the RAW camp. But that said, if your carful, there's no reason why you should get posterisation with a JPEG file. It's only when you push it to its limits you will get problems. If it does happen add a small amount of noise (yes noise) to the image. Also put curves / levels in luminosity mode.

I agree. All depends on the photographer's skill.

JPG, if taken thoughtfully, may need only minor corrections where posterisation and other processing induced image defects will not be an issue. This sort of trouble only comes when a JPG needs a "surgery" - and it won't take it well.

RAW is more "forgiving" by allowing to produce some unnaturally looking albeit smooth images. Some of them may even look as an abstract art - and still be acceptable technically.

However, keeping things right at the moment the shutter clicks might be as good practice with RAW as it undoubtedly is with JPG.



The only time the Jpeg can fall apart is under testing conditions or under lots of post processing.

99.9 % of the time and with care the jpeg only can work out ok, but I find that it is not best to let the camera decide on the settings, I tend to match the jpeg`s output to my custom raw profile that I will be using.
TanyaH e2
11 686 77 United Kingdom
24 Mar 2014 12:54PM
I saw a really good analogy the other day which (for me, anyway) describes the Raw vs JPEG issue ... A RAW file is like a home cooked meal - you know exactly what's gone it, used only the freshest ingredients and slaved lovingly over the stove to produce something that people can enjoy; whereas a JPEG is like a ready meal - great when you come home raging hungry, and you can bung it in the microwave, but ultimately you don't know what's in it. Grin
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
24 Mar 2014 6:18PM

Quote:I saw a really good analogy the other day which (for me, anyway) describes the Raw vs JPEG issue ... A RAW file is like a home cooked meal - you know exactly what's gone it, used only the freshest ingredients and slaved lovingly over the stove to produce something that people can enjoy; whereas a JPEG is like a ready meal - great when you come home raging hungry, and you can bung it in the microwave, but ultimately you don't know what's in it. Grin


Full of flaws is that, a raw file has no taste, its a little like eating raw meat, it needs flavoring and cooking.

Jpegs are more like ordering your own pizza, you choose your own ingredients and toppings Smile
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
24 Mar 2014 6:22PM
how about this....

pick your favourite 20, say, photographers off EPZ
send them a message asking whether they shoot RAW or JPG

which ever the majority is - go with that

there's that old theory that if you want do get what other have, you need to do what they do
lawbert 7 1.8k 15 England
24 Mar 2014 6:41PM
The Camera takes both files simultaneously if selected in its set up menu.....memory is cheap nowadays...You get 2 pics for every one you take...Its like a supermarket bogofTongue
25 Mar 2014 9:32AM
RAW everytime, simple reason is you are shooting at the very best your camera can achieve, the shot still needs to be correctly exposed, composed etc

The jpg is a compressed format, the RAW is not.
Nick_w e2
7 4.1k 99 England
25 Mar 2014 11:41AM

Quote:there's that old theory that if you want do get what other have, you need to do what they do


True, but it doesn't create creative ideas, or innovation. Wink if Darwin hadn't challenged the church we would all still believe we're descended from Adam and Eve.

Seriously Ade has a good point, I'm pretty certain at least 19 out of 20 would give you the same answer to your original question.

If you could get a Ford Fiesta with all the trimmings, satnav, climate control on etc etc, for the same price as the stripped down model with nothing other than the steering wheel which would you chose?
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
25 Mar 2014 11:53AM

Quote:True, but it doesn't create creative ideas, or innovation. Wink if Darwin hadn't challenged the church we would all still believe we're descended from Adam and Eve.


fair point - then again, if you want creative ideas and innovation, you probably want something different to what others are doing... so do yer own thing then Wink

RAW was once a bit of a pain - when RAW editors didn't really do much creative stuff, it was an extra step which took time...

These days, it's just a no brainer

Just get them into Capture One or Lightroom and you can do most of your editing there and then - without faff.... and do all your key wording, water marking, cataloguing whilst you're at it.

Other than editorial/press/sports photographers, where you may need to send smaller photos over your 3G phone to the news-desk, I really can't see why you'd choose to use the inferior option that is JPG

Just doesn't make sense
25 Mar 2014 12:56PM
Camera developers put considerable amount of money and their fantastic team experience into developing JPG algorithms and camera automatics to allow an ordinary Joe take photographs that could be seen as nothing but outstanding by just 10 year old standards.

I would never think that taking family holiday photos really requires RAW capture and clever processing. "Simple" bunch of JPGs will print out just fine.

Does anyone need a military fighter to fly to a holiday? Could be fun, but terribly impractical.

However, all of creative folk are not forgotten either. Any "serious" camera gives them a chance to challenge the manufacturer's collective intelligence by shooting images in RAW and maybe manual, and then doing their own creative best to express themselves.

Should one shoot in RAW? Up to everyone, I do both depending on circumstances. Oh, and also do some film photography on B&W film with fully mechanical camera. It's a pleasure, but I am not into pushing it onto anyone.

We all have our freedom of choice and nowadays, as never before, the choice is limited not by our hardware, but only our creativity.

Are RAWs worth extra space on the hard drive? Well, how much does it cost? Our time costs more, and JPG is perfectly fine when one needs to save some time with it for simple pleasures of life.
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
25 Mar 2014 7:36PM

Quote:RAW was once a bit of a pain - when RAW editors didn't really do much creative stuff, it was an extra step which took time...

These days, it's just a no brainer



Yep only because the out of camera jpegs were once so bad.


Quote:Just get them into Capture One or Lightroom and you can do most of your editing there and then - without faff.... and do all your key wording, water marking, cataloguing whilst you're at it


If your getting it all right in camera, is there any point.

Other than editorial/press/sports photographers, where you may need to send smaller photos over your 3G phone to the news-desk, I really can't see why you'd choose to use the inferior option that is JPG.

It makes a whole load of sense to some people, but its still good do have a raw backup just in case.

Personally I prefer Raw.
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
25 Mar 2014 10:11PM

Quote:Yep only because the out of camera jpegs were once so bad.


no they weren't


Quote:If your getting it all right in camera, is there any point.


yes


Quote:It makes a whole load of sense to some people, but its still good do have a raw backup just in case.


The raw is the seed - which you can grow in which ever way you like - you may choose to edit it as bright colourful thing one day, then return and from the same DNA, create a moody, dark mono

I wouldn't call it a "backup"

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