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Shoot RAW or Shoot JPEG?

26 Mar 2011 11:35AM
Do you shoot RAW or JPEG? After a little research into this question, there seems to be some pros and cons for both. Does anyone have an informed opinion on this and a little more detail on why they decide to shoot RAW or JPEG?

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Coleslaw 12 13.4k 28 Wales
26 Mar 2011 11:41AM
Shoot the best quality your camera offers - raw.
Otherwise, might as well buy a cheap toy camera....Smile GrinTongueWink
If in doubt, shoot Jpeg + raw.
mlewis 13 1.5k United Kingdom
26 Mar 2011 11:59AM
I shoot RAW for higher quality photos.
rhody 15 2.4k 2 United Kingdom
26 Mar 2011 12:18PM
I shoot using raw and jpeg's.

RAW gives you the option of much more quality and flexibility when you need it. RAW is capable of revealing a great deal of detail in your images.

I shoot jpegs as well as I often need to send a quick thumbnail back the office as a record shot for immediate review and feedback.

RAW isn't for everyone. If you can nail your exposure and white balance every time - high quality jpeg will also work for you.

For me, RAW is a flexible, versatile safety net
miptog 12 3.6k 61 United Kingdom
26 Mar 2011 12:21PM
In simple terms:

- JPEG is a lower quality image than RAW as the data is compressed and processed
- The settings that you have in Camera (WB, Saturation, Sharpness etc.) are encoded in the JPEG
- The RAW image is uncompressed and not processed. The preview image that you see on the Camera is JPEG
- As its unprocessed, you have the creative ability to fine tune the image as you wish, and the RAW file has a much greater tolerance to adjustment
- Being able to post process creatively is great if you make mistakes in exposure, white balance etc.

Which is best for you?

- RAW will give you better quality, but it depends on your workflow, and if the difference in quality makes any noticeable difference to what you need to do
- RAW also has a heavier overhead in terms of processing times, disk storage etc.

Try this test

- Shoot a few images in both JPEG and RAW
- Process the JPEG and RAW versions of the same image
- Can you notice any difference in the end results of the two
- Does the processing and workflow for RAW or JPEG better suit what you need
cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
26 Mar 2011 12:27PM
As Cole & Meredith have stated, If you want the very best image quality your camera has to offer, Shoot RAW....!

If your happy with what comes out of your camera as a JPEG, Shoot " JPEG " ......!!

What you really need to do is read up on the file formats, Fully understand what the actual differences are, Then you can make your own " Informed " decision.....!!!

Bottom line when you shoot a " JPEG " only file, You throw 60% ( or thereabouts ) of image data out of the window......Grin

As I said previously, If your happy with the 40% of data thats left, Thats fine.....Smile

One reason some don't like or can't be bothered with RAW files, Is that it does take some " Post Shoot " work to produce the image ( Mostly ) ....!!!

Where as a JPEG is a jpeg is a jpeg, Straight to printer little or no post work required.....Grin

That said camera makers manuals ( Well Nikon Anyhow ) tend to put it this way, If your " intention " is to shoot then straight to print, Shoot JPEG in " sRGB, If however the image may be the subject of " Extensive " post processing, Shoot RAW and make sure your using " Adobe RGB " PLUS one I just thought of ...Smile Set your RAW files data to 14 Bit ( Or as high as your camera can manage )......Smile

Horses for courses, Personal choice, How much post effort, End product, Image intent, Take your pick....!

graham 17 10 United Kingdom
26 Mar 2011 12:57PM
As said - "horses for courses". RAW for sports images usually causes problems of speed for most cameras to process.
Leightonhs 11 155 1
26 Mar 2011 1:13PM
This thread has inspired me to try shooting more in RAW format Smile.
26 Mar 2011 5:12PM
I shot a few frames in RAW the other day. I had forgotten how much I hate RAW. I avoid it at all costs. If you really really want to carry out all manipulation on every frame, use RAW. Life's too short for that in my view. JPEG is OK. You will not be visited by the EPZ hit squad if you choose not to shoot RAW! Wink
StrayCat 14 19.1k 3 Canada
26 Mar 2011 5:34PM
This is a timely thread. Here's something I've wondered about over the years; will you be able to see the difference on your PC monitor of a processed RAW image, and a jpeg with the usual adjustments made, or is the difference only going to show up in a print?
StrayCat 14 19.1k 3 Canada
26 Mar 2011 5:45PM
I should mention here that the main reason I didn't shoot RAW prior to last summer is that I had an old, slow PC.Tongue
lobsterboy Plus
14 14.9k 13 United Kingdom
26 Mar 2011 5:50PM

Quote:will you be able to see the difference on your PC monitor of a processed RAW image, and a jpeg with the usual adjustments made, or is the difference only going to show up in a print?

Depends on how extreme the adjustments are and if you are viewing it at 100%.
But there is some interesting comparisons here.
miptog 12 3.6k 61 United Kingdom
26 Mar 2011 5:50PM

Quote:...will you be able to see the difference on your PC monitor of a processed RAW image, and a jpeg with the usual adjustments made, or is the difference only going to show up in a print?

It depends on the image. Try this test:

Look at the same image processed as RAW and JPEG at 200% The RAW should have smoother gradients from transition from light to shadow and colour and contrast compared with the JPEG which would have more "banding" of colour transition. This should be noticeable in both print and on screen. However will the difference, in real terms, matter for its intended use.
Coleslaw 12 13.4k 28 Wales
26 Mar 2011 5:54PM
Also, as Jools mentioned before, it saves you time when taking photos as well, without the need to worry about white balance etc.
timbo 15 596 United Kingdom
26 Mar 2011 7:23PM
I shoot about 70/30. the 70 being jpeg. It all depends on final use and how much work needs doing to them afterwards.

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