The question of the day is: RAW or JPEG? To me, there is no doubt since I am a bit of a control freak and I like to have things under control most of the time. That includes colors. So, I shoot in RAW. You don’t have to. JPEG may work much, much better for you. OK, I have to be honest and say I was sorry a few times that I wasn’t able to download my shots to the client’s computer. They didn’t have the software to read it. That is the reason I shot RAW+JPEG for I while but I made my mind finally. I like working with RAW files. Period. So what is the difference between RAW and JPEG? Well, smart people at Digital Photography School say….
If you’re shooting in jpeg and you hit the shutter to let all the beautiful light flood your sensor and record the image onto your memory card, the camera collects the information and quickly compresses it down into a reasonably sized file. It judges things like the color of the sky and the temperature of the light. Even when you’ve taken the image in manual mode and set everything yourself, the jpeg still needs to make some decisions as it smooshes all that information into one little file.
But if you shoot in raw, the sensor stays hands-off and says “ok, hot shot. YOU deal with it!” …this means that you have total, blissful control of your entire image. …but not without some work of your own.
[tabs slidertype=”top tabs”] [tabcontainer] [tabtext]RAW[/tabtext] [tabtext]JPEG [/tabtext] [/tabcontainer] [tabcontent] [tab]• not an image file per se (it will require special software to view, though this software is easy to get) • typically a proprietary format (with the exception of Adobe’s DNG format that isn’t widely used yet). • at least 8 bits per color – red, green, and blue (12-bits per X,Y location), though most DSLRs record 12-bit color (36-bits per location). • uncompressed (an 8 megapixel camera will produce a 8 MB Raw file). • the complete (lossless) data from the camera’s sensor. • higher in dynamic range (ability to display highlights and shadows). • lower in contrast (flatter, washed out looking). • not as sharp. • not suitable for printing directly from the camera or without post processing. • read only (all changes are saved in an XMP “sidecar” file or to a JPEG or other image format). • sometimes admissible in a court as evidence (as opposed to a changeable image format). • waiting to be processed by your computer. • a standard format readable by any image program on the market or available open source. [/tab] [tab]• exactly 8-bits per color (12-bits per location). • compressed (by looking for redundancy in the data like a ZIP file or stripping out what human can’t perceive like a MP3). • fairly small in file size (an 8 megapixel camera will produce JPEG between 1 and 3 MB’s in size). • lower in dynamic range. • higher in contrast. • sharper. • immediately suitable for printing, sharing, or posting on the Web. • not in need of correction most of the time (75% in my experience). • able to be manipulated, though not without losing data each time an edit is made – even if it’s just to rotate the image (the opposite of lossless). • processed by your camera. [/tab] [/tabcontent] [/tabs]