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RAW vs JPEG

You have been thinking of taking the plunge and dive into the RAW image format? Here´s a short article on JPEG and RAW.

So, what is RAW image format? - RAW images contain minimally processed data from the camera, they are not processed and therefore not ready to be printed. Unlike Jpeg´s you´ll always have to process the image before you print it. RAW´s are often called "digital negatives" since they fulfill the same role as film photography´s negatives; both are not directly usable as an image but have the information needed to create one. That´s why processing a RAW image is often called developing. You can think of RAW files as undeveloped film when Jpeg are the prints you got back from development.

Pros of JPEG

- Small file sizes so they don´t fill up your memory card and hard drive as fast.                      

- Easy to view and edit in any editing program.

- Easy to upload online. (Facebook for example)

Cons of JPEG

- Less control over the final image.

- Compressed and less data to work with.

- Much harder to correct mistakes.

JPEG is easy to work with. You can view the images in any computer without any editing program. JPEG´s don´t take up much space but you don´t have much control over color, tone or clarity. 

 

Pros of RAW

- Lot of control over the final image.                      

- Easy to correct mistakes made while shooting.

- No compression and no data lost.

Cons of RAW

- Big files!

- Requires specific image edition program to develop.

- Requires time to develop.

 

One of the biggest advantages of RAW over JPEG is the control you have in the image processing program.
Here´s a small example: 

  • normalWHITE BALANCE: You can change the white balance in the processing so you´ll never again have to worry about forgetting to change the white balance in camera. For example if you were shooting with the white balance set to "Tungsten" the night before and forgot to change it back when you started shooting the day after all your images would be ruined. They would all be blue!

Here you can see an example of what would happen if you were to shoot tungsten in daytime. 

Daddy took a lot of images of his son feeding the cute duckies. Mommy was so happy that daddy was getting this precious moment on film and couldn´t wait to put them up on Facebook. 

But.... when they got home daddy noticed he´d make a big mistake. He forgot that the night before he was out photographing and forgot to change the white balance back! 

Hover the mouse over the image to see how all the pictures turned out. Clearly, mommy was not happy with daddy!

One point of using RAW while shooting Black & White images with a digital camera is that you actually can set your camera to shoot B&W, see the B&W image on the camera screen but when you load them to the computer all the data is still there so you can turn it back to color if you wish. I personally use this option.

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So which to use, JPEG or RAW?

The choice is yours.... :)

Personally I use both. When I´m shooting images with artistic purposes or commercial work I always use RAW. 

When I´m photographing me and my mates hunting trips for example and I don´t plan on doing much editing but just upload straight to our site I shoot JPEG.

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