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AB22 Easy Tiger

Nocturnal Tourist
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A RAW file records everything the camera "sees". It's not an image file as such, more like a digital negative that can be processed to make the image file. Edit: Each manufacturer uses a different format for RAW files and you need camera/manufacturer specific software to be able to view or process these. The software will usually come with the camera.

A jpeg is a compressed image file and as such has been processed, this could be in camera or with a program such as Photoshop. As part of the compression process, detail "seen" by the camera will have been lost. JPGs can be viewed on virtually any device and don't need specialist software.
 
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AB22 Easy Tiger

Nocturnal Tourist
Staff member
It depends on what you want to do really. If you want to make large prints (say A3 or bigger) then it's probably best to shoot in RAW then process to a format that doesn't cause the image to lose resolution (such as a TIFF file - and someone is going to pull me up on that and tell me Tiff is also a compressed format).

Another advantage of RAW is that you can alter things such as exposure or white balance in post processing, which you can't properly do with a jpg.

You can carry out extra processing on an existing jpg but every time you save a jpg you lose resolution.

For the record, I always shoot in RAW format because it allows me to carry out the tweaks I like before I save the processed file - and I can always go back to the original shot and process it differently to suit my mood - I often do this a year or two after taking the picture.
 
Yes and no, really! I know plenty of pretty decent photographers using dSLR's who never shoot in RAW. From what I understand if you shoot in RAW you are getting the most accurate reproduction of what the camera saw to work with when processing. If you aren't doing any photoshopping or whatever, then it doesn't matter as much. Basically, the pros & cons are

RAW - pros: accurate representation of what the camera saw, more detail to work with, better overall image quality...cons: large file size, need special software to view/edit

JPEG - pros: smaller file sizes, more convenient...cons: not as much detail, compressed and so some data is lost.


For me, I shoot mostly in JPEG as I am useless at clearing memory cards so space is always an issue! However, if I know I'm shooting something important then I will shoot in RAW. I'd say that it is extremely useful to have the option of shooting in RAW available.
 
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AB22 Easy Tiger

Nocturnal Tourist
Staff member
For me, I shoot mostly in JPEG as I am useless at clearing memory cards so space is always an issue! However, if I know I'm shooting something important then I will shoot in RAW. I'd say that it is extremely useful to have the option of shooting in RAW available.
Right. Obviously RAW files are much bigger than jpgs. The first thing I do whenever I put a card into the camera is to format the fucker. All just a part of my workflow.
 
Yes and no, really! I know plenty of pretty decent photographers using dSLR's who never shoot in RAW. From what I understand if you shoot in RAW you are getting the most accurate reproduction of what the camera saw to work with when processing. If you aren't doing any photoshopping or whatever, then it doesn't matter as much. Basically, the pros & cons are

RAW - pros: accurate representation of what the camera saw, more detail to work with, better overall image quality...cons: large file size, need special software to view/edit

JPEG - pros: smaller file sizes, more convenient...cons: not as much detail, compressed and so some data is lost.


For me, I shoot mostly in JPEG as I am useless at clearing memory cards so space is always an issue! However, if I know I'm shooting something important then I will shoot in RAW. I'd say that it is extremely useful to have the option of shooting in RAW available.
Even I understood that! Thank you.:)

If you were going to print a lot of images off the computer (I am presuming the picture gets taken with the camera/uploaded(?) to pc/ then printed via printer?) is RAW the better format to have the picture in?
 
Right. Obviously RAW files are much bigger than jpgs. The first thing I do whenever I put a card into the camera is to format the fucker. All just a part of my workflow.
I need to start doing this big time! I also need to start remembering to charge the battery!

Even I understood that! Thank you.:)

If you were going to print a lot of images off the computer (I am presuming the picture gets taken with the camera/uploaded(?) to pc/ then printed via printer?) is RAW the better format to have the picture in?
As AB22 has said, it kind of depends on how big you are printing. The advantage of RAW would be that you could print larger prints whilst still retaining detail. On the downside, the files are larger and you might need to download/install special software to do it, which can be a little bit of a faff on at first and add an extra stage to your workflow. JPEG is fine for smaller prints but you will lose detail on larger prints.
 

Roger

The Gaffer
Staff member
I always shoot RAW with my SLR.

All digital cameras actually shoot RAW images - they then convert these to jpeg images to save. In doing so they will process the file, ie. they will do things like sharpening, noise reduction, setting the white balance, and possibly even correcting for lens abberations.

Obviously all of this can also be done on your computer with the appropriate software (which I would expect you to get with any camera that saves RAW images).

As well as the obvious advantage that your computer has more time and more power to do a better conversion to a jpeg, if you shoot RAW its easier to correct things like the white balance if you screwed up when you took the photo, you can also pull more out of a RAW file if you get the exposure settings wrong, and you can set sharpness (or softness!) to how you like it rather than how the camera thinks it should be.

The downsides are that the images are bigger (jpeg is a compressed format) and they are not immediately available for display/sharing without the right software.
 

not spavin

Striker
I have a 'pro' SLR and rarely shoot RAW. RAW files from my camera clock in at about 40MB, while jpegs are at about 5MB. My camera has very sophisticated jpeg processing (most modern cameras do), so for me the file size trumps image quality. TBH when I don't shoot RAW, I spend my time trying to manipulate the image on my computer in virtually the same way that the camera would have done automatically.

RAW is invaluable if you're a pro - it's great for saving badly exposed images. I'll shoot RAW when I do my first wedding later in the year. Otherwise, imo it's not a big deal for the hobbiest, though I can understand why it'd be a confirm for the more techy type like Roger and Smoker.

I need to start doing this big time! I also need to start remembering to charge the battery!



As AB22 has said, it kind of depends on how big you are printing. The advantage of RAW would be that you could print larger prints whilst still retaining detail. On the downside, the files are larger and you might need to download/install special software to do it, which can be a little bit of a faff on at first and add an extra stage to your workflow. JPEG is fine for smaller prints but you will lose detail on larger prints.
Not sure if that's true mind. Physical size is limited by megapixels - I've seen billboards printed from a 5MB jpeg. Could be wrong mind.
 
I have a 'pro' SLR and rarely shoot RAW. RAW files from my camera clock in at about 40MB, while jpegs are at about 5MB. My camera has very sophisticated jpeg processing (most modern cameras do), so for me the file size trumps image quality. TBH when I don't shoot RAW, I spend my time trying to manipulate the image on my computer in virtually the same way that the camera would have done automatically.

RAW is invaluable if you're a pro - it's great for saving badly exposed images. I'll shoot RAW when I do my first wedding later in the year. Otherwise, imo it's not a big deal for the hobbiest, though I can understand why it'd be a confirm for the more techy type like Roger and Smoker.



Not sure if that's true mind. Physical size is limited by megapixels - I've seen billboards printed from a 5MB jpeg. Could be wrong mind.
True dat, but I took this question to be referring to to jpeg vs RAW in cameras with similar sensors - so a photo taken in a 10 mega pixel camera in RAW will retain more detail than a jpeg from a 10 mega pixel camera...if that makes sense?! Jpegs are compressed and so contain less information by their very nature.
 
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not spavin

Striker
True dat, but I took this question to be referring to to jpeg vs RAW in cameras with similar sensors - so a photo taken in a 10 mega pixel camera in RAW will retain more detail than a jpeg from a 10 mega pixel camera...if that makes sense?! Jpegs are compressed and so contain less information by their very nature.
Aye, that's makes sense alright.

A photographer I used to work with would always supply files as Tiffs. Never understood that - the files were still massive, but Tiffs are still compressed (I think).
 
Not Spav hit the nail on the head in that RAW is more useful for a pro or for more serious shoots but jpeg is ample for most of the rest of us.

Does it print straight from RAW?

I would have thought some conversion to RGB or CMYK was needed but don't know that much about it.

One advantage of RAW is that you can edit the file without loosing quality whereas each time a jpeg is saved it loses some.
 

AB22 Easy Tiger

Nocturnal Tourist
Staff member
Aye, that's makes sense alright.

A photographer I used to work with would always supply files as Tiffs. Never understood that - the files were still massive, but Tiffs are still compressed (I think).
Tiffs are compressed but to nowhere near the extent jpgs are, and jpgs lose resolution EVERY time you save them. My Mrs is a tradeshow manager so gets all sots of billboards printed and she insists on high res tiffs every time, she won't work from jpgs.

I'f I'm shooting commercially I always deliver tiffs too.
 

not spavin

Striker
Tiffs are compressed but to nowhere near the extent jpgs are, and jpgs lose resolution EVERY time you save them. My Mrs is a tradeshow manager so gets all sots of billboards printed and she insists on high res tiffs every time, she won't work from jpgs.

I'f I'm shooting commercially I always deliver tiffs too.
Ah right - never got it myself, but assumed there was some reason for it.

Out of interest, why would you shoot in Tiff mode instead of RAW?
 
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