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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 19 Apr 2010 (Monday) 22:44
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Raw vs jpeg

81 posts
Joined Apr 2010
Location: New Jersey
Apr 19, 2010 22:44 |  #1

I'm still shooting in jpeg - can someone give me reasons (in Laymans terms) why it's more benificial to switch to raw?

I don't like the idea of having to post process all my images after this something I would have to do with RAW or would only have to edit ones I wanted to?

In trying to understand the whole RAW process but I just recently got my DSLR and only recently heard about RAW once I joined the forum. Can someone help a noob out? Remember...laymans terms! Slow and steady for now :). But I am trying!!

Thanks for any advice you can provide -


Canon Rebel T4i | Speedlite 430EXII | Canon 18-135 STM| Canon 18-55mm | Canon 55-250mm
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Glenn ­ NK
4,630 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Oct 2006
Location: Victoria, BC
Apr 20, 2010 00:20 |  #2

Start here: …683&highlight=r​aw+vs+jpeg

And then do a Search for raw vs jpeg or jpeg vs raw.

This is probably one of the most asked questions - and the most debated.

In my opinion, if you want the best image quality possible from your camera - never shoot jpeg. I only shot jpeg once - the camera was two hours old, and I didn't know how to set it up for RAW. Four years later, I've never shot a JPEG and never will again.

If you shoot hundreds/thousands of images (sports photographers) then you have an excuse to shoot jpeg and will be forgiven.

When did voluptuous become voluminous?

MGiddings ­ Photography
Senior Member
964 posts
Likes: 9
Joined Mar 2010
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
Apr 20, 2010 07:51 |  #3

If you have to say convince me to use raw then carry on as you are. There are benefits with colour balance and lost highlights etc but yes they take ages to sort out and file sizes are much bigger.

http://www.mgiddings.c​om (external link)

Cream of the Crop
32,092 posts
Gallery: 5 photos
Likes: 129
Joined Oct 2005
Location: Northern VA
Apr 20, 2010 08:02 |  #4

Read the threads already started​play.php?f=18

because they have answered many of the newbies who are wanting to know more about Post Processing (PP).

For many pros, RAW data make our lives a lot easier. In RAW you can correct color, contrast and other settings easily with sliders. I bought some books that were helpful, like Camera RAW. I also met up with a few POTN friends here who suggested I try it. I never knew about it until I actually met people who processed the RAW files. So, I started to do that with PS. It is much easier than you think and takes little time to learn if you want to. Now I shoot in RAW and start my PP with the RAW images. Convert to JPEG after and save that way. We all start somewhere.

Suzie - Still Speaking Canonese!
5DIV, SONY a7iii, 7D2, G12, M100, M50, 5 L's & 2 Primes, 25 bags.
My children and grandchildren are the reason, but it's the passion that drives me to get the perfect image of everything.

7 posts
Joined Apr 2010
Location: Brighton, East Sussex, UK
Apr 20, 2010 08:07 |  #5

Everytime you shoot in JPG, you're asking the camera to guess what type of picture you're taking and make decisions about how to process it.

Everytime you shoot in RAW, you're just asking the camera to record what it sees, then you decide how to process it.

It depends who you think is most qualified to make the decisions. Personally, I prefer to have a bit more data to play with. Memory cards are cheap, and you'll probably process every image to some degree anyway.

Judge not the artist by the quality of his brush, but by the strokes he makes with it.

159 posts
Gallery: 1 photo
Likes: 1
Joined Mar 2010
Location: Madrid (Spain)
Apr 20, 2010 08:45 |  #6

Ah...eternal question !!
Raw is a jpeg like roll (undevelopped) is a color print.
Do you need your pictures quickly, shoot'em in *.jpg.
Do you like to change, change, change and....change again?. Shoot them in raw.
If you shoot 10 pictures in *jpeg, you'll have 10. If you shoot 10 pictures in RAW, probably you will collect 30, 40, even 60 (and much more). Depending on if you can waste the time on the computer..
Sorry for my (bad) english

A Canon gear, some lenses, mono(tri)pod, flash and need to learn...

54,657 posts
Gallery: 60 photos
Likes: 542
Joined Sep 2007
Location: Vancouver, WA USA
Apr 20, 2010 09:36 |  #7

Heh! Nobody can convince you, but you can convince yourself if you install and use the Canon software provided with your camera, Digital Photo Professional. This software has a uniqe setup where if you set your camera to a Picture Style that would produce a nice jpeg, you can then set the camera to shoot Raw and when you open the Raw file in DPP your Raw preview will use the Picture Style settings for White Balance, Contrast, Saturation and Sharpening (plus high ISO Noise Reduction) to show you what the image would look like as a jpeg.

From there, you will note in the Raw tab of the editing Tools that you have a whole range of adjustments to make that are not available if you are working with a jpeg. Jpegs can be adjusted, of course (you have tools in the DPP RGB and Noise Reduction tabs) but the range of Raw adjustments are "lost" to you.

That may be oversimplifying things a bit, so for doing a real comparison, try shooting Raw plus jpeg in a number of conditions that will require some balancing of shadows and highlights as well as a variety of lighting conditions and color conditions, and see for yourself which you prefer to use (or if, like some, you prefer to keep a Raw+jpeg workflow or to switch between the two).

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Cream of the Crop
10,247 posts
Likes: 3
Joined Feb 2008
Location: Philly 'burbs
Apr 20, 2010 09:57 as a reply to  @ tonylong's post |  #8

First off, your camera ONLY shoots RAW. When you select JPG, the camera takes the RAW data and pipes it into its on-board JPG processor to generate the JPG "image" to save to the card.

When you shoot RAW, the RAW "data" goes directly to the card and is not an image.

To generate an image, you use a RAW processor (software on your PC) which turns the data into a viewable image, much like the camera's JPG processor. The difference is that YOU have complete control over the image generation process. You can change the white balance, adjust the contrast/brightness/bl​ack point/etc....

So you can leave these decisions up to the camera's little processor (and hope it makes the right decisions since they are irreversible), or save the decisions for later where YOU have complete control over it.

1,487 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Nov 2009
Location: San Diego
Apr 20, 2010 10:08 |  #9

Instead of forwarding you to some links, I'll just give you the run down quick

Raw = overall image quality with loss of space and convience
Jpeg= Loss of being able to edit with accuracy but can fit a lot more images and easier to organize

If I know for certain, i'm not going to shoot images witht he intent to print larger than 8x10 I shoot sRAW1

Less space, taken per image. Same editing ability as a RAW and If I wanna just use the picture for facebook or something i'll just hit "P'' or flag it as one star in Lightroom, than use smart filters to select that group and export as a jpeg. I always store RAW files just incase. I have 3tb with of storage so It'll take a while to fill them up

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.... You design yourself" (external link)
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112 posts
Joined Aug 2008
Location: Ontario, Canada
May 17, 2010 23:00 |  #10

Another way to look at it is: RAW = More Computer Work, JPG = More Camera Work.

From experience, I can tell you that in the end the printed result is arguably similar if not exactly the same. Only the path that gets you there is different. Think about the work-flow and time required to flag, rate, and tweak hundreds or thousands of images one at a time versus the time required for practice and all the retakes required to nail a decent percentage of the shots you take bang on.

For those who choose JPG, RAW is still very useful. It's great for those shots you know you (or your camera) just can't get right but want to improve the odds of being able to correct later on with a little computer magic. I think of RAW kind of like image insurance for risky situations.

Either way making good photographs is going to use up your time, it's your choice whether that time is behind a computer screen or a viewfinder. Since every photographer is different, I suggest you try both routes and go with whatever suites your preferences best.

I hope this gives you some useful perspective. Good luck and have fun!

5D 85mm f/1.2 | Sony RX1 Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f/2.0

James ­ Salenger
1,681 posts
Likes: 31
Joined May 2008
Location: Virginia
May 18, 2010 06:23 |  #11

We really don't care if you shoot raw or jpeg, it is up to you.

I may not be the village idiot, but I'll do until
he gets here.

Cream of the Crop
6,428 posts
Joined Jun 2009
May 18, 2010 08:00 |  #12

If the picture is important to you, shoot raw.

I think Raw is just more fun.

Think of photography as golf. Every shot counts, and the less shots it takes to get there, the better. Don't take any shot for granted.

Thank you. bw!

1,785 posts
Joined Dec 2009
Location: East coast for now
May 18, 2010 08:10 |  #13

You get one shot to get the WB, exposure, pic style etc. perfect with a jpeg and without a monitor you won't know that until it's way too late.

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away and know when to run
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealing's done

1,094 posts
Likes: 14
Joined Mar 2010
Location: Guildford, UK
May 18, 2010 08:29 |  #14

how about a compromise. set the camera to save both then only keep the raw for the best 25% of the images. it allows you to come back later and make the most of your top shots, but you still have the others in jpg if you need them.

also i like having the jpeg as a reference when i am messing about with the raw. think of it as a baseline raw processing attempt.

3,079 posts
Likes: 4
Joined Dec 2007
Location: York, England
May 18, 2010 10:52 |  #15

adgjqetuo wrote in post #10027989 (external link)
I'm still shooting in jpeg - can someone give me reasons (in Laymans terms) why it's more benificial to switch to raw?

As everyone else has said, Raw is a bit like having a negative and you do the developing yourself. You do get slightly better image quality from a Raw file if you know what you're doing, although the difference probably isn't as good as everyone makes out. For me, there are 2 main reasons to shoot in Raw:

1) White balance. If you shoot indoor, outdoor, with flash, without, in different types of lighting then Raw mode is a real help as you can set the white balance as you're processing to make your photos look better. If you are shooting in JPG mode only it's very difficult to correct for a tungsten white balance if your camera was set to fluorescent, for example.

2) Blown highlights. Sometimes when you're shooting you take a photo and realise when you get home that you've made a mess of the exposure and the highlights have been blown out. Well, with Raw mode you've got a slightly better chance of fixing the mistake. It's not perfect, and it depends how much you've blown the highlights, but Raw files contain more data for your computer to recover the info from.

There are other benefits to shooting Raw, but those are the most important to me.

And now the downside: you have to do all the processing yourself. With the right software it doesn't have to take too long, but it IS a bit of a pain - it's simpler to just let the camera shoot JPGs and you don't need to worry. Also, Raw files take up more space than JPGs. Other than that, Raw files are generally better.

Hope that helps.

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Raw vs jpeg
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