Raw or JPEG

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by photoheron, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. photoheron

    photoheron TalkEmount Rookie

    Jun 27, 2013
    Fort Smith Arkansas
    Why when shooting would use raw instead of JPEG? Are there advantages in shooting raw?
    Would picture quality be better in raw? Does raw require different processing?
  2. Bill

    Bill TalkEmount Veteran

    Oct 22, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    It's a fair question if you've been using cameras that don't offer the choice. (I've gone back to find an earlier entry I made on this same topic. I think it's still true.)

    RAW works for me, but I recognise that it’s not for everyone.

    Many photographers are fully occupied with the opportunities they already have. They seem to be saying that if they have extra time, they want to spend it taking NEW pictures instead of sitting in front of their computers working with OLD ones. I have great respect for that argument.

    I understand why a serious digital photographer who is

    • taking the time to make sure that the picture going in the lens is the one that he or she wants; and
    • does not intend to manipulate the image in the computer; and
    • wants to print at 8 x 10 or smaller (or directly to the web)

    will be happy to work with JPEGs.

    Also, I think that JPEG users are also right to see the format as future-proofed. JPEG will probably be around longer than most of the RAW formats.

    And, finally, many of the pictures that we take are of family or friends. Working in JPEGs means that they are immediately portable. They can go into emails, social media sites, photography sites, blogs, into the new live photo frames, or many of the high-res digital TVs — with no more work to do.

    A family friend, for example, is an inveterate traveler and photographer. Her travel compact goes with her everywhere. She has a lovely eye, and is quite satisfied to capture moments in what can’t be described as anything other than Art. <<Note the capital “A.”

    In my youth, I did my time in the darkroom. In those days (the early 60’s), the darkroom was the only avenue for photographic control and it was the only way to do photography on the cheap. I think that once you get a taste of that level of control, it’s hard to give it up. So, for me, shooting digital (and RAW) is that control -- on steroids.

    So, if you have ambitions (and the time) to

    • print at exhibition sizes or quality;
    • work seriously in black and white;
    • rescue shots that might otherwise be lost;
    • maximise photos taken in low light;
    • exploit the full potential of photographs; or
    • improve the aesthetic appeal of your photos —

    then you should be working in RAW.

    But RAW is not without its troubles:

    Working with RAW as a once-in-awhile thing isn’t fun. For me, working with RAW needed to be part of a regular workflow. (For this reason I found saving in RAW + JPEG, and and doing a bit of one and then a bit of the other unhelpful.)

    At first I was using Silkypix, Raw Therapee, Sagelight and Noise Ninja (all great programs), but in ad hoc sorts of ways. I had some success, but I struggled.

    There’s a learning curve with RAW – understanding what makes digital files tick. (If you don’t understand them, it’s harder to fix them.) I see now that, initially, I didn’t have a firm grasp of all (okay, most) of the digital elements.

    Two things turned that around for me: First I bought Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom introduced me to a real workflow. Suddenly I had a, well, flow. Then I got the Luminous Landscape’s Lightroom videos. In addition to learning the program, that series of videos took what I knew about film and oriented it to digital photography. (While Lightroom worked for me, I’m not suggesting that similar results couldn’t be obtained by other programs like Aperture.)

    So, Good Luck — with whatever path you choose.
  3. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Raw in general allows you much better damage control over exposure or white balance errors. A lot of times it's possible to pull back highlight or shadow details that would be lost in Jpeg. And fixing whitebal issues in Jpeg is very difficult and time consuming, while in Raw it's quick. Also with good Raw processor like Lightroom, it's faster to process the photo vs say PS, and most importantly, any edit you make is fully reversible at any time in the future. You can come back and re-edit the photo as many times as you like, and keep as many versions as you want, effortlessly.

    On Nex system in particular, Raw is a must for me as Sony has way too aggressive Noise Reduction even at Low setting, destroying shadow details in many out of camera Jpegs.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
  4. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    RAW. For me anyways. The three guys above me summarized it all pretty adequate, I don't think I have to add anything more here.
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