Saving in RAW or in jpeg

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by alaios, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    Dear all
    I would like to get a bit more of the background between raw and jpeg.
    If I understand it right raw is what hits my sensor while jpeg has some post processing (which I do not know what it includes)


    When shooting jpeg the machine can apply directly filters, do portrait framing (this is just an automatic crop) e.t.c (true or false?)

    I tried in the past to combine both, RAW and JPEG but then most of the jpeg features were not enabled (or I did something funny with the camera settings).

    In which format do you shoot
    a. RAW
    b. RAW and JPEG
    c. JPEG
    and why ? A Bit of background information will also help

    Regards and cheers
    Alex
     
  2. gio

    gio TalkEmount Veteran

    382
    Sep 12, 2012
    Manchester, uk
    I only ever shoot jpeg, the reason is I can't be bothered with the extra pp work in raw, I have never shot a raw image since digital cameras were invented,it's too much like the old days and developing and printing your own,which was a real chore for me.
    each to his own, whatever floats your boat, in raw you get in effect a digital negative, in jpeg you get the cameras internal software/firmware processing the info. you can do a lot more pp with raw, but you can still do a lot with jpeg too,and jpegs have come a long long way since their inception.
    some professionals only shoot jpeg for many reasons,but more than likely because it's easier.
     
  3. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Hoo boy, you do know that you have just opened Pandora's Box, right?

    There is no right answer to this question. I shoot raw exclusively, but there are others who shoot jpeg exclusively, and both of us have very good reasons for doing so. I'll let the jpeg shooters explain their reasons (hello, Claire), but my three main reasons for shooting raw are these:

    1. I want control over white balance, noise suppression, sharpening, and file compression. I don't want to relinquish control of those to a camera software engineers's algorithms, no matter how good they may be.

    2. I look at photography more in terms of creating an image, not documenting reality. So I want as much leeway as possible to alter the image that the sensor records. What's in my "mind's eye" is what I'm after, not an necessarily an accurate representation of the scene in front of the camera.

    3. As I get better with post-processing, I can go back to images I took years ago that may not have been all that great, and find ways to bring out something that I did not have the skill to extract back then. With a jpeg, it's pretty much too late to do that. Too many of the "possibilities" have been removed.

    Those are the three main reasons for me to shoot raw.

    And now I think I'm going to go put on my flame-proof suit. ;)

    David
     
  4. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Boy, you like controversial subjects, huh? ;)

    Ok, here's my take on it. Shoot jpeg if you don't want to mess around with the pics on the computer after you shoot them. Play with the jpeg controls in the samera settings until you get the result you like and then just go shoot.

    Shoot RAW if you want to manipulate the pic in the computer after you shoot them. RAW provides a wider lattitude for adjusting different things in the pic than jpeg does. One large advantage of RAW over jpeg is that jepg is a lossy format, which means in order to make the file smaller it throws away bits of info. Done enough times (open jpeg, make adjustments, save file) the picture quality really suffers. RAW is a lossless format.

    Shoot RAW + jpeg. Best of both scenarios. You get the jpeg straight out of the camera and have the RAW if you want to tweak it later if you need to. This option does take up more space on the SD card, but memory is cheap. A big advantage is you can save the jpeg as a small size for email/web use and the RAW full size for making prints.

    The camera will apply whatever settings you have made to jpegs, RAW files will not have those settings applied (except white balance). The camera will not crop a landscape format pic to portrait format, you have to turn the camera. It will automatically rotate portrait shots on the LCD during post shot reviewing if you'd like.

    I shoot RAW, because I'm not good enough to shoot jpeg and expect to get things right all the time so I want the ability to fix my problems using RAW. I don't shoot RAW + jpeg, because I don't use social media where I need a quick jpeg file to upload and it's a waste of card space for me.
     
  5. Nubster

    Nubster TalkEmount Veteran

    475
    Jan 5, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Chad
    Like others, I shoot RAW so I can make the end result be to my liking rather have it turn out like the camera wants. I mean yeah, a jpeg and still be post-processed, but not nearly as much as a RAW file. It also allows some latitude in making exposure mistakes because those are very easily corrected with a RAW file.

    On the other hand, like also stated, cameras have came a long way in the way that they process jpegs and in the in-camera options that the user can setup so that you get a result more like you would want. Of course, different cameras process differently, so I guess one thing is to figure out if you like the way your camera does jpegs and how much input you have with your camera to get an end result to your liking. I've been watching a lot of videos on youtube about mirrorless systems and I'm seeing a lot of pros moving from DSLR's to mirrorless and from RAW to jpeg. So I guess there's something to be said about that. Maybe once I get my NEX-6, I'll see about shooting jpeg myself. I guess the big difference is because with the mirrorless systems, you have that WYSIWYG unlike DSLR cameras.
     
  6. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    LOL!

    Ok, my turn...

    JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, the name of the committee that created the JPEG file compression standard (to make digital files smaller). You will notice that when a JPEG file is opened in photoshop (or other software) the file gets much bigger than what is was initially in your hard drive. When the file is closed, the file size gets smaller again. What you need to be aware of is that JPEG is a lossy platform and that there are various degrees of quality formats. As long as you keep saving the file at the maximum quality format, the maximum amount of pixel information will be retained but as a result the JPEG file will also its biggest. You can open and close the file as often as you wish, the quality and information will not change. However, when a JPEG file is saved down to a LOW or even MEDIUM quality format, the saved file becomes much smaller than before. In order to do this, the code averages similar looking pixel details and so the image quality degrades - and more importantly is lost (lossy) and can never be recovered. Once you saved a JPEG file to a lower quality, even if you re-open that file and re-save it to a maximum quality (the file size will actually get bigger again), the image will never improve back to it's original state. That's what lossy means... unnecessary information is discarded, but once that's done, it cannot be recovered.

    I only use JPEG because I think the MAXIMUM format coming off digital cameras these days are more than good enough for what I need them for. I always keep the original JPEG untouched and so when I need maximum detail for a very large application (or want to try a different way of editing it), I can always go back to the original (straight out of camera) JPEG file that carries the maximum amount of detail.

    The reason I don't do RAW isn't based on any technical considerations. I just can't be bothered that's all, lol!


    OK, I'll put on my kevlar flak jacket now... :eek:
     
  7. Nubster

    Nubster TalkEmount Veteran

    475
    Jan 5, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Chad
    I'm opposite. I actually like messing with RAW files. They come off the camera looking not so great so I get to play with them and watch them develop into something that I am proud to show off. I enjoy that part. Of course that feeling changes when I'm looking at four 4gb cards completely filled with RAW files that need to be gone over, pictures discarded, and the rest processed so that they are something worth looking at.
     
  8. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    That's exactly what I mean when I said I can be bothered... (but I'm not saying that it's not worth the effort and satisfaction) :D
     
  9. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    [cough][cough]slacker![cough] :p
     
  10. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    778
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    I shoot RAW+JPEG. 32Gb SD card - No problem with space :D

    If I need a quick image to give someone, the JPEG is there. If someone wants to see the straight OOC (Out of Camera) image it's there.

    I like being able to choose the sharpness, noise reduction, and make other adjustments to the RAW image. The RAW file contains a greater depth of information, whereas working with the JPEG means you are creating information that isn't there. I can also compare the JPEG image to my RAW editing to see if the camera has done a better job than me :rolleyes:

    If the exposures were spot on, I would be happy with JPEG. But they often need a little tweak here and there.

    My daughter shot JPEG for the longest time with her Canon DSLR. I finally convinced her to shoot RAW and she loves it. She actually shoots RAW only - mostly for space considerations, but she finds no real need for the JPEGs.
     
  11. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    OK, my turn on the firing line..

    I pretty much agree with everything Dipotick said, I'll just add that:

    By shooting RAW, the images your camera records is exactly what the sensor sees, no corrections on chromatic abberation, Barrel distortion, etc.. You are then given the option to correct these in post processing provided the software you use supports RAW files of your camera and lens type e.g. Lightroom

    By shooting JPG, the images your camera records is what your camera "thinks" it sees, and corrects Chromatic abberations, etc.. based on the firmware that is in your camera.

    Regarding image manipulation, it's pretty much what the others have mentioned, if you like to tinker with your images then probably shooting RAW will be more beneficial for you and if you are more than happy to just let the camera decide what the image will look like then it's probably better to shoot in JPG, if you are undecided shoot in both, there's really no right or wrong answer.
    The analogy I'd like to use is shooting with a 35mm film camera and shooting with a polaroid camera; Shooting with a 35mm film will give you the option of augmenting the way you will develop your film and the options using filters when printing to make the image suit your liking (RAW). While shooting with a Polaroid instamatic will print you an image without really much room nor the trouble of processing (JPG).

    I personally shoot in RAW, not because I like to tinker with my images a lot, but because I use specific presets in the software I am using (it's pretty much a 2 click process).

    I understand the technicalities involved but If I did not have to apply any filters in my images I'd just shoot in JPG because;

    I'm not really a technical shooter
    I can't be bothered
    I'm a slacker

    Time to put back my stockpot helmet on.
     
  12. freddytto

    freddytto TalkEmount All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2011
    Puebla, Mexico
    Well, earlier I used to shoot in jpg, but I had the need to change something in my pictures, so sometimes usasndo PP, showed more noise, more brightness, shadows and ends up ruining the photo, but shooting in jpeg and using creative mode, you get incredible results and also occupy much less space than the RAW and is lighter, so I started to discover the use of Raw, I'm a fan of photography B / W and discovered that these files using the PP, we can gain more information , changing everything we want and we can return to its original format and start again with another different PP and I personally revealed RAW put it in TIFF, this way although it has a much lower compression does not have any kind of loss and then if you want to entertain changing more things, so you can modify and save as many times you like.
     
  13. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Duzzat work better dan tinfoil? Enkwiering minds wants to noe!







    Do you have any idea how hard it is to type like that when you're giggling your damn fool head off?
     
  14. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    You know, some professor at Georgia Tech did a test on tinfoil and human crania, and determined that tinfoil hats actually amplify the signal the government is transmitting at us. So we're doomed, DOOMED! :eek:
     
  15. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales

    Hahaha :D well considering the size of my noggin it was either gonna be a stockpot or a chamberpot, but considering that the items might be otherwise unavailable, or has been used, as far as what the pot contents might have been, I prefer the stockpot
     
  16. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    One of my greater digital photo gaffes was to shoot an entire trip in JPEG in a color mode (Canon's "Landscape") that wound up looking very artificial and there was very little I could do about it. It was my own fault for not auditioning the various JPEG modes more carefully, but now that my computer can keep up with the RAW files, I see no point in committing to a bunch of settings like that in the field.

    I leave my camera on RAW all the time, now. It's one less setting to worry about as I go between various shooting modes. (And when I inevitably forget to do one of the many other settings properly, RAW is dramatically more forgiving.)

    IMO if an image is worth keeping and sharing, it should be worth at least a tiny bit of deliberation in post. (With all the handy tools and bulk conversion options in Lightroom, I am spending literally just a few seconds in most instances.)
     
  17. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin TalkEmount Regular

    110
    Sep 26, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    I like to save an image such that it is best able to be pushed/pulled as much/little as I want and in whatever direction I choose and to the level of presentation that I am happy with. I want to be able to make maximum use of future advances in editing software and apply them to older files. I want to be able to create a look that I can apply across multiple cameras regardless of each brand/model's internal processing options. I recognise that my tastes in processing may change and what I thought looked good now I might wish I could modify from scratch in a different direction in the future.

    That's as simple an explanation as I can come up with for why I like to use raw files. I am basically future-proofing myself from...myself!
     
  18. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    Hi
    thanks a lot for the nice answers (in discussions where people disagree is the place where knowledge resides).

    The question now is pretty much for anyone that took part in this discussion.

    Question-Problem
    Assuming that memories are really cheap (32gb costs around 25 euros), or you get 10 of those as a gift, why not save in both raw and jpeg? That way if you like the jpeg file the picture is ready if not, you have the raw files to start tinkering. It was only one or two people that was using the hybrid option and all the others of you have been going for either only raw or only jpeg. Are there any features lost when shooting at jpeg and raw?

    Regards
    Have fun
     
  19. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    No info is lost while shooting RAW/Jpeg as far as I know...

    Having said that, I too use the RAW/Jpeg combination, but I mostly keep the RAW files as an option to tinker on a later stage cause:
    1) I don't know how to PP very good (I really should devote some time to learn it :O) I have bad experience with Sony's RAW conversion program (too slow) and even tho I have LR 3 I find it difficult to use/learn
    2) I'm bored and/or don't have the time to PP much
    3) I don't "believe" in Post Processing much - for me, as strange as it sounds - I think a shot is either good or either bad (flame suit on :D)
     
  20. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    I shoot jpeg+raw. It is somewhat slower (camera "thinks" some time before it shows the image taken) but otherwise it offers best of both worlds.

    There may be some post processing done with raw files (we really don't know if the camera does something to the images and CA and some distortions may be processed away and that may explain cheap kit lenses performance or at least some of it). The real difference is that raw is lossless and JPEG is lossy. JPEG removes some information from pictures (things that human vision don't see or sees badly). Occasionally that information is useful like deep shadows may contain some details useful in post processing. JPEG is only 8*3 bit format (8 bits per color) and camera sensor produce much more (in some cases as much as 14 bits per color). As human vision and printing technology is about 8 bits/color (except that whole RGB scheme is unnatural, human eye sees color and intensity, not different components) JPEG works very well if exposure is ok (or cameras JPEG engine works well with under/over exposure).