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  1. #1
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    RAW vs JPEG Debate

    Hello all...

    The RAW vs JPEG Debate is one that has been raging for quite some time now. I wish to share with you some of my own observations and how it might aid in your decision as to which to choose. It will not be a technical discourse as I am not in a position to do so. It will be based on my observations and how the decision will affect the final outcome i.e. the print media.

    RAW is akin to a recording that is done directly to Pro Tools without compression and JPEG is what that recording might sound like after converting the signal for MP3 listening. That signal has been compressed and as a result has lost some of the high end and low end definition as well as the dynamic range. This analogy can be directly transposed to visual media. In photography RAW is the pure unadulterated signal. Now why would anyone even consider JPEG unless they felt that their image was not worthy of that kind of rendition. It should not come down to a question of memory or cost of storage etc. It is an image that merits the best resolution possible that may in the future be used for a support that needs the kind of resolution that only RAW can provide.

    You may think.."Well it is only a snap shot." Well todays snapshot may be tomorrows historical archive. You are leaving a trace of history for future generations to view. Give your image the respect it deserves. Shoot in RAW...
    Last edited by benjikan; 07-12-2007 at 05:58 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjikan View Post
    You may think.."Well it is only a snap shot." Well todays snapshot may be tomorrows historical archive. You are leaving a trace of history for future generations to view. Give your image the respect it deserves. Shoot in RAW...
    JPG does everything I want, is quicker, smaller, and much easier to work with. I'll stick with JPG, thank you very much.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2007
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    The only people that debate this are the people that don?t know enough to know that there is no debate.

    A better analogy is this...RAW is like processing film. JPEG is like using an instant camera. They both start life the same way...light falling on some media. But with film you can make decisions in the darkroom that will affect the final outcome to suite your tastes. With an instant camera you have no control of the final image and have to take what you get.

    That?s all there is to RAW/JPEG. With RAW you have to apply, at a minimum, noise reduction, white balance, contrast, and sharpening yourself. With JPEG the camera start with a RAW image and applies those things for you. Usually, a computer can do a better job of applying these adjustments than the low-power ASIC in the camera. That, along with other abilities, means that you should be able to produce a better image if you start from RAW (and if you know what you?re doing!)

    However, modern cameras are doing a pretty good job of applying these adjustments to JPEGs. To poo-poo JPEG images just because you can get (with work) a "better" image with RAW is a bit shortsighted. JPEG is a tool, just like any other, to be used when appropriate.
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    Last edited by Graystar; 03-11-2011 at 09:17 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graystar View Post
    A better analogy is this...RAW is like processing film. JPEG is like using an instamatic. They both start life the same way...light falling on some media. But with film you can make decisions in the darkroom that will affect the final outcome to suite your tastes. With an instamatic you have no control of the final image and have to take what you get.

    .

    Instamatics used film. You may be thinking of a Polaroid camera.
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  5. #5
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    Yes, sorry. I meant instant camera...like the Polaroid and Kodak. I fixed it.
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    Last edited by Graystar; 03-11-2011 at 09:17 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Australia
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    I think the answer to this debate is that people can do what they want to do.

    When I first got my DSLR I said there's no way in hell I'd bother shooting RAW as post processing is not something I enjoy doing and I've always been fine with JPEG out of my other cameras.

    Then I thought i'd give it a try and I enjoyed being able to change the white balance and other settings in software and therefore getting a possibly better result.

    However 95% of the time I just dont have the time or will to want to sit at the computer and process all my photos. I have better things to do and Im not a pro.

    RAW is great for those who love computer editing and have the time for that process. And that's great, you're sure to be happy with the results that way.
    People who prefer JPEG love a digital camera for what it is, and that is to get quick instant photos with no delay. Although it may shock the RAW evangelists, the vast majority of people with digital cameras don't lose sleep at night if their white balance is slightly off or if that tone setting in the camera didn't quite work out right.

    I'm a fan of both RAW and JPEG and I think this "argument" is just a dead end.
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  7. #7
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    Smile I think Not

    Quote Originally Posted by longroad View Post
    I think the answer to this debate is that people can do what they want to do.

    When I first got my DSLR I said there's no way in hell I'd bother shooting RAW as post processing is not something I enjoy doing and I've always been fine with JPEG out of my other cameras.

    Then I thought i'd give it a try and I enjoyed being able to change the white balance and other settings in software and therefore getting a possibly better result.

    However 95% of the time I just dont have the time or will to want to sit at the computer and process all my photos. I have better things to do and Im not a pro.

    RAW is great for those who love computer editing and have the time for that process. And that's great, you're sure to be happy with the results that way.
    People who prefer JPEG love a digital camera for what it is, and that is to get quick instant photos with no delay. Although it may shock the RAW evangelists, the vast majority of people with digital cameras don't lose sleep at night if their white balance is slightly off or if that tone setting in the camera didn't quite work out right.

    I'm a fan of both RAW and JPEG and I think this "argument" is just a dead end.
    "I'm a fan of both RAW and JPEG and I think this "argument" is just a dead end."

    None of the images that I have had published would have been accepted if I had presented them in JPEG. In fact if I did so it would reflect poorly on my professionalism. It is a given that images will be processed in RAW in case the client ( in the rare occasion) wishes to re-retouch the images. I will do the re-touch in 16 bit and deliver the client the images in TIFF or PS format.

    The dynamic range for JPEG is generally between 7-8 stops and 11-13 stops for RAW. That represents at least 50 percent more potential latitude.
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    Last edited by benjikan; 07-14-2007 at 04:04 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjikan View Post
    "I'm a fan of both RAW and JPEG and I think this "argument" is just a dead end."

    None of the images that I have had published would have been accepted if I had presented them in JPEG. In fact if I did so it would reflect poorly on my professionalism. It is a given that images will be processed in RAW in case the client ( in the rare occasion) wishes to re-retouch the images. I will do the re-touch in 16 bit and deliver the client the images in TIFF or PS format.

    The dynamic range for JPEG is generally between 7-8 stops and 11-13 stops for RAW. That represents at least 50 percent more potential latitude.
    I have to argue with your statement here. I can understand why you shoot in RAW, because I do too. I never shoot jpeg, only RAW, but I do not think RAW is for everyone. Not all of us here are professionals like you. Many people who use dslrs want shots of their children, pets or vacations. In these situations I think jpeg is a perfectly valid choice. I really don't agree with the fact that just because you are a pro and need to shoot RAW then that should be the final decision for everyone.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by zmikers View Post
    I have to argue with your statement here. I can understand why you shoot in RAW, because I do too. I never shoot jpeg, only RAW, but I do not think RAW is for everyone. Not all of us here are professionals like you. Many people who use dslrs want shots of their children, pets or vacations. In these situations I think jpeg is a perfectly valid choice. I really don't agree with the fact that just because you are a pro and need to shoot RAW then that should be the final decision for everyone.
    He said he was a fan of both and never said RAW is the only thing to shoot. It is the only thing he shoots for his clients, because they expect and need that.

    I only shoot RAW. It's just a choice, and one that works for me. MANY professionals only shoot jpg, because it's not ultimate image quality, but being able to deliver high quality AND timeliness. RAW requires greater processing and that takes time. I have the time. Some people don't.

    A lot of wedding photographers shoot jpg. The shoot 300 - 1500 shots at a wedding (I can't even imagine the latter). The processing would take ages.

    As said, both are just tools. Use the one that makes sense for your particular situation.
    Eric Lund
    Nikon D200
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  10. #10
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    No he didn't say he was a fan of both. He was quoting the post before his.

    I agree, and that's what I said in my post. If you want to use jpeg, then use jpeg. If you want to use Raw then use RAW

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