The subject of shooting images in RAW and JPEG formats is one of the never-ending debates that exist in the photographic world today. Some experienced and professional photographers say they prefer shooting RAW better, while others say nothing better than JPEG. Anyone who wants to know which of these two formats is the best should first know what RAW and JPEG are and the advantages/disadvantages.
Having a thorough understanding of these file formats and the differences between them is essential for photographers to choose the ideal one for them. This decision-making must be the most correct since it is a matter of camera settings before shooting the images. Both RAW and JPEG are formats that are present today and generate interesting debates about their use when taking a photograph.
Those who want to dig a little deeper into RAW versus JPEG captures should go over all the benefits each one offers. Only with this is it possible that people can know which the best is option to achieve incredible shots and then edit them.
What is RAW?
RAW is a file format responsible for capturing all the image data recorded by the sensor when a photo is taken. When shooting in JPEG format, information in images is often compressed and lost. In the RAW format, this information compression does not occur and rather produces higher-quality images.
It helps to correct all those problems that would be unrecoverable if they take with the JPEG format in the images. Fortunately for some photographers, many current cameras on the market shoot RAW images without any inconvenience. Even on very small cameras, there is a possibility that people can take advantage of using the RAW file formats.
RAW images (known as “digital negative”) is an important image file that contains raw data from the camera’s sensor. An image in the RAW format must further process in the software before printing the photograph is performed. RAW is a format linked to a specific type of camera, and therefore, for the software to work with this format, it has to be compatible with the camera.
The post-processing of the images in RAW format can produce a greater, more dynamic range with better recovery options. In some cases, RAW can provide much more detail in images compared to JPEG.
RAW files typically consist of three main parts: the image sensor data, a JPEG preview, and the most relevant information of the headers. Popular softwares like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom allow people to view image data and edit all RAW files.
What is JPEG?
JPEG is the image format that uses lossy compression to store and display all images digitally. Thanks to the high efficiency of compression, it is one of the most popular image formats and is adopted today. Most display devices and software have built-in capabilities to read and display all images in JPEG format.
People may apply different types of quality levels (usually in percentages) to achieve compressed JPEG images. That can directly affect the overall quality of the images and the final size of each one. Lower quality conversions result in much higher compression rates, compression artifacts, and smaller files.
JPEG files are considered the standard file format in the world of digital photographs. JPEG mode is the default setting for many of today’s digital cameras on the world market. Many novice photographers start shooting images as JPEG files instead of RAW files to understand their digital cameras better.
This file format can also be extremely beneficial for all those photographers who are experienced in capturing images. The cameras already process a JPEG. The processor of a camera image has already developed it. There are also the possibilities that some basic settings have been applied, such as contrast, brightness, saturation, sharpness, and others.
- Shooting in RAW – Advantages
- Shooting in RAW – Disadvantages
- Shooting in JPEG – Advantages
- Shooting in JPEG – Disadvantages
- RAW Vs JPEG – What’s Best for Travel Photography?
- Why Does JPEG Look Better than RAW?
Shooting in RAW – Advantages
1. Higher Levels of Quality
That is one of the greatest benefits people can count on when shooting with this type of format. When shooting in RAW, each of the sensor data is recorded, thus providing higher quality files.
Technically, it can say that all digital cameras can shoot RAW. Despite all the technological innovations that a camera can count on, it is not as smart as the human brain or as powerful as a computer.
2. Potential for Tuning and much Finer Control
When RAW images are generated, all camera settings include specific information about the device and the manufacturer. That is better known as the image “metadata”; they can be added to the file together with the RAW data from the image sensor.
This metadata can use for demonstrations and RAW conversion processes, which allows you to convert a RAW image to color or black and white. The RAW images themselves remain without any modifications or “non-destructive” where people can make some changes.
3. Registers Higher Levels of Brightness
The brightness levels are the number of steps from black to white in the images; the more they have, the smoother the transitions of each tone will be. RAW can record between 4096 and 16384 levels; this can be described as “bit,” and this format captures 12 to 14 bits.
The effect this has on each of the images captured in this format is huge compared to JPEG. It is much easier to correct or avoid posterization in images when shot in the RAW format.
4. More Dynamic
RAW images contain much more dynamic ranges, and the color gamut is wider compared to JPEG. People can recover the highlights and shadows when some of the images or parts are under or overexposed. A RAW image provides a much better recovery potential than the other format (JPEG) in captures.
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Shooting in RAW – Disadvantages
1. Takes up More Space
RAW files contain much more uncompressed information and can be 2 to 3 times larger than JPEG files. This occupation of a lot of space is one of the concerns of photographers who are dedicated to creating many images. RAW files are much larger and take up more space due to their higher quality.
2. Slowdown of Cameras
RAW files are much larger than JPEG files. Therefore this will cause the cameras’ buffer to fill up much faster. Even if the digital camera shoots the same frames per second, photographers will have to wait for the camera to react. A solution to this disadvantage is to buy a memory card that is much faster or with a larger buffer.
2. More Files to be Managed
Because RAW files cannot be modified by third-party software, people have to go to different settings. These alternatives should store an additional file (XMP). Most likely, post-processed JPEG images will also need to be stored, which means there are more files to manage.
3. Proprietary Format
RAW files are often recorded in a proprietary format, and this means that camera manufacturers do not reveal how to convert the data without processing it. Worldwide companies such as Adobe need to license the software to decode RAW files or perform some reverse engineering. The problem arises when the person is unsure if all RAW files can easily open in 5 or 20 years.
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Shooting in JPEG – Advantages
1. No Slowdown
Due to the smaller size, all digital cameras can write JPEG files faster compared to RAW files. That also makes it possible to increase the number of images that can fit in a camera’s temporary buffer. Frames can shoot for much longer periods without causing a camera slowdown.
2. Choice of Compression
All digital cameras and some processing software provide different compression levels for people to save images in JPEG. That provides flexibility in choosing between image quality and size. There are some programs such as JPEGmini that help JPEG images to be compressed automatically.
JPEG images can be fully processed in digital cameras and use all the settings they bring. The main settings are white balance, tone curves, color saturation, color spaces, and more. People don’t need to spend time post-processing images.
The vast majority of digital cameras and devices currently available support JPEG images. That makes it an extremely compatible and practical format.
Shooting in JPEG – Disadvantages
1. Lossy Compression
That means that the image compression algorithm will cause some data in the photos to be lost. This loss of detail occurs especially in highly compressed files. They can result in posterization problems and more.
2. Limited Recovery Options
JPEG images contain less data, which significantly limits the dynamic and potential ranges of retrieval. That means that people who manage to overexpose or underexpose the images will be extremely difficult.
3. JPEG (8 bit)
These images in JPEG format are limited to about 8 bits, which imposes a strong limitation of millions of possible colors. It means that other camera colors can be discarded when the image is converted.
4. Effects of Camera Configurations on Images
Because digital cameras fully process JPEG images, any setting can damage the photo result. These resulting damages are irreversible; people must be very attentive to this disadvantage.
RAW Vs JPEG – What’s Best for Travel Photography?
Expert photographers suggest that the necessary configurations are made to make the travel photographs in JPEG format. RAW files include images that serve as a JPEG preview; These are the photos you see on LCD screens. In travel photography, people must shoot in both formats (RAW and JPEG), not just RAW, especially if images are published on digital platforms.
The RAW + JPEG combination is the best that photographers can apply for most cases when they want to capture images on travel. Post-processing is part of photographic work, and RAW formats are the best way to start photographing travel. However, this format is only ideal when people move photos to a computer and begin post-production.
The use of JPEG formats is when you only want to share the photos of the trips without making any improvements. They should be switched to this type of format to get continuous shots and better burst speeds. If you want to upload images to social networks (Instagram, Facebook, and others), the best option is the JPEG format, and if you only want to modify them in post-production, the format must be RAW.
Why Does JPEG Look Better than RAW?
From digital cameras, images in JPEG format tend to look much better than RAW. When shot in JPEG mode, the camera applies contrast, sharpness, and saturation to the colors that create an extremely attractive final image.
When shooting in RAW mode, the contrasts, sharpness, saturation, and settings disappear completely and give an unpleasant result. Although RAW format files contain more data, photos will look much better when shot in JPEG.
Regardless of whether people opt for a JPEG or RAW format, they must make sure they can capture the best shots. One of the general conclusions about this extensive debate between RAW vs. JPEG shots is that you must know how to choose both formats in their most appropriate situations. Those who are serious about photography should always shoot in RAW format.
If a person is only taking a family photo, to the landscapes, or for fun, he should do it in JPEG format. When you do not want to take full advantage of a camera’s capabilities, this format is the most ideal and recommended.
There is no better physical memory than the one that gives you a good photograph that you can use to hang it up, keep it in your wallet or put it in an album. Do not miss the opportunity to have a quality memory that will not be lost in endless files.
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