Aperture and JPEG vs RAW mode editing

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by kdum8, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. kdum8 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2006
    Tokyo, Japan
    OK So I love Aperture 2, great software. Unfortunately I only shoot in JPEG mode as my current camera has no RAW option. I know that you get a lot more post-editing ability with RAW over JPEG but I have never had any personal experience of the differences. How much extra does shooting in RAW really give you? I can still perform pretty good edits now with JPEG... :confused:
  2. valdore macrumors 65816


    Jan 9, 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri. USA
    Adjusting exposure and white balance are so much easier with a RAW file unencumbered by JPEG compression. As far as I know, those are the chief reasons to shoot RAW, but also you are more likely able to make a high dynamic range image from RAW than JPEG.
  3. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Other than White Balance and perhaps a little more exposure control, the main issue is that every time you edit a JPEG file and re-save it, you lose some information because JPEG is a "lossy" compression format. So if you make some changes, then save it, you're mostly ok, but if you then take the changed file, and edit that, you lose more, and if you edit that result, more...

    Jpegs are also 8-bit color, so your color space and information is more limited, though this generally isn't an issue other than perhaps for going to some pre-press systems and a few very high-end printers. The bit depth of raw files is dependent on the camera model.

    With a raw or any other loss-less image format, subsequent changes don't lose information. If you're going to make lots of changes, then save to a different format than JPEG for subsequent edits.
  4. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2005
    I believe (but could be wrong) that Aperture's changes to JPEG files are, like its modifications to RAW files, non-destructive and completely reversible. (Please someone correct me if this isn't the case).

    However with a JPEG as your source file, you have no extra, invisible data that a RAW file contains, to allow you to e.g. pull detail out of shadows or into highlights. You're also dealing with a somewhat-compressed file, which if/when you subsequently re-export for printing/the web/whatever, will suffer further compression artefacts (probably not going to be visible, but might be, depending on how hard you look and what adjustments you've done).

    If your camera only shoots JPEG, and you've not come across any of these issues as a problem in your work, there's not really any need to go and get a camera that can shoot RAW; it's not going to give you a dozen new editing options or anything like that.
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    Yes, that's right. Aperture's changes to jpg files are also non-destructive.
    The key, however, is a correctly exposed photo, then it doesn't matter whether it's a RAW file or a jpg file. People seem to ascribe magical abilities to RAW files, but in most cases, people should learn how to take better pictures instead of trying to fix things in Photoshop, Aperture or whatnot. (I'm not saying snapping pictures as RAW files is useless, not at all, but rather that it's a tool that should be used and learned consciously.)
    Plus, jpgs have advantages (smaller files, they can be instantly shared, etc.).
  6. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    Editing jpgs in Aperture is completely non-destructive, just like editing RAW files.

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