Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT - JPEG or RAW?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by stovetop6872, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. stovetop6872 macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2007
    I have had an Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT since about 2003 or 2004, back when they were like $1,200 compared to about $450 today! I have always shot in the largest JPEG setting, but I am not sure if I should switch to RAW. I really don't know what the difference is between the two. Can you please tell me what pros/cons are to the switch? I only use iPhoto now, but maybe down the road I will get Aperture. I also plan to get Photoshop CS4 or Design Premium Suite CS4 soon, if this makes a difference. Thanks for your help!
  2. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000


    Nov 16, 2006
    New York City
    RAW will let you capture more detail in your shots - your shadows will have more definition, you have more headway to adjust bad exposure and the files take better to editing. The problem is, RAW files require (a lot) more work to look even equal to JPG files, because the jpeg does the work for you - saturation, sharpness, etc... the difference is, you can (probably) do it better than the camera, so end result files (once properly processed) with RAW can look better, which is why many choose to shoot raw. The reason products like Aperture are so popular is because you can quickly process lots of RAW files without having to edit each individual one.

    If you're an excellent technical shooter and you nail exposure and highlights on the shot, shoot JPG.
  3. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    Buy a couple of large SD cards for it, and switch to RAW. You will be pleased with the results. However, use at least PSE6 to process the RAW images, unless you have the cash to buy the other expensive software you have mentioned. PSE6 does an outstanding job, and is not expensive. A PSE7 version should be on the market in the near future. Adobe usually has a Mac version within one year from the PC version.
  4. stovetop6872 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2007
    Well I can get Adobe Design Premium CS4 for $299 when it comes out through school. The Rebel XT takes CompactFlash, not SD, and I already have about 5 or 6 of them. Is the size of each photo larger also?
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Raw format is useful in two cases. If the lghting is "tricky". That is it has a wide dynamic range and you are not sure you can capture the highlights and shadows. The raw format caputers a wider range then jpg. The other use of raw is if you know you will be doing a lot of post processing. You eand up with less processing artifacts.

    But if you can get good images right out of the camera that don't require much procesing then you may as well shoot JPG.
  6. jalagl macrumors 6502a


    Jun 5, 2003
    Costa Rica
    I suggest you switch to RAW for a few shots, download the trial for Aperture or Lightroom, and start playing around with them. You will be surprised at the amount of detail that is captured in a RAW file, and how you can recover pictures that you may consider lost (blown highlight, too dark).
  7. apearlman macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2007
    Red Hook, NY
    Size of RAW versus JPG files from Rebel XT

    Taylerwilsdon's first reply was a great summary. if you want a more detailed explanation, try here:

    I also shoot with the Rebel XT and recently switched from jpg to RAW, primarily because I switched to Lightroom and I can handle raw files without extra steps or software. I've also noticed that my adjustments seem to look nicer than before, especially when recovering highlights.

    Individual photos do take more space in RAW. My RAW files are about 6.6-9.0MB each, typical is 7.2. My JPGs were 3.1-3.6, usually 3.3. So a 1GB card that used to fit 300 jpgs now handles roughly 130 raws.
  8. stovetop6872 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2007
    Thanks for all the info!! I just tried going from large (256 pictures ~3.5 MB each) to RAW (99 pictures ~ 8 MB each) so I might have to upgrade to a 16GB card.

    Does anyone else have any suggestions or comments on RAW vs. JPG?

  9. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I just take both. I don't know if the Rebel XT has that setting, but I can set JPEG+RAW on mine.

    And yeah, I need a bigger card too. 4GB is getting kind of tight, capacity-wise.
  10. stovetop6872 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2007
    I can take both at the same time, but then I am left with only 65 pictures able to fit on the card compared to 99 for just RAW compared to 256 with large. I don't think I would ever need both because I could just convert the RAW to JPG. But, if someone ever needed my card after I was done taking pictures and they are on a Windows machine, it's very possible that they won't be able to open them, unless they have special program. This scenario is very unlikely, though. Any more suggestions? Thanks!
  11. stovetop6872 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2007
    Any other suggestions? Thanks again everyone!
  12. soLoredd macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2007
    The only problem is (maybe it's just me?) but I have begun shooting in RAW and use Aperture to process but how am I even sure I am doing my post-processing correctly? I admit, most important is the subjective aspect but it also bugs me because what looks right to me may look dark to someone else.

    I will say that the reason I have switched to RAW is because any post-processing will not affect the original RAW file. That to me, because I am still learning the post-processing part, is invaluable. If I start mucking about with my jpegs and keep losing quality, well, it's not worth it. And since I am pretty new to photography in general, a lot of my shots need edits. Ah, catch 22!!

    I would say to follow the advice of others and shoot a couple days worth of RAW shots and see what comes about.
  13. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    With Aperture, you don't constantly lose image quality, all edits are done live. So multiple, successive edits do not degrade your IQ, the original is never touched!
    (Unless, of course, you repeatedly export as jpg and import again.)

    Shooting RAW will complicate your workflow. If you still used iPhoto, I would strongly advise against it. Only with Aperture, Lightroom and the likes will you actually benefit from shooting RAW. RAW files take time to develop, they require quite some cpu muscle and eat up a lot more space.

    Before shooting RAW, I would improve basic photography skills (how to expose properly, how to choose the proper settings for what you want). Then you know when you can actually improve IQ when shooting RAW (one example is shooting very high-ISO (ISO1000+ or so) and when not (a properly exposed photo shot at at ISO200, for instance).

    So my advice is: learn the basics first, then you know what the benefits of shooting RAW are. In standard photographic situations, you will not be able to tell whether a properly exposed photo was shot in jpg or RAW.
  14. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    Shooting RAW can be very helpful, but also has some pitfalls to be aware of. You can easily asjust white balance in them, but if you monitor is not calibrated, what looks good on the screen may look terrible on a print. Just something to keep in mind.
  15. Col127 macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2003

    the only con to using RAW is bigger file sizes and you'll have to convert them to JPGS to share with friends and stuff.

    so many pros to using RAW - you have huge possibilities to rescue files and punch them up using programs like ACR, aperture or lightroom.
  16. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    But, the same is true of jpeg. You're just delegating the WB selection to the camera, which may not may not be doing a good job of things, especially in mixed lighting conditions.
  17. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    Very true. You just have to be careful not to make things worse. If you find yourself correcting white balance on many pictures and your monitor is not calibrated you may come out with junk. I know my camera makes the wrong WB choices in certain scenarios and needs to be adjusted, but before I adjusted anything, I calibrated. If you print your own pics, you can just print an unadjusted copy and see what it actually looks like and then adjust accordingly.
  18. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    IMO, disk size and continuous shooting speed should be your only constraints for not shooting in RAW. And with both memory card and hard disks becoming so cheap, you really should shoot everything in RAW. For instance, Adorama is selling 16 GB CF for only $24.95 after mail-in-rebate.

    Because XT's RAW captures each of the three color channels in 12-bit depth instead JPEG's 8-bit, you have significantly wider headroom for fixing common mistakes, such as white balance and exposure, while giving you total flexibility in color space. For instance with JPEG, it is next to impossible to fix overexposed image.

    Yes, Windows users may have to install Canon RAW, but I think that is a minor inconvenience for such big benefits.
  19. stovetop6872 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2007
    Does anyone else have this camera with RAW setting? Any other suggestions? Thanks again for all of the replies!!
  20. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    I gave mine to my wife, but all i shot with it was RAW. Look for Image Quality in the menu, and switch to JPEG/RAW, JPEG, or RAW. It's a simple as that.

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