Noob Question Alert: Raw & Jpeg

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by JackTiggs, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. JackTiggs macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    #1
    Hello,

    I have recently gotten into digital photography, and (I'm sure this is pretty noobish) I was wondering what the difference between RAW and JPEg pictures. Thanks!
     
  2. JackTiggs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
  3. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #4
    Too late. Now you've had your understanding warped by Rockwell.

    If you want the best picture quality from your camera, shoot RAW. Even if you don't process it at all after shooting, you're still going to have a better image from a RAW file than from a jpeg.

    You also may end up wanting to process your files weeks, months or years after the fact, and if you only have jpeg to work with, that's not much to go on.
     
  4. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    Not speaking for anything else, but what is wrong about the Raw vs. Jpg info there?
     
  5. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #6
    Raw looks no better than JPG for real photos

    That's wrong ^^^^^. And I just blindly scrolled and happened upon it.

    RAW looks better for the basic reason that there's more data there. My D300's 14 bit RAW files looked tremendously better than the 8 bit jpegs I used to shoot with before I got a clue and a bigger CF card. I was amazed at what my camera could do, and it bothered me that I had let a lot of great photo opportunities go by shooting only jpeg.

    I'm just talking about straight out of the camera photos, no processing whatsoever. Rockwell should always be looked at suspiciously, and never by someone who doesn't already know a good deal about the subject in question. Unfortunately, because of his high Google ranking for Nikon, the opposite is often the case.
     
  6. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #7
  7. NightGeometry macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    #8
    It seems the reasons not to use RAW are pretty much going away for most people.
    Files are bigger - memory cards and external hard drives are fairly cheap nowadays.
    Conversion takes a super computer - or pretty much any computer made in the last 3 or 4 years.
    Need expensive software - my dSLR came with conversion software, but Preview will convert for me, and dcraw is free...
    'Developing' takes time - I haven't really noticed this being a big issue for me, but then I'm not shooting thousands of photo's at basketball matches that need to be uploaded for printing in tomorrows paper. For awhile I did do batch converts RAW => jpeg using dcraw to archive jpegs. I used to run it overnight, but the process never took that long.
    File formats change, so software may not be available in future - true-ish, I archive dcraw and its source with my RAW originals just in case.
    You should always get the shot right when you take it - yep you *should*. I don't, unfortunately. Maybe everyone else is just a better photographer than me.

    Ultimately I just don't see why you wouldn't keep the most information possible. Do you throw away negatives once you have the prints? If so, then shoot jpeg.

    There are exceptions, if you fall into one, then you should already know :)
     
  8. Acsom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    #9
    How about file transfer speed... it takes maybe 10 minutes to transfer 200 raw images using a USB2 card reader, much faster with Firewire or eSata. If you don't have the 10 miniutes, then sure, use jpeg; it'll take 6 minutes. You like what you shot, it looks great and you got it right in camera? Choose your keepers and export them to jpeg. Yeah, I guess if you shot them in jpeg you'd save that 45 seconds, too.

    I shoot fast action in jpeg, I get more shots before the buffer fills up and more shots per card; changing cards at a football game could make me miss a shot (not that my shots are going anywhere, I don't shoot professionally). Otherwise, I shoot raw. There's nothing keeping me from batch converting all the files to the equivalent jpegs; but I can't shoot the jpegs and convert them to raw.

    As far as archiving, I convert the files to Adobe DNG (digital negative) when I import them into Lightroom. Editing remains non-destructive, file size is smaller, and all data is retained. DNG is supposed to be a universal format for preserving raw sensor data. We'll see, I suppose.
     

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