Beginners Journey From JPEG to RAW : Why You Should Be Shooting in RAW

Journey From JPEG to RAW :

Beginners Journey From JPEG to RAW : Why You Should Be Shooting in RAW

Shooting RAW or JPEG is a question that every photographer faces, no initially but may be after some period. Initially we do not really care what file format we are shooting in, we just shot image and upload pictures. But once you get deep into photography you will get to know why most professional are shooting in RAW mode and in which scenarios JPEGs are useful to. So lets explore Beginners Journey From JPEG to RAW And Why You Should Be Shooting in RAW.

Beginners Journey From JPEG to RAW

RAW  and JPEG are the file format every DSLR has, irrespective of any brand or type. You have the options to choose which file type you prefer while shooting, it could be one of these or both depending on your style of photography.

There is a third format as well, TIFF (Tagged Image File Format). This is a old age light sensitive films usually developed in darkroom and then a negative was produced. This method is obviously not digital unlike RAW and JPEG. Here in this Beginners Journey From JPEG to RAW, lets first see what are these two files types:

RAW

All digital camera now a days captures light using highly sensitive sensor. Raw files contain the complete unprocessed data from your camera’s sensor, which means not even a single pixel is lost or corrected while processing. You will get what sensor captures in RAW format and you can then process this file in some dedicated image processing tool where you can edit this image as per your style. RAW files are generally possesses 12-18 bit of data.

RAW file format is specially designed for people who likes to process their image before using them. With RAW images are not compressed or processed hence it produces higher quality when compared with JPEG. You can also correct few problems/issues with image in dedicated software which is not possible with JPEG images.

JPEG

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) are normal digital camera images which uses RAW image sensor data to process it based on your camera setting like contrast, sharpness, saturation or white balance. Quality of Image is reduced once RAW is converted to JPEG owing to the loss of actual details in the image.

JPEG supports only 8 bit images and that’s why size of JPEG image is way smaller than RAW and its also not suitable for images with sharp edges and line. But with all this we have to say its a unanimously most popular format on our planet because it offers good enough quality of image without loosing much and can be used directly for any purpose.


“RAW is what camera sees with the help of its sensor and JPEG is what camera thinks you want to see”

Why You Should Be Shooting in RAW :

Quality

This is one of the biggest benefits. When you shoot in RAW you record entire data from the sensor without loosing even a single bit. This gives the highest quality files. And when it comes to your awesome images, you want high quality.

Color

RAW file generally has 12-18 bit of data, while a JPEG has 8 bit. In layman’s word we can say the RAW has more data like different shades of RGB, color tones, white balance or sharpness in each pixel when compare with JPEG. This gives you great flexibility to adjust your every detail in picture while processing.

Exposure

Sometime due to some bad lighting or wrong camera setting we end up clicking image which can be overexposed or underexposed. With RAW you can compensate this mistake while processing. Because every pixel has more lot of details, you can even brighten the darkest area of raw file without loosing the sharpness or quality.

In a common example, while shooting a landscape sometimes due to sunlight sky can be blown out and it looks nothing more than just a white color. In RAW you can get that all details in sky with color which is not possible with JPEG format.

Sharpness:

JPEG image is generally more sharper than RAW just because camera process raw image to create JPEG format for you. Now the same raw image can be processed in computer with more powerful processor and better algorithm which results in far better sharpening than JPEG.

White Balance:

This is not a very big deal I would say because WB is something you can change or edit while post-processing. Most of the software now a days are smarter than in-built camera processor so it works like a charm. But if you select accurate WB before clicking RAW then it would  be always better.

WHY JPEG

  • JPEG format is one of the oldest and widely accepted across different devices and platform.
  • Its also compatible with every image processing application worldwide, let it be heavy application like LightRoom or Photoshop or our childhood friend MS Paint.
  • Since image size is not as large as RAW files, these can be transferred easily from a camera to any mobile devices. And due to its reduced size it is also used to share over social networking sites like Instagram and Facebook. It retains the enough quality with minimum size

Conclusion

JPEG images should only be used in case you want small and portable images with smooth edges and color contrast with good enough image quality. However if you want to do post-processing on images and you want it with more sharpness or good contrast ratio, use RAW instead of JPEG.

As a beginner, frankly speaking you won’t see much difference with naked eyes. A bit of sharpness, contrast or perfect white balance ! All these terms doesn’t count much when we have just started shooting with DSLR. So try to shoot in JPEG most of the time and save memory, and when you are comfortable with technical details and post-processing lessons then only switch to RAW and see what you get of it.

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3 comments

  1. Great info. Yes you rightly concluded for a novice it is difficult to make out differences between the two formats. So, i usually have set up JPEG setting

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