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View Poll Results: RAW vs JPG
RAW 48 62.34%
JPG 5 6.49%
Both 24 31.17%
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:38 PM   #1
PLEzero
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Default RAW vs JPG

I know this has been debated hundreds of times on the forums but I am interested to see what the current breakdown is.
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:16 PM   #2
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Personally, I go with JPG as I don't have a way to use RAW.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:25 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by crazytiger View Post
Personally, I go with JPG as I don't have a way to use RAW.
OK. What about when you do get a way to use RAW?

When I first went digital, I started out shooting RAW and high JPEG. I forget either I didn't have the tools to open RAW then or I didn't think I did, so I stopped shooting RAW. Now that I have the right software and some of the right know how, I really, really, really wish I had RAW versions of those old shots to get back and reprocess.

I'd urge everyone to at least shoot both even if the RAW version is just going to sit on an external hard drive somewhere. It would have saved me a "what-the-heck-was-I-thinking" moment?
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:50 PM   #4
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Joe, I would generally agree that folks will not regret having the raw image available to them, but there are a few caveats.

I've only been shooting raw for about 9 months and I still believe that my camera's JPEG processing did a better job with color than I am doing, now that I have more control of it. There have been numerous instances when I WISH I HAD A JPEG image instead of a raw file. Shooting both unfortunately eats up card space, which is precious while on the road.

When shooting in burst mode, I can just hold the trigger back with JPEGs and the camera never has a problem downloading to the card. After 8 or 9 frames, it starts to freeze up with raw files.

The decision on the file format also depends on how much you shoot. When I am on a trip, I can shoot a couple of thousand images. Those raw files rapidly eat up your hard drive if you do as many trips as I do. Sure, external hard drives are relatively cheap, but for each one, you also need a back-up. I can certainly sympathize with folks who have elected to cut down on the bits and stay with JPEGs.

Generally speaking, if folks are not looking to sell their pictures and they do a good job of nailing the exposure, there's not a monstrous difference between JPEG and raw in terms of quality and there's a sizeable savings in disk space.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
Joe, I would generally agree that folks will not regret having the raw image available to them, but there are a few caveats.

I've only been shooting raw for about 9 months and I still believe that my camera's JPEG processing did a better job with color than I am doing, now that I have more control of it. There have been numerous instances when I WISH I HAD A JPEG image instead of a raw file. Shooting both unfortunately eats up card space, which is precious while on the road.

When shooting in burst mode, I can just hold the trigger back with JPEGs and the camera never has a problem downloading to the card. After 8 or 9 frames, it starts to freeze up with raw files.

The decision on the file format also depends on how much you shoot. When I am on a trip, I can shoot a couple of thousand images. Those raw files rapidly eat up your hard drive if you do as many trips as I do. Sure, external hard drives are relatively cheap, but for each one, you also need a back-up. I can certainly sympathize with folks who have elected to cut down on the bits and stay with JPEGs.

Generally speaking, if folks are not looking to sell their pictures and they do a good job of nailing the exposure, there's not a monstrous difference between JPEG and raw in terms of quality and there's a sizeable savings in disk space.
HD space is becoming increasingly cheap. I wouldn't shoot exclusively in JPEG format for that as the primary reason.
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:29 PM   #6
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RAW captures MORE detail - PERIOD.

Most people are happy with compressed sound such as MP3's yet if you had the proper equipment to listen to an uncompressed audio file you'd have a hard time ever appreciating an MP3 for anything other then background music.

In the same way, should you ever have the need or desire to bring out the FULL potential of your images, you will not be able to UNLESS you capture ALL the info that is there to be caught.

With hardrive space costing next to nothing along with 8, 16 and 32 gigabyte flashcards there is really no reason not to capture in RAW (and JPEG if you prefer to skip the simple conversion process).

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Old 12-08-2009, 10:22 PM   #7
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I recently switched to RAW and definitely prefer it over JPEG. I now have post processing software that can support my CR2 file extension. I've found the temperature control to be helpful as well as the exposure/contrast correction. A few other various odds and ends have also made it worthy switching to RAW.

As Mitch said, RAW definitely captures more detail in a single image.

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Old 12-09-2009, 12:48 AM   #8
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I shoot in RAW only when I'm not really shooting "action." On the FZ28 it takes about 3.5 seconds to take another shot after snapping a RAW file, so it's acceptable for general use, but during action it makes getting more than one shot at a time difficult.

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Old 12-09-2009, 01:08 PM   #9
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I started to shoot RAW but then switched back to jpeg. Then I read a few of these RAW vs Jpeg debates on other forums and started to shoot raw again. It sucks at first because you do not know on how to work it properly.(software & maybe setting up correct exposure and so forth) After you make the switch and learn how to use the software & shoot in Manual mode, RAW is really great. I have been able to save a lot of pictures by being able to edit them in RAW. If they were Jpeg, they would be toast. It is a big switch in my opinion, but well worth it in the long run.

On a side note, and probably another topic is the software you use to convert the file. I shoot with a Canon 40D and I have the DPP that came with the camera and CS4. I have noticed a difference between the two color wise. I use DPP primarily to convert my files and make the changes. If I need to crop and level them and other stuff I use CS4. When I get the time to sit down and use CS4 a lot I will start to play with the mask and other goodies on there.
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:27 PM   #10
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I just shoot fine JPEG. I know RAW is certainly superior----but at 62, I feel most of my very best photography is behind me (stored in stacks of metal Logan slide storage boxes), so digital is more for the "moment."

If NS suddenly decided to order a pair of replica Southern Alco PAs in green to operate on a repatriated version of the old Tennessean through Bristol----I might reconsider.
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:54 PM   #11
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Is there even a modicum of doubt as to which format I use?
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:05 AM   #12
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I paid for a camera that can capture 14 bits of color information per pixel (40D & 50D). Why would I throw out 6 bits worth of data by using JPEG (8 bits per pixel), never mind leave the processing details up to an engineer at Canon?

I shot RAW+large JPEG when I first got my 20D. Found that I got better final images by processing the RAW myself, and dropped the dual format to save some disk (and CF card) space. Five years and ~143,000 CR2 files later, I'm still shooting exclusively RAW (and 98% of the time in Manual mode - guess I'm a control freak ). And it's not really that much work to process RAWs - I spend on average of about 30-40 seconds on each RAW to do the processing. Any more than a few minutes, and I don't bother with it. I'm a firm believer of getting it right in the camera - the mantra "oh, I'll fix it later in photoshop" is just downright lazy. If I get bored on some evening when I've got nothing better to do, I may try and save an errant exposure, but I sure as hell will never spend hours to save one picture (well, unless it's a once-in-a-lifetime shot, then I'd think about it). Otherwise, it languishes on the hard drive forever...
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Old 12-15-2009, 12:57 AM   #13
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These kinds of discussions are much like debating the value of frequencies only my dog can hear.

Again-----I shoot fine JPEGs, and my digital work has made Trains, Railroads Illustrated, and about eight to ten NS and CSX shots in McMillan's calendars over the last four or five years (I used slides for his calendar shots before then). I merely copy the chosen shot(s) to my desktop, open it with PS, convert it to a TIF, and do any corrections it might need. I never "save" the original JPEG. The TIF is burned on a CD. In the case with Trains, the "fine tuned" JPEG gets uploaded to their site. In fact, several issues ago, I had the cover shot---and it was done this way.

If I move up to billboards, I might shoot RAW-----but for the amount of storage space it will eat up on my computer and/or external memory, I'm perfectly content to row upstream against conventional wisdom. I've had a number of my esteemed photographic colleagues to point out the error of my thinking (which I fully understand from a technical standpoint)----but I guess I'm just too hard headed to change.

And again----if there's something REALLY grand to be photographed, I might shoot RAW. Today, however, the railroading scene is relatively nondescript, so I'll save computer storage space and shoot my little ol' JPEGs.
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:13 AM   #14
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I shoot raw. Why? I don't always shoot in the best conditions so I need all the help I can get. Next on the list I guess would be a 5d to help. My latest accepted photo wouldn't be possible without a raw file. Shoot at night, handheld. A jpg would have needed a longer exposure and/or lower iso to get what I got. A blurred train just wouldn't be the same.
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Old 12-15-2009, 04:49 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travsirocz View Post
I shoot raw. Why? I don't always shoot in the best conditions so I need all the help I can get. Next on the list I guess would be a 5d to help. My latest accepted photo wouldn't be possible without a raw file. Shoot at night, handheld. A jpg would have needed a longer exposure and/or lower iso to get what I got. A blurred train just wouldn't be the same.
Well, I hadn't heard of that aspect. While it's not likely I'll be out in the doom and gloom too much, I'll keep that in mind and shoot RAW if I am. Who knows....I might even change my mind.
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Flanary View Post
Well, I hadn't heard of that aspect. While it's not likely I'll be out in the doom and gloom too much, I'll keep that in mind and shoot RAW if I am. Who knows....I might even change my mind.
I needed the ability to pull out the dark shadows in the shot, especially the depot itself. I also need to bring some hot spots down including the red signal light and the street lamp. A raw image gives me a little more room on both sides in a high dynamic range shot like this.

Now a nicely lit shot a jpg is more then fine as they are with many other conditions but I like my image processing procedure and choices with a raw file.
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Old 12-26-2009, 01:54 PM   #17
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I am new to the whole digital photography world but I have found that shooting in the RAW+L mode allows me to browse the photo's easily and once I start messing with a CR2 file I always have the JPG to look back at for a reference.
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Old 12-28-2009, 03:03 AM   #18
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Maybe the question should have been "Why don't you shoot RAW?"??

Most of us know that RAW is like having the negative from the days of film versus having the print (jpeg). RAW can surpass jpeg quality but jpeg can never surpass RAW...think about it, every jpeg your camera generates is from the same RAW information that is contained in the RAW file. No debate here I hope.

I can only think of possibly one technical reason not to shoot using the RAW format...when shooting many frames where the action necessitates this. My camera will do 17 RAW frames before buffering, but it will do 75 jpeg. So in this instance if someone needed to rattle off more than 17 shots quickly than your only choice is jpeg (using a Canon 40D).

Several folks mentioned storage as an issue, I don't agree. First I just bought 4gig CF cards for $13 each....I go with 4gig cards size as it is easy to burn off to 4.7 gig DVD's, so cost is not a serious factor.

Also someone mentioned HD space concerns...no issue there. Once you tweak the RAW file if needed, it is then saved out in whatever format you want and delete the RAW file not to mention HD costs are minimal too.

All other reasons to not shoot RAW that I have ever heard are preferential, such as more time on the computer and such. I really don't know of any other technical barriers that would promote someone to shoot in jpeg.
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Old 12-31-2009, 05:42 AM   #19
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It would seem to be that people who resist going to RAW after JPEG are simply people who resist for the sake of resisting.

IF your JPEG exposure is spot on and as well as your color balance, you will be fine 90% of the time.

However, if you were me you'd know this shot was a grab.

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RAW made it possible.

Me? Action happens too fast and like Travis, I need all the latitude I can get.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:04 PM   #20
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Default Prefer Raw but can work with either

Perhaps its my software but doing the preliminary processing is much easier using a histogram and then going from there. Being mindful of the dynamic range of the medium has carried over from my 35MM days, I expect.

That bravely said, I only started using RAW a few weeks ago but have been happy with the change. There have been several shots that were rejected due to post-processing issues (IMHO). The software which comes with the
Canon D5 MKII works fairly well. I'd like to try Adobe Raw but I suspect that like most Adobe full featured products, the learning curve is fairly steep.
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:36 PM   #21
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I'd like to try Adobe Raw but I suspect that like most Adobe full featured products, the learning curve is fairly steep.
I import my RAW images into Aperture, tweak it in Adjustments, done.

I have escaped the whole RAW conversion thing so it never has been an issue at all for me.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:42 PM   #22
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I will shoot jpegs if I know I will need room, RAW fills the buffer fast and in some cases if the light is good I will rip 40+ jpegs,( Like in snow shots ) In RAW I will get 14 shots before it slows down. Jpegs is a good format if you know how to handle them, Like Ron he works them the right way.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:49 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serrator View Post
Once you tweak the RAW file if needed, it is then saved out in whatever format you want and delete the RAW file not to mention HD costs are minimal too.
Only delete if you don't think you will get better at post processing later on. Standard daylight shots thats ok but if the lights tuff save the RAW.
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:33 PM   #24
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Also someone mentioned HD space concerns...no issue there. Once you tweak the RAW file if needed, it is then saved out in whatever format you want and delete the RAW file not to mention HD costs are minimal too.
No, no, no!!! Deleting the RAW file is, in my opinion, just plain stupid. It's like throwing away a negative. You never know when you may need it. Maybe never. But maybe you look at that shot and realize there is some issue you know how to work on better now than when you first processed the shot. Or something you over looked.

I save every RAW file I shoot unless there is something unfixable about it like horribly out of focus. I'm behind in backing up to disk, but that's generally the only image I save to disk is the RAW. If something unforeseen happens, I still have the digital negative.

Most of what you wrote, I agree with. But throwing away the RAW file is not one of them.
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Old 01-05-2010, 01:46 AM   #25
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No, no, no!!! Deleting the RAW file is, in my opinion, just plain stupid. It's like throwing away a negative. You never know when you may need it. Maybe never. But maybe you look at that shot and realize there is some issue you know how to work on better now than when you first processed the shot. Or something you over looked.

I save every RAW file I shoot unless there is something unfixable about it like horribly out of focus. I'm behind in backing up to disk, but that's generally the only image I save to disk is the RAW. If something unforeseen happens, I still have the digital negative.

Most of what you wrote, I agree with. But throwing away the RAW file is not one of them.
Joe, I agree completely. My point, although not clearly detailed, is that for anyone who only shoots jpeg and uses hard drive space as a barrier to shooting in RAW makes no sense. Since the RAW image *can be* deleted once the jpeg has been saved and the same amount of hard disk space is used. In other words no one is forcing jpeg shooters to save their RAW files along with their jpegs.

Let me be clear I am not condoning throwing away the RAW file, it's just from the standpoint of the jpeg shooter never has that (RAW file) to begin with so for him to throw it away after converting it makes the hard drive space a non-issue.

Example:
Photographer A.... jpeg shooter only shoots 100 pictures that equals 100 megs.
Photographer B...RAW shooter only shoots 100 pictures that equals 300 megs.

Now the RAW shooter converts his 100 images to jpegs and it now also equals 100 megs just like photographer A. Now if the RAW shooter deletes his RAW files he has the same amount of disk space used as the original jpeg shooter. So ultimately hard disk space is a moot point for the jpeg shooter since even if using RAW he can still end up using the same amount hard disk space.

Sorry I was not clear on that and I hope this clears up my comment.
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