JPEG vs RAW (NEF)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ericande, Nov 27, 2006.

  1. ericande

    ericande TPF Noob!

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    I know that RAWs are higher quality then JPGs, but what exactly do you lose with a JPG? I mean, at a glance they appear identical. Are there certain types of details that JPGs are inferior at (skies, faces, gradients, etc)? I've been shooting in NEF+basic JPEG mode on my D50 anytime I'm planing on editing the photos but not sure if I need to.

    Also, is there a website that describes in plain english what algorithms JPEGs use? I mean, how they actually compress the data?

    Thanks...
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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  3. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Most importantly, 4 bits of data, or 3840 levels of brightness. What does that equate to? Shadow and highlight detail that is otherwise lost in a compressed 8 bit jpg. You also lose the ability to accurately control white balance in post process.

    You can find info on raw vs jpg all over the net. Here is a good reliable resource and a good technical explanation:

    http://luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/u-raw-files.shtml

    Check out the entire website if you can. It's full of great info.
     
  4. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    RAW files allow for a greater level of post processing than JPEG's. RAW files altered retain their original "base" information, so that you can go in and edit them as much as you want and they will still retain their information to allow for further processing. The tradeoff is of course file size.

    I personally cant tell the difference between a RAW and a JPEG (Fine) quality picture; I would say if youre not doing "professional" work, shooting in JPEG at the highest resolution and setting (I actually shoot at JPEG large res, basic quality) should suffice.

    As for algorithims, you might be able to find that information on DPREVIEW.com - through a review of the camera they have. They sometimes have scientific info like that in the review.
     
  5. ericande

    ericande TPF Noob!

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    good info.

    so for JPEGs, a lot of the space savings is from the reduction in possibile brightness levels, then I'm guessing that higher compression saves more space by identifying patterns and recording that? Then you lose quality from the patterns that are "close enough" to be recorded as such?
     
  6. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    in terms of resolution i agree that the jpeg compression does not really hurt. but in terms of everything colour and light related yo udo see a strong difference once you start postprocessing. Just try to brighten up the shadows of an image which were underexposed... in RAW you will still have smooth gradients, whereas in JPEG it easily gets mucked up with visible steps in brightness gradients. And this is not really for "professionals" only ;)
     
  7. itoncool

    itoncool TPF Noob!

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    Great info guys... thanks for asking ericande
    I have learning so much new information about RAW from here, before I only know I could have more option while doing RAW in photoshop...

    I'm still new in digital, for personal reason I'd rather picked my analog camera than bought a DSLR
    but, I couldn't resist D200, just have it few months ago when the price is already stable... so much to learn
     
  8. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My little experience with my new camera and I already decided it's easier to just shoot jpeg providing the camera is setup properly. If I'm doing something important or I know I want to post process, or I can't get the exact exposure I need RAW provides you with some fantastic extra options to touch up a missexposed or otherwise camera miss-processed image.
     
  9. newrmdmike

    newrmdmike TPF Noob!

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    yes raw has tons of benifits, however . . . if you get to be really good is it worth the trouble? xsight.com.au he shoots .jpg. also, i've done both and the workflow with rax is SUCH A PAIN, and takes so much more processing power.

    but then again, every little bit that makes you better we should be working for.
     
  10. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    RAW is not just to correct mistakes. It gives you a higher dynamic range and lots more colors than jpg.
     
  11. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Hmm... maybe the RAW/Jpeg thing should be a sticky, seems to get asked almost daily.

    FWIW I do notice the difference in dynamic range in Jpeg vs Raw and the ability to fine-tune white balance later is something I wouldn't want to give up.
     
  12. Groupcaptainbonzo

    Groupcaptainbonzo TPF Noob!

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    With RAW you gain detail (see above) but you loose a lot of space in memory. So what do YOU want?... Memory is very cheap these days, and once detail has been lost in compression it is irretrievable.. For granny on the beach JPEG is fine. Ifyou want to sell images RAW is best..
     

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