RAW vs JPEG Debate

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by benjikan, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. benjikan

    benjikan TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    454
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Paris, France
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Hello all...

    The RAW vs JPEG Debate is one that has been raging for quite some time now. I wish to share with you some of my own observations and how it might aid in your decision as to which to choose. It will not be a technical discourse as I am not in a position to do so. It will be based on my observations and how the decision will affect the final outcome i.e. the print media.

    RAW is akin to a recording that is done directly to Pro Tools without compression and JPEG is what that recording might sound like after converting the signal for MP3 listening. That signal has been compressed and as a result has lost some of the high end and low end definition as well as the dynamic range. This analogy can be directly transposed to visual media. In photography RAW is the pure unadulterated signal. Now why would anyone even consider JPEG unless they felt that their image was not worthy of that kind of rendition. It should not come down to a question of memory or cost of storage etc. It is an image that merits the best resolution possible that may in the future be used for a support that needs the kind of resolution that only RAW can provide.

    You may think.."Well it is only a snap shot." Well todays snapshot may be tomorrows historical archive. You are leaving a trace of history for future generations to view. Give your image the respect it deserves. Shoot in RAW...
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    Messages:
    7,021
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I shoot raw myself, even for family snapshots. I like the workflow and the flexibility in post processing, but I can understand the reasons many pros and enthusiasts choose to shoot jpeg. Jpeg vs. raw debate is similar to Nikon vs. Canon (or Pentax!), and slides vs. negs. These are choices individual photographers make based on what works best for them. Advantages that are important to me, are not important to the next guy. Disadvantages that don't bother me are deal breakers for another photographer. It's been demonstrated to me that similarly processed prints from properly exposed jpeg shots look just as good as prints from raw captures.
     
  3. zendianah

    zendianah TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Messages:
    1,310
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thank you benjikan for your in depth explanation. For me, since I am not even close to pro status that RAW is more forgiving. I can play with exposure and WB.
     
  4. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    14,491
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    Europe 67.51°N
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I am totally on the RAW side. Today's sensors are so limited in dynamical range, that I could not live without it for contrasty scenes. Also I always do the whitebalance after the shoot.

    So it is RAW even for snapshots.
     
  5. PatriK-b

    PatriK-b TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I don't totally agree.
    Nikon vs Canon vs Pentax vs... is like a car vs another car.
    RAW vs Jpg is more like a car vs a motorbike.

    I always shoot RAW too. I can't simply see any advantages shooting jpg. You can easily get jpg from raw within seconds by pressing 'convert' button without changing any parameter if needed. What I also never do because, at least, I want to adjust WB, sharpness or exposure correction for every photo or set of photos.

    The only two situations where I could use jpg is: deeper buffering for continuous shooting during sport events or running out of storage space on cards.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,817
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    A very good point that I try to emphasise when the debate pops up again and again. In this vein, I would say that comparing RAW & JPEG is like buying unsliced bread vs sliced bread. The sliced bread is quick and easy but with an unsliced loaf, you can cut it exactly how you want to. There is an extra step for you to do...but you gain full control over the process instead of just taking what they give you.
     
  7. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    14,491
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    Europe 67.51°N
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    only that RAW to JPG conversion is much easier for me than slicing bread! :lmao:
     
  8. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,698
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    If you shoot say 900 jpgs at a wedding converting them all does take time.

    I must agree though that I shoot almost 100% RAW. Convertion is getting quicker all the time and Lightroom has helped me a lot in this regard.
     
  9. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Messages:
    2,694
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Missouri
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Before I begin: I am NOT recommending that people take this as advice, or saying that I do it the right way. I simply present my workflow example so you can see how I do things... I do not shoot what most people shoot. Furthermore, I do things radically different than most people who DO shoot what I shoot. Many of the more snobby people consider me a total no talent hack when they hear my workflow... and I couldn't care less.

    Personally, for most stuff I shoot JPEG... simply because I shoot a FRIGHTENING number of pictures when I shoot, and they are not "mission critical".

    I take pictures of animals, strictly for hobby and educational purposes. I don't do this for pay.

    Example: my current project is my Zoopictures (clicky) website. Often, we (my wife and I) have about 4 hours to attempt to get as many good animal pictures as I can while walking over pathways that may cover up to 100 acres. We will often do two zoos a day, and we will have driven up to 500 miles to do them... so speed is important.

    We will shoot something from several different angles, and take many exposures trying to capture the exact moment.

    It is not uncommon to take 2000-3000 exposures during the day per shooter, times two.

    I know a lot of film guys would call us hacks, and say I should just wait for the proper moment, the proper lighting, the proper composition, blah blah... but I never see these folks producing better animal pictures than we do, in the limited amount of time that we have. Sure, if a person stands all day waiting for a particular event to happen (lion roaring, etc.) he or she can get an outstanding picture, and only have to take 20 or 30 images to get it. But that is not our game.

    We try to get as many animals as we can, to give people who look at our site a fair representation of what they can expect to see if they go to a particular zoo.

    About 70 percent of the stuff is thrown away out of hand, much of them while still in camera as we are driving home or to the next zoo.

    I know this sounds like a really odd way to go about getting pictures, but it works.

    It wouldn't work with RAW, at least with the equipment that I have. First, my D80 chokes after about 9 frames of shooting RAW continously, and we use some of the fastest cards on the market. Second, a 4 gig card gives you about 500 shots more or less if you shoot raw... so I would have to carry around 10 or so of these things just for a normal day for the two of us... EXPENSIVE... and third, it is very difficult if not impossible to tell the difference in image quality.

    I do virtually no postprocessing. If I don't get it right in the camera, I throw it away. About all I do is crop.

    I often print my pictures as large as 24x20, and they look outstanding (the print quality and sharpness). If my pictures look good on the screen, and on the wall, why in the world would I care that I didn't do it the "pro" way.

    To me, the proof is in the pudding. Do the pictures look good when they hang on the wall in big print sizes. JPEG prints every bit as good as RAW if the exposure and the sharpness is correct to start with. If I am not sure about the exposure when I am shooting, I simply bracket.
     
  10. Jon, The Elder

    Jon, The Elder TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Southeastern Michigan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I find that the word "debate" doesn't really apply to this topic. You can't debate that there is more information contained in a RAW file than in a high level .Jpeg

    What is under 'debate' is wether or not the extra file size/storage/time/processing and resultant image is worthwhile to the shooter for whatever reason.

    I shoot for money. I shoot horse events and farm/training facilities.

    My arena shots are at most 8x10's with an occasional 11x14. A large percentage are the old 4x6 or 5x7. Jpg's are just fine for this with my gear.
    Now, posed shots and farm shots represent a larger potential sale price. Add to this a travel time of 2 hours or so one way. Re-do's are either costly to me or out of the question.

    After 40+ years in serious photography, I've learned to eliminate as many potential problem areas as I can think of. In this case, RAW becomes just common sense.

    My cameras are setup to switch instantly from one format to the other with a simple press of a button. Why not have that option available to me?

    Just can't see where there is a debate on this one.
     
  11. Big Mike

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

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,817
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Good point...it's not really a debate over which is 'better'. The important issue is what is best for each photographer. In Sabbath's case...it looks like JPEG is the best option for him. For (I would think) most photographers, RAW would be the best option.

    I think a big part of the 'debate' stems from the learning curve and the workflow of different photographers. For example, I switched from mostly JPEG to mostly RAW when I started using better software and spent some time learning how to use it.
     
  12. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Messages:
    2,178
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Downtown
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I shoot JPEG's because I shoot for myself first - others later.

    Someone who doesn't have the luxory of going back and grabbing "that shot" to correct errors, would be silly to shoot in anything other than RAW.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
amount of pictures shooting raw vs jpeg canon 40d
,
canon 40d raw versus jpeg sharpness
,
canon raw verses jpg
,
david ziser really awful workflow
,

raw or jpeg travel photography?

,
raw vs joeg
,
raw vs jpeg car
,

raw vs jpeg debate

,
sharpest photo raw vs jpeg
,
shooting raw vs jpeg canon 40d