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Confused.Com - Raw or Jpeg


TPF Noob!
Dec 30, 2009
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Caerphilly, Wales
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
A little confused regarding raw and jpeg. I read on here and in magazines that photographers use raw more often than jpeg. Why is this? Does shooting in raw give you a better picture with better quality ? And when is the best times to shoot in raw and same for jpeg?

AND also on my Lumix FZ38 it also has Raw + Jpeg as a selection. What is this? Does it shoot in raw and automatically convert to jpeg?

Sorry for all the questions but i'm a tad bit confused.

Thanks in advance.
The short answer is that shooting in RAW gives you all the information the camera recorded when you pressed the shutter, but it doesn't apply any processing. Shooting in JPEG applies processing to the image (such as saturation, contrast, and white balance adjustments), but after it does so the original information is destroyed.

Shooting in RAW is a little more work because you'll never get an image straight out of the camera that is worth sharing before you do some post-processing, but it gives you far more control in the post-processing phase so you can make sure your image looks exactly how you want it to.

RAW + JPEG basically gives you a processed JPEG image without destroying the original RAW data. You'll end up with two copies of the photo on your computer when you transfer them. It's nice to use while you're learning to use RAW, but eventually, if you're like me, you'll end up ditching JPEG completely because the image quality and ability to edit them is inferior.
okaay thanks !:thumbup: But what if your not a confident photo editor? I am currently using gimp and i am watching lots of tutorials but there obviously loads i dont know.
you might consider using both and as your skill and confidence grows with pp you will still have the opportunity to go back and use the raw file to have more personal control.
If you look at your RAW and JPEG files you'll also notice a huge difference in storage size. The JPEG files are compressed. The compression method used by the JPEG algorithm discards data for the sake of small file size. Depending on the camera make and model the data loss to a JPEG file is typically between 40% to 60%.

JPEG files are limited to 8 bits per channel storage. This limits the overall tonal range of the photo. The camera RAW files may store 12 or 14 bits per channel and so typically contain much more tonal information.

So, to save a JPEG file the camera processes the RAW data for total tonal range, tone response and color (WB) and then it takes that result and discards about half of it (compression) to achieve high storage density. Think of each of these processes as a decision that has to be made about the photo. I've yet to encounter any camera that makes any of these decisions well.

In your case this info puts you between the classic rock and hard place. But you asked the question which means you're thinking about it. In the end the only way out of the squeeze is to learn to edit your photos.

Good luck,
-Please excuse this cut 'n paste answer from a similar question running..

This question is always one that recurs as new (and old) photographers explore the art more fully..

............ The real answer is "It all depends"

Many professionals shoot in jpeg.. They download their already finished image and ship it off.. no more processing necessary.

The thing to remember is that jpeg is a "lossy" format, and so if you process it over and over, and even that jpeg image out of the camera; you lose some data each time you save that re-edited image. Eventually you don't have much data left.. That may not be a bad thing if you don't ever edit more than once. Your jpeg will pretty much stay the way it is as long as you want.

So, to answer your question just as you asked it:

No, you might not get "better" edits processing in RAW first, then converting to jpeg. But what you will get is the ability to process it some; save it and look it over or have lunch, come back, reprocess it a bit more; or even go back to it next year when you get new software or want to run it through a de-noise program.. or simply reset your RAW data back to square one.

Personally, I don't usually do any processing to a jpeg file (I do save a number of finished files in TIFF though, especially if a lot of time went into the processing). Jpeg is a final conversion for the web or perhaps a disc for a friend or relative (or customer), and once it's uploaded, it gets deleted - I can always make another from the RAW image, or simply convert the finished TIFF if I ever need one..

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