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Raw vs. JPEG


TPF Noob!
Jan 19, 2007
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Las Vegas, NV.
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Hi everybody,

For the first time since I have had my digital cam, I downloaded the raw versions of my pics and I noticed that they are dramatically better than the JPEGs I had previously downloaded (shooting with RAW+JPEG). So, my question is: if I edit the RAW pics and then save them as JPEGs, will they still look better than the original JPEGs or will the compression make them essentially the same?

As stated this is my first digital cam and therefore my first experience with RAW pics, so any info/advice would be much appreciated.
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They will look better because you are starting with more "information". RAW files (photos) capture all the detail of the actual scene you are photographing, therefore more detail is available for rendering. JPG files only capture a certain amount of information (or the photo subject) and then fills in the rest based on the information around it. Therefore you are not getting a true depiction of what you are shooting.
Did you say that when you were using the .jpgs that weren't as good, you were getting them from shooting RAW + .jpg? Some cameras record a lower quality .jpg when shooting in RAW + .jpg, presumably to safe processing time when recording the large RAW file. Or did you mean that you were shooting solely in .jpg before, and then switched to RAW + .jpg to get the RAW files? If so, that shouldn't make any difference.

But yes. The images should still look better starting from a RAW file.
If you're using a lower-end Nikon, your RAW+JPEG choice is actually a raw file and a basic (i.e. low) quality jpeg -- that could account for dramatic differences that you're seeing.

While raw vs. jpeg is a bit of a holy war, the real answer is: learn about them both, and make the best choice for your situation. For example, I shoot jpegs mostly, but I occasionally go to raw when I know that I need a bit more dynamic range, or when I'm not sure that my camera will really be able to handle an unusual lighting situation. Don't let anyone tell you that there is a single correct answer, because (as with most things in life), there is no absolute here.

In the end, it's your composition, colors, lines, stories, etc. that matter. Raw files can help you get a bit more quality out of your images, and jpegs can help you get images from camera to computer faster, but if they aren't GOOD images, it doesn't matter one bit.
Thanks a lot for the responses. To clarify, I've been shooting RAW+JPEG from the time I got the camera, but I never got around to installing the RAW converter until last week. So, up until then, I was processing the JPEGS via photoshop and leaving the RAW version on the memory card. The memory card finally got to the point where the Raw's were filling up the card, so I installed the Raw converter and noticed the difference between the previous JPEGs and the newly downloaded RAWs.

So, as a result, I was wondering if I edited them and copied the result to a JPEG, if they would retain the appearance of the RAWs or if it was the compression of the JPEG that was causing the lesser image.

Again, thanks for the helpful comments.
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just use photoshop to convert the raws. u dont need a separate program, unless ur using an old version of PS. and yes, always shoot with raw+jpeg. i use the jpegs to preview the composition and delete if i dont like the pics, then the keepers get saved over from the raw.
I could never get the RAWs to load onto PS. The JPEGs load automatically, but it doesn't seem to even recognize the RAWs.
You need to update the ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) that your version of PS uses.

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