What is so bad about RAW?

Gavjenks

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Jpeg has exactly two objective, technical advantages: taking up less space in your card, and having slightly faster workflow since calculations are already done (how much faster depends on your habits, and could be anything from a negligible second or two per photo to a very significant 20 minutes per photo). RAW has pretty much every other technical advantage.

So if you happen to have very limited card space (something that you discover in the field. If you know this ahead of time, then you should probably just buy larger cards), then switching to jpeg only may be better. Or if you find yourself unable to let go and use standard conversions, or if you feel compelled to always use the RAW when you get back home even when the jpeg is sufficient (OCD-ish people), then shooting more jpegs more often may help save you hours of compulsive editing.

But outside of those two specialized scenarios, it cannot hurt you to have a RAW. Ideally shoot RAW+jpeg, so you can choose per photo whether you want or need to put in the extra editing effort, etc. for the best of both worlds.




You can of course make all kinds of whatever other psychological arguments about how it helps you "grow as a photographer" like the guy in that video is suggesting. Yeah okay, whatever. If you find yourself at all convinced by what he says, then go ahead and shoot a portrait session with your friend with jpeg only, and see if anything he says you agree with or not. There is something to the idea of "creative constraints" (as anybody who has ever played minecraft knows, for instance!) But when it comes to psychological arguments like that, without actual experiments to back them up, it's all just armchair philosophy. I could just as easily say the opposite, and there would be something to it as well!: By having options to alter stuff in RAW later could also arguably help you learn faster by letting you say "oh I should have done this" and instead of having to wait until later to see how it would turn out, you can do it now, and then know exactly what to expect next time with your default settings.



So...

It's probably not true for you or most people, and one could make opposite arguments just as easily. But "more creativity from a more constrained position" is indeed something that exists as a legitimate phenomenon in the psychological research literature (for things other than photography so far). My day job is as a cognitive psychologist, and not only have I read papers that make such an argument, but there are professors in my own department who have done similar research since I've been here.

That doesn't mean it will be true for you in particular. But it might be. Give it a try if you're intrigued.
 
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amolitor

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That video claims that JPEG is better than RAW for very very very specific reasons. None of those reasons are technical, all of those reasons are psychological.

He's making, essentially, the argument that JPEG changes the way you work, in ways that he personally finds beneficial. People who use film, or large format, or medium format, or ambrotypes, make essentially the same claim. It's about psychology, and it's very individual. He urges you to try it, but I didn't read him as saying "You ought to work this way" but rather as "You should try this out, see if you like it, see if it helps you grow as a photographer"

It wouldn't help *me* grow as a photographer, because it pushes you to improve things about the way you work that I simply don't care about. Also, I have plenty of film gear around for those times when I want to make those kinds of psychological commitments.
 

480sparky

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This is interesting, really!

At least he admits that "Get it right in the camera" ≠ "I don't need to do ANY post processing, I just want to do as little as possible".
 

amolitor

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It's sort of startling how little actual content there is in these videos. The second one has, I think, no actual content. It says actually nothing. Well, maybe he went so far as to say "sometimes, I shoot JPEG".

The first one says "Sometimes, I shoot JPEG, because I find the limitations freeing in some ways I am not going to define" which is enough content to actually fill in some details yourself.

There's a lot of chatter about getting it right in the camera, but not discussion of a) what that means or b) how one would do it.
 

Gavjenks

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Sometimes, I shoot JPEG, because I find the limitations freeing in some ways I am not going to define
Again, this is an actual phenomenon that is fairly well established and measured. I'm not sure he is obligated to justify its existence from scratch as a video blogger, when this has already been done elsewhere.

However, although it is known to stimulate your creativity, it stimulates it in limited ways, analogous to the limits you placed on yourself technically in the first place. In other words, it's a good way to get yourself out of a rut or to find a style for yourself if you have none, etc., but it will never be as freeing as it is to be creatively inspired AND unconstrained at the same time. Most of the research I've heard about on this has to do with "writer's block" not photography, so in those terms, constraints are great for getting you to stop staring at a blank page and actually start writing something. But once you're writing at a good clip, you would usually do well to remove the constraints slowly, to avoid writing an overly formulaic or predictable book (even if your constraints are very odd, once the reader picks up on them, it becomes easier to predict the rest of your story).

So in photography, once you have found a style for yourself and have creative juices flowing and know what you want your end product to be, then you should begin shooting RAW + jpeg again. Because then you can just normally use the jpegs (faster and easier and most of the time you will have gotten what you wanted in camera), but the RAWs will allow you to get more keepers by salvaging technical errors and push the boudnaries a little further now and then.

I think the pitfall that the blogger is getting at is if/when you have little inspiration, and you are relying on RAW to let you create a look that you didn't envision during the shoot. This will inevitably yield crappy results. And if so, you'd benefit from trying out jpeg only for awhile. But if you use RAWs more correctly as a technical safety net or technical enhancement tool, not as a creative safety net, then you're probably fine as-is.
 

amolitor

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Well, sure, it's a real thing. I'm glad the psychologists are looking in to it, but honestly anyone who's ever made any serious attempt to be creative has felt the effect. I am not a psychologist, but I think it is about removing cognitive load, and a few other things perhaps.

The point is that he spends a 6 minute video providing a piece of content that takes 10 seconds to say, and several minutes talking about how great he is. So far these dudes are not exactly selling me on watching more of their videos.
 

Benco

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Darn it, I never realised that having good stuff and using it to it's limits was restricting my creativity so much, I see it now, I've been doing my art wrong all this time.... must bin all my fancy schminke and unison pastels and go out and buy a load of school crayons in order to 'free up my creativity'.

What a big steaming heap of B U L L S H I T.
 
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tecboy

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I shoot raw files and export to jpeg and upload to website and my ipad. Why these people are so adamant about jpeg better than raw? This is false information. If you want to shoot jpeg, then go ahead. People have a choice, but don't insult photographers who are shooting raw.
 
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Josh66

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I shoot RAW+JPG because for snapshots, JPG is fine - for anything else I like having the RAW. And I'm too lazy to switch it back and forth depending on how good I think the picture will be.

Also, I'm not one of those "fill three cards a day" types, so I'm not really worried about card capacity all that much. I have only filled a card in a day once, and that was before I realized that I should buy some bigger cards.



I'm not saying that my way is better, just that it's 'my way'.
 

Gavjenks

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I shoot raw files and export to jpeg and upload to website and import to my ipad. Why these people are so adamant about jpeg better than raw? This is fault information. If you want to shoot jpeg, then go ahead. People have a choice, but don't insult photographers who are shooting raw.
You are aware that this post of yours is insulting people who shoot jpeg, yes (to suggest that it might be in any way is "faulty information")? Why is that acceptable, but not the reverse?

One might be better, or it might be an opinion thing, but it's especially odd to say "It's an opinion, so you shouldn't say jpeg is objectively better. Also, by the way, RAW is objectively better."
 

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