Camera settings Image formats RAW vs Jpeg

Why shoot JPEG? | Discover Digital Photography

Fairly typically in these articles I recommend taking your pictures using RAW picture format, particularly when discussing modifying of pictures. The identical recommendation is given in lots of different articles and dialogue fora across the online – for those who’re critical about images, then it is best to in all probability be capturing RAW, not JPEG.

Nevertheless, like all tips in images, RAW format is just not all the time the only option. Relying on your images fashion and workflow, JPEG format may actually be extra appropriate than RAW. On this article, then, we’ll take a look at the varied benefits of capturing straight JPEGs and avoiding RAW altogether.

Why shoot JPEG?


In the event you use a digital camera that features an digital viewfinder, or you use your DSLR’s liveview technique for framing your photographs, then capturing JPEG will help you in framing and composing your shot. Any JPEG settings that you simply change, resembling saturation, white stability, distinction, film simulation modes, and so on. shall be reflected within the picture you see via the viewfinder (or on the display) as you compose your shot.

View through an EVF
EVF by Sean Davis on Flickr (licensed CC-BY-ND)

For example, in the event you’re capturing in black and white, you then see the scene in black and white as you compose the image. This helps enormously in seeing what the final image will seem like earlier than you’re taking it.

Not only can you see the framing and composition, as you’d with a standard optical viewfinder digital camera, however you can too see the publicity and processing that might be utilized to the picture.

If capturing in RAW format, you still get some benefit from seeing the exposure of the picture. However the different JPEG settings might be discarded if you course of the RAW file. You don’t get the identical WYSIWYG experience as you do when capturing JPEG format.

In the event you assume a scene will make a fantastic photograph with a excessive distinction setting, when capturing JPEG you just flip up the contrast setting. And you see by means of the digital viewfinder or on the display what the picture will appear to be. And the way the picture appears might very properly guide you additional on composition, framing, and exposure adjustments.

Whereas with RAW format you’d be more likely to only take the photograph using normal ‘flat’ settings. You wouldn’t get the excessive contrast preview, and can be unlikely to think about making the same changes to enhance the image without truly seeing the effect in motion.

No RAW conversion issues

When capturing JPEG, you’ll be able to simply switch the file throughout to your pc and it’ll look the same as it did on the digital camera. Whereas with RAW information the appearance of the image is determined by the software you’re using to view / convert it.

JPEG image straight from the camera
JPEG picture straight from the digital camera

JPEG from RAW image developed using Adobe Camera RAW
JPEG from RAW image developed utilizing Adobe Digital camera RAW

Hues could be shifted barely, or distinction a bit stronger or perhaps weaker. Until you stick strictly to your digital camera manufacturer’s software (which few photographers do), then your RAW information are very more likely to look totally different to how they appeared on the again of the digital camera. This is notably true in case you apply a digital camera specific effect, comparable to a movie simulation mode.

If your RAW conversion software program is a number of years previous and you’ve just bought a brand new digital camera, you might find that you would be able to’t even view the information at all. Most digital camera manufacturers introduce modifications to their RAW format with each new digital camera, which means you want the newest software updates to open RAW information from the most recent cameras.

Not so with JPEG, which is a much more common format. You’ll be able to open it in nearly any picture viewer or editor, regardless of how previous.

Shoot fast for longer

JPEG file sizes are typically fairly a bit smaller than RAW information. This means the digital camera can save a JPEG file to the reminiscence card quite a bit quicker than it will possibly a RAW file. In regular use, the place you’re just taking a single photograph at a time, this doesn’t make a lot difference.

Nevertheless, in case you’re capturing a burst of photographs in fast succession it makes fairly an enormous distinction. It depends drastically on the digital camera you’re utilizing, however all cameras have a restrict on what number of RAW information you’ll be able to shoot in quick succession.

Should you attain this restrict, the digital camera both locks up, not letting you’re taking any extra photographs till the pictures have completed writing to the reminiscence card. Or it is going to nonetheless allow you to take photographs, but at a a lot lowered fee (once more, until the pictures have finished writing to the memory card).

For instance, you may need a digital camera that can shoot at 5 frames per second, however solely as much as 10 RAW photographs in a single burst. Whereas when capturing in JPEG format, the identical digital camera might allow you to shoot up to 100 pictures in a burst earlier than it slows down / locks up.

For Sports Photographers, capturing bursts of photographs is quite common. Capturing a burst of one piece of motion solely to seek out its adopted by one other piece of great action you’ll be able to’t capture nicely as a result of a full buffer is usually a drawback. And so JPEG could be a more sensible choice than RAW.

Horse Show Jumping at Spruce Meadows - a Straight out of camera (SOOC) photo
Horse Show Leaping at Spruce Meadows by Wilson Hui on Flickr (licensed CC-BY)

Having stated that, most Pro Sports activities shooters use excessive end cameras that may capture giant numbers of RAW pictures in a single burst. However if you want to get into Sports activities images and don’t have a high quality digital camera, you then may nicely need to attempt capturing JPEG.

Improve your images

When capturing RAW there’s a very real temptation not to pay careful consideration to your digital camera settings. You’ll be able to all the time fix the publicity or white stability later when processing the RAW file.

With JPEG there’s far more strain on you to get it proper in digital camera. While JPEGs might be edited (as we’ll come to later), they’re not as versatile as RAW. For those who’ve over-exposed your photograph and the marriage gown has come out pure white you possibly can’t simply get well the element with JPEG.

So capturing JPEG encourages you to assume extra rigorously about your digital camera settings, and get every thing set appropriately. It helps you turn out to be a greater photographer.

Not all cameras have RAW

This can be a bit of a silly level, but I assumed I’d embrace it anyway. Not all cameras can shoot in RAW format. Some present JPEG only, for example many telephone cameras haven’t any RAW choice. If your digital camera doesn’t help RAW format, then that’s definitely a great cause for capturing in JPEG.

Fishing House - photo taken on an old camera with no RAW support
Fishing Home by photophilde on Flickr (licensed CC-BY-SA)

It also needs to be famous that while some digital camera phones are starting to help RAW format, it often doesn’t supply a lot over a JPEG. Because telephone picture sensors are so small, there isn’t rather more knowledge captured in a RAW file than a JPEG.

Sharing & Distribution

One other good cause for capturing JPEG format is you could shortly and easily share a photo taken in JPEG. You’ll be able to just transfer the image out of your digital camera to your telephone or laptop computer, then share it with the world from there. There’s no requirement to undergo the RAW conversion process earlier than you possibly can share the picture.

When you’re capturing for a shopper, getting your pictures proper in-camera, and marking your selects as you go along, then you’ll be able to easily give the shopper the pictures on the end of the shoot. No waiting for RAW processing, the shopper can have their photographs there after which.

Now, I don’t advocate this manner of working myself. Nevertheless, will probably be a workflow that fits some photographers.

Modifying a JPEG is OK

While RAW format photographs supply larger flexibility in modifying than JPEG, it’s not as if JPEG photographs can’t be edited at all. When performing minor adjustments the top outcome is just not more likely to have an considerable difference whether the supply picture is RAW or JPEG. That is very true if the picture goes to finish up downsized for net viewing anyway.

Low key photo of a dog shot in JPEG format then minor edits applied
Jess – low key by Alex Matravers on Flickr (licensed CC-BY-ND)

You possibly can even perform more extreme changes on JPEG pictures, and the results could also be more than ok for you. All of it will depend on what you contemplate to be acceptable when it comes to picture quality.

Capturing a capture - Mt Dandenong. Fuji X100s originally shot as jpeg but edited as a single image HDR in Nik HDR Efex Pro.
Capturing a capture – Mt Dandenong by r reeve on Flickr (licensed CC-BY-ND)

Takes up much less area

As I discussed in the section on burst capturing earlier, JPEG information are typically around half the dimensions or less of their RAW equivalents. This implies you possibly can match many extra JPEG photographs on a memory card or a hard-drive than RAW information.

Comparison of file size of JPEG images versus RAW images
Comparing the file sizes of the JPEGs towards the RAWs from a set of pictures shot RAW + JPEG exhibits simply how a lot smaller the file sizes of the JPEGs are

Capturing JPEG can prevent money when it comes to the number / measurement of memory playing cards and exhausting drives you must purchase to retailer your photographs.

No problems with picture high quality

Technically, RAW format provides superior picture quality to JPEG. Nevertheless, actually this can be a moot point until you’re modifying your pictures. A RAW file will all the time need to be transformed to JPEG earlier than it’s distributed anyway.

Should you get the whole lot proper in digital camera, then a JPEG shot in digital camera will probably be similar in high quality to a RAW file converted to JPEG. And should you examine a JPEG shot appropriately to a RAW file shot incorrectly after which corrected in publish, the JPEG picture will truly be superior in quality.

Upper Waterton Lakes at Sunset, a SOOC (straight out of camera) JPEG image
Higher Waterton Lakes at Sundown by Wilson Hui on Flickr (licensed CC-BY)

Finally, capturing in RAW format nonetheless presents enough advantages over JPEG to make RAW format the only option for many photographers. (I enormously choose capturing in RAW format myself as I edit my photographs quite heavily). Nevertheless, that doesn’t imply RAW is the only option for everybody.

I hope via this article I’ve highlighted a number of the good points concerning the JPEG format and why you may truly be better off utilizing it than RAW. As I stated initially of the article, you want to consider what is going to work greatest in your images. For some photographers that’s RAW, for others will probably be JPEG.