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View Full Version : Should I be Shooting in JPEG or RAW?



Hallow's Maiden
09-28-2008, 04:08 PM
Nikon D80 - What should I be shooting in? JPEG? RAW?

For the histogram i can get on my screen.. I googled it and it said it could be very worthwhile to keep it on the screen... should i? Should the colors be somewhere in the middle?

Travis
09-28-2008, 06:23 PM
shooting raw gives you better latitude in post production... however, the latitude is useless to an uninformed user...... raw files are larger and require an eventual conversion to jpg before they can be shared with the public...

my advice would be to start with jpeg and focus on your in camera skills.... then once you have a solid foundation.... start shooting raw and learn how to maximize your imagery.. you can do both at once but the learning curve will be way longer..

in most situations, the histogram will provide useful information regarding the tonality of your image... it certainly doesn't hurt for you to learn and observe it..

tomorrowstreasures
09-28-2008, 08:54 PM
Travis. really good insight? (slash) advice for HM!

AcadieLibre
09-28-2008, 09:01 PM
I suggest shooting in RAW. I advocate it because it does give you the ability to correct photos afterwards. Honing your skills when shooting also should coincide with your ability to do post-processing work. Yes the files are much larger but the ability to get inexpensive storage seems to nullify that as a reason these days. Even if you just convert them to JPEG and keep the RAW file as a back up for now, when you do get the ability to use the RAW file to its full potential you can go back into your files and work on photos you may have considered lost that are one of a kind that you cannot repeat. I am a strong advocate for shooting in RAW, it has issues, would be nice if they standardized it but you can always go with Adobe DNG (http://www.adobe.com/products/dng/). Just because you are learning is not a reason to shoot in RAW. It just one opinion, I think Travis makes some valid points, in the end it is your choice and just giving you another opinion.

tirediron
09-28-2008, 09:12 PM
I'm going to side with AcadieLibre on this one. Shoot RAW, convert to .jpg and save the RAW files for later.

morgan
09-30-2008, 10:42 PM
my camera has an option to get both raw & jpg. When i made the switch from jpg to raw, i used this setting. i now feel comfortable to shoot in only raw. i wish i would have used the setting to capture both from the start. I love editing my raw images now that i know how to do it. i'll never go back!

PKMax
10-01-2008, 02:23 AM
I'd shoot in RAW to begin with, I originally shot in jpg because I hadn't really understood what the point of RAW was, but shooting JPG loses a lot of information in the photo that you can't recover. it's also a lossy compression, so it loses some individual pixel information by merging pixels with neighbouring pixels to make up areas of colour if the pixel colours are similar enough.

the way in which the camera produces the JPG means that whatever settings you had switched on at the time in the camera, like a vivid mode, or sharp mode etc, these actually modify the image to form the JPG, where as if you shoot in RAW these settings are only stored in the RAW file as what the camera was set to, so it's a more versatile image.

I have on occasion gone back to an old JPG file that I've taken to try and process it, and it's a lot harder to play with and I wish I'd shot it in RAW at the time. I also found that some software won't play with JPG and requires RAW for some things, like some HDR software if your trying to do Single Photo HDR etc.

PKMax
10-01-2008, 02:57 AM
Regarding the Histogram, I tend not to have it on the screen all the time, because my first check of the photo is, Does it look like what I expected, or like. and the histogram gets in the way.. but I do when I've got the photo I want have a gander at the Histogram to make sure I've got a good range in there and haven't blown out the whites or something. (unless I wanted too.)

mindforge
10-01-2008, 05:37 AM
Regarding the Histogram, I tend not to have it on the screen all the time, because my first check of the photo is, Does it look like what I expected, or like. and the histogram gets in the way.. but I do when I've got the photo I want have a gander at the Histogram to make sure I've got a good range in there and haven't blown out the whites or something. (unless I wanted too.)

I usually don't use the histogram when I am shooting... I do use it later in my RAW conversion and in post processing.

tegan
10-01-2008, 08:57 PM
I know all the reasons for shooting RAW but someone should mention the caveats and reasons for hesitation.

1. It is easier and faster to preview jpeg than it is to preview RAW.

2. Minor changes can be done faster in jpeg, than working through RAW.

3. Multiple shooting is faster in jpeg than RAW.

4. Some newer cameras are producing better quality jpegs that require less
processing than the RAW versions.

5. Jpegs can be edited in 16 bit which was once only possible with RAW
formats.

6. Could you differentiate between jpeg original and editing, versus RAW
original, editing and conversion to jpeg?

7. If minimal editing is required, then jpeg is faster than working through
RAW format, editing and conversion.

8. RAW versions can be used like negatives but even for pros a negative is
not always necessary and negatively takes up space and needs to be put
into a database of some sort, despite the fact that it may never be
looked at again.

Tegan

Travis
10-02-2008, 08:16 AM
I know all the reasons for shooting RAW but someone should mention the caveats and reasons for hesitation.

1. It is easier and faster to preview jpeg than it is to preview RAW.

2. Minor changes can be done faster in jpeg, than working through RAW.

3. Multiple shooting is faster in jpeg than RAW.

4. Some newer cameras are producing better quality jpegs that require less
processing than the RAW versions.

5. Jpegs can be edited in 16 bit which was once only possible with RAW
formats.

6. Could you differentiate between jpeg original and editing, versus RAW
original, editing and conversion to jpeg?

7. If minimal editing is required, then jpeg is faster than working through
RAW format, editing and conversion.

8. RAW versions can be used like negatives but even for pros a negative is
not always necessary and negatively takes up space and needs to be put
into a database of some sort, despite the fact that it may never be
looked at again.

Tegan

These are all good and valid points....

If you are one to take the time to set up your camera there is plenty of latitude to post process your images.

The only reasons I see to shoot RAW are :

(1) You suck so bad with your in camera set up, that you need that extra information to square up your image

(2) You are the type of shooter who regularly extensively edits your image

(3) You are getting paid, in which case it is silly to not take all precautions

(4) You are an advanced hobbyist who is uncomfortable in discarding the mostly useless information discarded when a camera converts an image to jpg


The RAW vs JPG thing is really a personal preference thing. There is no right or wrong decision. I now shoot RAW all the time, but that's only because Lightroom2 makes the conversion process so quick a seamless. If I still had to use a heavy developer/editior like photoshop or psp..... i'd most likely still be shooting jpg unless the shoot was really important...

JoeMezz
10-04-2008, 05:08 PM
shooting raw gives you better latitude in post production... however, the latitude is useless to an uninformed user...... raw files are larger and require an eventual conversion to jpg before they can be shared with the public...

my advice would be to start with jpeg and focus on your in camera skills.... then once you have a solid foundation.... start shooting raw and learn how to maximize your imagery.. you can do both at once but the learning curve will be way longer..

in most situations, the histogram will provide useful information regarding the tonality of your image... it certainly doesn't hurt for you to learn and observe it..

I agree with Travis.. shoot jog until you outgrow that and then shoot raw.

krphotogs
10-23-2008, 11:12 PM
Allow me to add my thoughts on this.... I think it depends on what you shoot, if you are going to shoot a hundred shots and post them all to a web-site for friends and family to see - shoot jpeg you will go crazy try to PP them. If you are going to take a hundred shots, and cull them down to 10 or 15 really good ones - shoot in raw.

Jpeg - being an 8 bit file has a much smaller number of colors that can be displayed versus a raw or tiff file (sorry, I have heard aobut 16 bit jpeg but no experience with it). Every time you save a jpeg file by definition you are degrading the quality of the image. Work in raw then your last step is write the jpeg file.

I agree with the one post who commented that you can develop your PP ability while working on your photographic skills. But, if I get to be really good at taking photos one day I may switch back to jpeg - but right now it saves me every now and then.

Kevin

tirediron
10-24-2008, 09:56 AM
One further point against .jpg. It's a lossy format, that is: Each time you open, edit and save a .jpg image, you lose a bit of information. If you go back and make a number of edits to the same image as a result of bad planning, or a change of mind, you're going to wind up with a significantly degraded image.

baddness
10-24-2008, 10:23 AM
Just a question. When shooting and doing post in RAW, change to 8 bit so that you can save as jpeg, is image quality lost?

Travis
10-24-2008, 10:32 AM
Just a question. When shooting and doing post in RAW, change to 8 bit so that you can save as jpeg, is image quality lost?


make all adjustments in the highest bit setting... then bit down when finalizing to jpeg...

krphotogs
10-24-2008, 02:02 PM
Just a question. When shooting and doing post in RAW, change to 8 bit so that you can save as jpeg, is image quality lost?

8 bit jpeg represents 256 different colors (2 to the power 8)..... 16 bit tiff is 65K... but you can't print all that.....

Kevin

Ben H
10-24-2008, 03:50 PM
My attitude now is that I will shoot raw, especially if I'm likely to be getting something worth keeping (rare, but it happens..! :)

The only time I will go back to jpeg is if any of the following apply:

- I need to take a huge range of pictures (900 jpeg per 4gig card, versus 200 raw)
- I need to do long continuous burst shooting (my cam does 50+ in jpeg, and about 11 in raw)
- I don't plan on doing any post production and need a very quick output workflow for some reason

Otherwise, it's RAW by default now, even though the workflow, though more painful, gives better control.

Dwayne Oakes
11-01-2008, 07:25 PM
It really is just personal preference. Try both and see which one you have
the most fun with and then practice feverishly. I use jpeg and no pp for
all of my work.

http://dwayneoakes.zenfolio.com

Take care Dwayne Oakes

Duane
11-02-2008, 05:43 PM
I've not taking the time to read all comments, so I'm sorry if what I'm about to advise has already been mentioned. I'm also very new to DSLR's but I've been shooting using raw for a few years.

I prefer to shoot in raw. I've taking many photos with my camera, firstly shooting a .jpg and then the raw (while using a tripod so to get the same shot). I've then converted them to jpeg on my pc using Photoshop. The ones shot in raw and then converted to jpeg were always better. I might add that I never made any image changes before converting them. Here are just a couple of things I've noticed.

The images shot in raw had much better color. One day I was shooting a house with white siding in the sunlight from a distance. The ones shot in jpeg looked like a house that had a smooth exterior, while the ones shot in raw showed the actual siding on the house and other details totally absent in the jpeg photos. When I did my experimenting it was with my old Finpix S5100 (which is not an SLR). The difference was night and day, and I was sold on raw. I've since bought my first DSLR and not experimented further. I'll always shoot raw, as long as the option is available.

Also, Canon has developed a plug-in that will allow you to view your raw images on a Windows XP or Vista based PC. I believe that the plug-in will work for most raw images taking from most digital cameras. I'm able to view older raw images from my Fuji Finepix without the need for opening them in another program with this plugin.

So I think that if you want the best image quality you can get. Then shoot in raw and then convert them on your PC. You can then delete the raw images if you don't desire to keep them. The end result will be much better looking jpegs then what you'll get from shooting them in jpeg format on your camera.

Marko
11-03-2008, 04:13 PM
I just wanted to add how I work as the explanations for choosing 1 format over another are already well expressed in this thread.

I shoot RAW 100% of the time.

For family or snaps I add a small jpeg into each exposure (via a menu setting) so each shot has 1 full raw file and a small jpeg that I can process easily.

Hope that helps
Marko

Mike Guilbault
11-05-2008, 12:29 AM
With my first digital SLR, Nikon D1, I shot mostly in jpg, only because I couldn't afford the hundreds of dollars for a memory card capable of holding the huge RAW files (after all, the D1 was a whopping 2.47 Megapixels!!!).

I'll add in here that I do shoot professionally, however, even for my personal work, now that I understand RAW's benefits, I shoot in it 100%. I hate going back to my old images now that were shot in jpg. They're not nearly as good and take far more time to process than a RAW file, especially in Lightroom. I find I can process RAW images faster now than I ever could a jpg file.

So, my answer to the original question would be to shoot in RAW. You never know when you'll capture that exceptional image that you need to take just a little further to make it outstanding.

This may help you decide too. You can liken a RAW file to shooting negative film. Much can be done to it in processing. Although with programs now like Lightroom that can perform many of the post-processing function on jpg and tif files, shooting jpg is more akin to shooting transparencies or slides. What you shoot (and what you have the camera calibrated for) is what you get. It's not as easy to process later as is the RAW image.

Hope that helps.

JoeMezz
12-17-2008, 08:48 PM
Nikon D80 - What should I be shooting in? JPEG? RAW?

For the histogram i can get on my screen.. I googled it and it said it could be very worthwhile to keep it on the screen... should i? Should the colors be somewhere in the middle?

I would agree with Travis on this point.

I would shoot JPG to learn the camera and master your own skills. After that is substantially done I would shoot in RAW and then master post processing.

I would not agree with shooting RAW AND JPG .. what's the point? Nikon RAW files contain a JPG and when you open it with CaptureNX it applies your camera settings just like your camera would process it anyway.

Nikon RAW with CaptureNX is outstanding.

Rikki
12-18-2008, 08:38 PM
I only really started shooting raw a year ago as disk space and flash memory came down in price.

I now shoot everything in raw, even fun stuff because you never know when that one image might be useful down the road.

Ive got a D700 now which outputs 15mb raw files, my previous cam the Fuji S3 had 25mb files but with 1tb drives available so cheap plus 32gb memory cards theres no reason not to.

mindforge
12-19-2008, 02:12 AM
With the software in cameras today, you should always shoot raw - I can't think of any camera software that does not show the raw with your camera settings when you load it up, you can turn off the camera settings but it shows them, at least Nikon's, Canon's and Sony's does. The size difference is there but if you have a small memory card, perhaps that should be your next upgrade.

Even if you are a beginner I think you should shoot in RAW. Learn to weed out your bad shots to remove disc space. Many people argue about the keeping images thing but I think as a good photographer, you need to have an eye for the images that work and the ones that don't. I have a folder that I drag my junk to, once the folder hits 8 gig, I burn it. So, sure I still keep crappy images but they get wiped all the time.

If you are shooting with an early model camera with early software, shooting JPG might be an option, but only in this situation.