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Gear Rumors

New Canon Patent Points to A Future Where Camera Decides RAW vs Jpeg Capture

By Anthony Thurston on October 18th 2014

When you think about burst capture on your camera, usually the speedbump comes due to your camera model’s buffer vs. how large of files you are trying to pass through it. Many cameras can go indefinitely shooting Jpeg, while RAW capture can be rather limited.


A new Canon patent points to a future where the camera would decide whether or not to capture a given image in burst mode as a Jpeg or RAW. Now, your first reaction is probably not a good one. I mean, I don’t know many professionals who like their camera doing much of anything for them.

The idea behind the patent is this algorithm that identifies your subject, and then calculates whether it is a good shot. In the patent example image, it shows shots where the subject is cut off going to Jpeg, and where the subject is fully in view going to RAW. The idea here, I believe, would be that the shots that the camera deems “bad” would take up less buffer being saved and “good” shots would still have RAW editing compatibility.


There would definitely be many pros and cons to this sort of technology, namely, if the camera could accurately decide between good and bad shots. That said, it’s not as if the camera is discarding anything, you’re just getting a cooked Jpeg rather than a RAW capture. So, in theory, you could still use the Jpeg, you just wouldn’t be able to process it very much.

You can get the full details on this patent here.


What are your thoughts on this possible Canon feature? Would you trust your camera to decide what is a good or bad shot?  Leave a comment below!

[via Canon Watch]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Christian Seiler

    Next they will let the camera decide when to hit the shutter. That stuff is just not something the camera should be able to decide…!

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  2. Ian Moss

    Another reason not to buy canon.

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  3. Arnold Ziffel

    Next thing you know, they’ll put a little digital judge and jury inside that just completely culls the bad shots. I don’t think too much of this type stuff, but then again, I still prefer a manual transmission….

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  4. Gustavo Urena

    Just let the camera shoot raw video then you decide what frame you want. Of course that will be a huge file

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  5. Ben Greaves

    Wow. 100% no. Why not just work on enabling your camera to shoot a larger raw burst before the buffer kicks in or write to cards faster. Not this rubbish

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  6. Barry Cunningham

    If the camera can tell which are good shots and which are not, couldn’t it just keep the good ones in RAW and delete the rest. That would really streamline my workflow.

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  7. Ralph Hightower

    This would be great! July 21, 2011, I was at the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility to welcome Atlantis home. I had to dump some Kodak Ektar 100 film loaded in my Canon A-1 from my launch coverage and touring KSC Visitors Center in the predawn hours. I switched from ISO 100 film to ISO 400, pushed to 1600. Since Atlantis would land in the predawn hour, I figured that color would be wasted, so I used Kodak’s BW400CN film (a C-41 B&W film).
    I shot 3 frames using the motor drive and only one came out with the shuttle tail fin and parachute deploy.

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  8. Andre Queree

    It would be better if they’d just increase the buffer size or research better ways to write it out to the cards. :)

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  9. Danny Latter

    As long as I am given the option to disable this feature then, why not.

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  10. David Conover

    That really depends on how accurate the camera is, and what criteria it uses to decide a good shot. If this comes to pass, would it be well received. But, in certain specific situations, I could see this being an advantage. Especially in a sports setting where its about journalism, not creativity. It will also be good to have a deactivating mode.

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  11. Mircea Blanaru

    Nice feature! It will also be good to have a deactivating mode, also.

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  12. Derek Schwartz

    This could certainly be interesting, and as long as I could turn the feature off, it might be a really nice tool for action photography. 7d3?

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  13. Kim Farrelly

    Slow day in Canon’s marketing department? I guess they have to come up with these stupid ideas to get their name out there a bit.

    I choose to shoot Raw and I choose to shoot JPEG, I choose to only shoot the front of the car, I choose to tun that feature off (if it is ever on a camera I buy but I don’t think this is aimed at me at all).

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    • Daniel Thullen

      Amen Kim, we choose not the camera. I primarily shoot sports for local newspapers. RAW doesn’t always make sense. Its my choice.

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    • Barry Cunningham

      I guess we’re just not in the target demographic.
      I drive a manual transmission too.

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  14. Derek Grant

    The point of RAW – it’s RAW, untouched – this would be Raw-ish – I see little point to this and frankly would be amazed if it ever came to pass.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      If your not an action or sports shooter, there would be little point to this…

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    • Derek Grant

      Even then – the camera decides what may be a good shot ?…..that’s creative individualism out the window !.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      That really depends on how accurate the camera is, and what criteria it uses to decide a good shot. I agree that this will probably never come to pass, and if it was, if it would be well received. But, in certain specific situations, I could see this being an advantage. Especially in a sports setting where its about journalism, not creativity.

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  15. Scott Sandage

    i’m an avid canon shooter…this seems a little over the top..if i buy the camera, i can decide whether its shooting RAW or JPEG..right? why not just put it in full auto and call myself professional bc my camera thinks the best..

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    • Anthony Thurston

      That isn’t really the point. The point is the increased buffer room, meaning more shots can be taken before the camera craps out, which in a professional action or sports environment would be a huge advantage. But, as I said in another comment, it all comes down to camera accuracy.

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    • Scott Sandage

      i guess there should be a more sports based inclination to the article..the way it looks from the first read through, canon will decide in burst mode what file you get..

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    • Austin Swenson

      I think this should be something where it decides whether or not to shoot in raw or jpeg if you put it into full auto, because it’s “automatically” selecting stuff, right?

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  16. Daniel Thullen

    Leave it to the photographer. Period.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I tend to agree with you. But in this specific instance, if it means my buffer lasting longer, and the camera is decently accurate, I may be open to at least trying a feature like this.

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