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Raw Vs. JPEG | Karl Taylor Quickly Demonstrates & Explains Why You Should Be Shooting Raw

August 19th 2016 7:30 AM

The choice between RAW and JPEG is one that comes across a digital photographer’s mind continually throughout their career. Coming from a point-and-shoot that shoots JPEG only to a DSLR that can shoot RAW, can be daunting, trust me I was there once; so were most professionals. RAW image formats are like Plasticine, they are pliable, reactive, and can be picked up years later and still be flexible. JPEG files are like Play-Doh: they are more popular, less work is required to get them in shape, but after use and abuse the medium starts to degrade.

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[REWIND: LIGHT MODIFIERS | THE TWO I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT]

Digital cameras convert images on the fly with specialized hardware to take image data from the sensor and create a ‘cooked’ product easy for consumption. Sometimes the camera gets overzealous with the contrast or sharpening and there is no way to fix that easily. Photo-progressing software like Lightroom, can finesse RAW images to your liking and can compress them with more powerful hardware.

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The RAW file retains all the information from your camera’s sensor that would otherwise be thrown away in compressed image formats, like JPEG. In the video below, Karl Taylor shows what information can be recovered from a raw file and how much information is actually lost, especially in the highlights and shadows.

[RELATED: WHAT QUALITY YOU SHOULD EXPORT YOUR JPEGS IN LIGHTROOM? ]

Taylor’s example only touches briefly on this highly debated subject. If you are looking for a more detailed real-time example it would be difficult to find a better source of information than our RAW vs JPEG – The Complete Visual Guide. Its purpose is to fully explain the uses of shooting JPEG – other than having a great looking image SOOC (straight out of camera) – and the benefits of RAW in real-world situations, with direct side-by-side comparisons.

You can check out and learn loads more from Karl here, on his YouTube channel.

Source: Karl Taylor

About

Justin Heyes wants to live in a world where we have near misses and absolute hits; great love and small disasters. Starting his career as a gaffer, he has done work for QVC and The Rachel Ray Show, but quickly fell in love with photography. When he’s not building arcade machines, you can find him at local flea markets or attending car shows.

Explore his photographic endeavors here.

Website: Justin Heyes
Instagram: @jheyesphoto

Comments [6]

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  1. David Kalonick

    Holy hell!?!? People still shoot JPEG? I think I stopped back in 2002.

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  2. Ralph Hightower

    Shooting film, all my scans come back in JPEG. With my DSLR, I shoot RAW+JPEG.

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  3. Jean-Francois Perreault

    I always use RAW. But I’m sometimes drawn to using JPEG.

    For me, shooting JPEG is the same as setting a 1-click preset from Lr. So it’s not really time consuming. Unless you often dial in different settings when shooting JPEG, I don’t find it that much faster. At least for my kind of workflow…
    And for personal use, I doubt people change their settings that often.

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    • Christopher Snyder

      JPEG is somewhat similar to a 1-click preset, but if that preset doesn’t work for you, you can simply make your own changes. With a JPEG you’re commiting

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  4. Paul Wynn

    I guess this will always be one of those ongoing debates, because everyone finds a way to work that will suit them best. I shoot RAW for paid work, and generally use JPEG for my personal stuff. Although I am not a fan of being stuck in front of a PC for days editing, better to have the RAW file and finesse it exactly how I want.

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    • Paul Empson

      yep, JPG for fun & RAW for real. I tried shooting side by side just to see how they compared & generally OK however just do much detail is discarded by the JPG and if the camera guesses wrong it’s always too much of a compromise with JPG. RAW holds so much more detail that I’m confident I have some flexibility.

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