What is the difference between RAW and JPEG
RAW format, many of you probably already hear about it or maybe even saw it in your DSLR camera options… but what is that format and why should we prefer it instead of the most popular to us JPEG ?
Well let’s make it easy and start with the two sample images above. The original image was underexposed about 3 EV stops, that mean it is a shot that is not so easy to recover in post processing.
At the left you see the RAW format and at the right the JPEG, you don’t have to be some expert to see already the difference of these two format right ? After boosting the Exposure in Lr by 3 stops the RAW format gives me an acceptable result without a lot of noise (as much it can be possible on such underexposed image) and a lot of color information. On the other hand the JPEG image at the same exposure boosting shows how less information it have and that cause the noisy and ugly colored result, such images i would probably deleted (or would turned B&W art, who knows).
The difference is very obvious but here i have to notice also something. First of all you need a DSLR camera to be able shot RAW, second you need a software to edit it and third if you shot a lot of images then be sure that you have enough space on your hard disk, because RAW contain a lot of information in it and every file is like 3 times more big than JPEG.
So lets make a conclusion and compare them side by side
- Bigger dynamic range
- Compared to 8-bit JPEG format and the possible 16 million, with Nikon camera you can capture 14-bit RAW that contains 4.3 trillion colors !!!
- Contains all the metadata witch helps you later to recover things like “White balance, “Lens correction”, “Chromatic Aberration” etc.
- RAW files does not suffer from image-compression artifacts
- More sharpening adjustment options
- RAW files require post-processing
- RAW takes up much more memory
- You will have to convert RAW files to a compatible format like JPEG to be able share them with your community
I think i don’t have to write the same things about the JPEG, just put the above list in other way and you have it. The final question is, should you use RAW or Jpeg format ? or maybe both ?
RAW as you understand is clearly a format for professionals who know about all these parameters and are able to edit them later in post processing, it will save you in many situation where you make mistake with your camera settings but you will be able to recover it since you will have all the information in the RAW file.
Jpeg is more user friendly and compatible with most devices out there, it not requires any additional editing to be ready for sharing it or previewing it on your TV but it’s hardly recoverable format where the wrong taken pictures will end in your recycle bin instead of your Photo Album.
My advice is whether you are a professional photographer or just an enthusiast snapshot shooter use both format at the same time, yes you can do these cause all the now days DSLR allow you to shot both format at same time. Who knows maybe after some time you will love so much the photography that you will look back in your old folders where you will have these gold RAW files witch will allow you recreate some unforgettable moments of your life. To do so of cause you will need a DSLR camera, however these is not a problem at all, prices in these technology niche are pretty affordable for almost everyone !!!