Raw Or Jpg(Jpeg)? : The unending conflict. Part II

Yesterday I talk a  little about Raw, now it’s Jpg’s  turn to shine. . JPG or Jpeg are regular image file format that are supported and recognized by all camera manufacturers, and almost all computer softwares and operating system that are available in the current market, it is the most widely used image file format in digital photography and are the format preferred for publishing photos on the web.

It has been around for a long time(since 1985 or 1986) and described by Wikipedia as a commonly used method of lossy compression for photographic images. Named after the Joint Photographic Experts Group who created the standard. This standard specifies the codec, which defines how an image is compressed into a stream of bytes and decompressed back into an image, but not the file format used to contain that stream.

All digital cameras including consumer point and shoots  has it’s own native raw data which are converted to  Jpgs  using it’s internal software.  This quick, flow less conversion process takes place every time you press the shutter, the raw data is discarded and the camera displays the Jpg image you see in your camera’s LCD. In more advanced camera’s like DSLR’s and advanced pro sumer point and shoots the option to save the Raw data to a raw files are available, consumer grade cheap point and shoots, this raw data are discarded after the conversion process.

Advantages of using the Jpg Format:

  • It’s easy, comes right out of the box.
  • Most of the time, you won’t have to do any editing.
  • Ready for any type of usage like, printing, uploading to your favorite social networking site, flickr, facebook etc.
  • File size is much smaller compare to a raw file
  • Fully recognized and compatible with almost every image viewing and editing software currently available in the market.
  • Most of the time it’s sharper and higher in contrast.

Disadvantages of using Jpg

  • Leaves you only a little room for enhancement. But yes, like Raw, Jpgs can be edited, enhance and manipulated but only up to certain degree.
  • Lower dynamic range
  • Data loss every time you edit it.

So which one is better Raw or Jpg? Here’s my 5 cents on this. It actually depends on what you are trying to accomplish, on what type of work you are doing and what type of camera you have. Raw is definitely my choice if I want to be creative, I myself always shoot in raw, and rarely use jpg. I used to set my camera to shoot Raw and Jpg, but they occupy too much space only ending up deleting the Jpg files after importing the photos to my  pc and just leaving the raw files for later processing. I only convert my photos to jpg when I need to, if not, it stays in my Lightrooom Library as raw files, some with the enhancements that i’ve added.  Having said that, I still shoot using the jpg format, I use jpgs, in simple stuff, like when I need to sell something on craigslist, ebay or amazon, or when I’m using my point and shoot camera’s, I have three of them, a Sony DSC-V1, Sony DSC-T20 and a Sony DSC-V3 that I just bought used off  of Ebay(I’m going to use it for my IR Photography). The first two only supports jpg, the last, can shoot in raw but with limitation. There are also rare times that I use jpg on my Canon SLR’s, that is if I know before hand that I wouldn’t have time to edit the photo in the digital darkroom.

Raw files aren’t for everyone, and when it comes to the type of photography that you do, only you can decide on which format you choose. If you decide to venture into the world of Raw files, you’ll need to learn and invest on some softwares:

  • First try your own camera manufacturer supplied software. All top camera manufacturers  provide softwares that you can use to view, edit and enhance a Raw file.
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 – Available for PC and Mac – Suitable and designed for most photographers
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 – Available for PC and Mac – Suitable and designed for most photographers
  • Adobe Photoshop CS5 – Available for PC and Mac – More expensive (Suitable and designed primarily for more advanced graphics work but a photographers love it.)
  • Aperture 3 – Available only for Mac – Suitable and designed for most photographers

Raw or Jpg, it doesn’t matter, use the one that suits the type of work that you do, and the kind of result that you want, if your camera can only use jpg, then use jpg, you don’t need to upgrade. Although I always advice to use raw for complete control on images, it’s not for everyone, but I tell you this when you start to shoot in Raw, you’ll be amaze on how far a single raw file can go.

I hope you find this post helpful. If you have any questions, corrections or suggestions regarding this post please don’t hesitate to post a comment below.

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