Should I shoot JPEG or RAW? – why JPEG is better 99% of the time

You’ve probably noticed that your camera has different file settings called jpeg and raw, and then wondered what this really means. If you’ve taken to the internet in search for an answer then you’ll be really confused, because everyone has an opinion and everyone thinks they know the answer. Well there is no answer, it’s actually what ever you prefer. Most times you’ll end up with exactly the same picture even after post processing.

So what are these files. Raw is essentially a digital negative, an uncompressed or processed image file with all original pieces of data. Jpeg is a processed or compressed file that the camera has enhanced as part of the file capture process.

What’s the difference. Essentially it’s not going to make any difference to composition, light captured, colour or anything else. Where it does matter is in processing time and the amount of detailed changes you want to make in post processing, although that’s a very debatable subject.

What have I found? I’ve shot both many times, and processed both many times, and for me jpeg is easier, quicker and in 99% of cases there will be no difference in the end result. Raw files are huge, eat up your storage media, make your buffer clog up whilst shooting, and take far longer to process. Ironically many people who process raw files run a batch or bulk processing action in their software which does the same job a camera does when shooting jpeg in the first place. Jpeg files in cameras have developed enormously in the past few years as camera software has evolved, and the post processing software to enhance these jpeg files is so good that you can recover lots of detail from blown highlights or dark shadows from most jpegs.

So jpegs are ok to use. They don’t make you an amateur or an idiot as some self appointed internet gurus would like you to believe. Go on and try it for yourself, then make up your own mind. Either way, it’s up to you.

For more reading I highly recommend this site

http://www.michaelfurtman.com/jpeg_myths.htm

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