JPEG VS RAW in which format is better to shoot?


There is a lot of controversy on the Internet about what format to shoot. People go crazy testing the quality of these two giants of the photo industry, professionals make vivid reviews in favor of the superiority of RAW over JPEG, but the fact remains that the end user needs exactly JPEG.
Few people consider for what purpose these formats are intended, and depending on the goals you need to choose the format.



So a couple of tricks for filming:

1. If you have an ordinary soap dish, most likely there is no way to shoot in RAW, this should not sadden you, the quality of the pictures will not be displayed on this.
2. If you have a SLR of any level, most likely there is an opportunity to shoot in RAW, the choice depends on what purpose you shoot

Still shoot in RAW, but what about JPEG? And also different PNJ, TIFF, NEF, CR2?
It is very simple if you need or plan to modify the picture on your computer, I definitely recommend RAW, it will help to save more details, shooting information and allow you to make corrections to the main image settings (such as BB, work with noise, color settings, work on sharpness) with little or no loss at all as a picture.
If the plans do not include post-processing of photos - feel free to set the JPEG mode and know that the photos will be of the same good quality as after direct conversion with RAW.
If you are a professional and every level of shades, balances is very important, then you will undoubtedly have to use RAW, in prof. cameras have the ability to increase the amount of color information to 14 bits per pixel, while JPEG has only 8 bits per pixel. The same can be said for other specific data formats for saving photos. I advise you to read my experiment, which shows the difference in the processing capabilities of RAW versus JPEG.

Cons RAW
1. GREAT file weight, usually files cannot be compressed using camera processor algorithms and quickly fill the space on the memory card. For example RAW Nikon D90 weigh an average of 10 mb each, Nikon D40 just 5 mb each. The volume is highly dependent on the number of megapixels on the camera and the compression level.
2. Variety of formats - Each company has its own standard of "raw images" and it will take a lot of time to find the necessary software, install, configure and understand how it works.
3. The necessary knowledge to work with files - if there is no necessary basic knowledge about the parameters of photography and their refinement, then it makes no sense to simply shoot in RAW, and then simply convert to auto settings - the same thing you can do by shooting just in JPEG.
4. RAW revision time at times exceeds the time for the shooting itself.
5. Some cameras shoot in RAW format much slower (especially with 14 bit color depth), for example, Nikon D300 can shoot only 2.5 fps at 14 bit RAW

RAW Pros
1. The picture carries more source image information
2. It is possible to modify the basic shooting parameters within reasonable limits without loss of quality (you can adjust the exposure up to 3 steps without loss of detail, etc.).

Highlights of JPEG
1. His accumulative propertiesand - if something was changed and saved, then it is simply not possible to return it back without losing quality.
2. A smaller range of color shades than RAW, but for the average user, and even on a poor monitor, the difference is simply not noticeable, even when printing, the costs of working with RAW are not always worth the advantage. At the same time, you basically have to pinch in JPEG to print a photograph.

The main advantages of JPEG
1. Universalism - any device will be able to recognize and read this format. You have come to friends and you can always show the photo in JPEG, and if you came to friends with RAW you will have to spend a lot of time to open the photo.
2. Compression dynamics - You can put any level of compression and get files of any size.

Conclusions: the answer to the question "in what format to shoot" comes with experience and needs, I personally recommend not to bother and shoot in JPEG.
And do not believe that all professionals shoot in RAW, professionals shoot because it is convenient and practical.

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. For the selection of a variety of photographic equipment, I recommend E-Catalog, Socket, M.videoand ebay и AliExpress.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval... Look for me on Youtube | Facebook | VK | Instagram | Twitter | 500px.

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Comments: 131, on the topic: JPEG VS RAW in which format is better to shoot?

  • Sergei

    I’m still a complete beginner in photography, but after trying to shoot in jpg and raw, I switched to raw (now I have Sony NEX 5n). Since (as they wrote here), even a simple auto improvement in the raw converter really improves the photo more than you do too the most with jpg.

  • Alexander

    Hello Arkady, I apologize in advance for the possibly (due to my inexperience) stupid question, but still. About the advantages of RAW over JEPG, this is all clear, but in Photoshop you can open ordinary JEPG as RAW and do the same manipulations with it, or I'm wrong ? If not, then why take up memory on the camera?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      You can open it, but there will never be any stock in the revision in it.

  • anonym

    Thank you so much, now everything fell into place!

  • Artem

    Hello Arkady. Tell me, do all Camera Raw versions agree to work with Lightroom4.0?


    Good afternoon, Arkady! Reading your reviews, I began to master RAW (I did not recognize it before), a good thing when you need to photograph in low light. I have a question. How do you save from RAW to JPEG in Camera Raw? The fact is that converting to JPEG from a 9 MB NEF source file, I get a JPEG only 2.7 MB. In Lightroom, when I convert such a file, I get 6.8 MB. Why is there such a big difference in weight loss pictures? The thing is, Camera Raw is much easier for me to work with, maybe I'm doing something wrong? Please tell me. God bless.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Different JPEG encoding algorithms are used (Lanczos, Bicubic, Bsplite, etc.) this does not mean that the files have more or less source information, just the algorithm can compress the files more strongly.


    Arkady, another practical question: in my case, when printing, say, 21X30 or a photobook with a spread of 30X60, 2.7MB and 6.8MB files obtained in this way, will they differ in quality or not? When I shoot RAW + JPEG it is NEF 9MB, JPEG 4,5MB and converted JPEG 2.7MB. I still gnaw at the fact that the converted processed JPEG is less than the native one from the camera.

  • Valery

    Hello. I bought the camera just two months ago. Nikon D5100 I will not assert or impose anything. Because, I just don't know which is better. I tried to shoot in different formats. The pictures are good, I think it's still far from excellent. I tried to process in Adobe Photoshop CS3, SILKYPIX Developer Studio Pro, Picasa 3 and the standard one that comes with the camera. Honestly, I just don't see the difference. But I saw small cons. A snapshot in Jpeg format weighs anywhere from 5mb to 9mb. But RAW is three times larger. The battery runs out very quickly. Which I don't like at all. I would like to offer a few examples. Please do not judge strictly for the quality. I'm a newbie. I took pictures in haste ... JPEG

  • Valery

    Hello. I want to give some more examples. These pictures were taken in JPEG + RAW format. Minimal editing of both formats. Because, I did not see the difference in the final result, I only show the JPEG format. I am a beginner with an experience of no more than 2 months. Please do not judge strictly.

  • Valery

    I beg your pardon. One link to the photo is broken. Gave her by mistake. Here is the correct one:


    Arkady, hello !!! I take all the photos in JPEG, size M. I look at them on my computer, they are cool, but if you upload the photo to a social network, they are somehow fuzzy, they become a little blurry ... .. I tried to reduce the format, from 5-7mb to 600 kb ... maybe that's why ??? How can I process them so that it is pleasant to look at them ... .. Others look exhibit ... they look great, but mine ... it is a shame to exhibit

    • Jurij

      So, because with social networks, the resolution is measured and not only the compression ratio of the LPG. So that there is no such thing - 1 save the largest photo from the network and see its resolution. 2 before uploading to the social network, make a copy of the photos in the same resolution (keeping the aspect ratio) and not exceed the largest number of one side. 3 Already at the changed resolution, edit the sharpness (as you want it to look) and upload to the social network .. The social network will not touch the resolution and the compression ratio of the zhpg will not affect the sharpness

  • Svetlana

    Hello! Many thanks for your work - there are very, very few such competent, interesting and useful articles about photos on the web. and the question.
    Photoshop CS6 introduces a built-in RAW converter. Does it make sense to additionally use lightroom or something else, or is Photoshop now enough?

  • Egor

    Definitely raw!

  • Anna

    I have a D5100. I shoot in 2 formats. I do not have any difficulties with the processing of NEF in Picas. When saving any changes, the JPEG format is obtained and the original is saved in a hidden folder. You can always roll back to the source. Also, when exporting a photo to another folder (for example, for friends), it is automatically converted to JPEG. Wonderful program! I am surprised that few people use it.

  • Alexander

    Here in Raw, you can change the white balance and adjust the exposure. But in Jpeg, you can also adjust in Photoshop. Please explain why it is worth filming in Raw?

    • Jury

      Because let’s say there is a burned-out area of ​​the sky. It is white even with an invalid BB. On the LPG, when the BB changes, the white area will become non-white despite the fact that the midtones become the right color. So because the LPG does not have a dynamic stock .. And the RAV contains the data about the image of the ZAA with a histogram and here they can be put into the image and save the correct BB on all halftones

    • Jury

      And on the RAV, the shades are simply several times more than in the zhpg, because if on the zhpg we allow 500000 shades per frame (specific) and try to process this frame, then you will rather get only a decrease in the number of tones and not a single gain ... And from the RAV, the number of available shades ooooooo big - it's elementary if you raise the saturation on an equal footing and save it in zhpg then there will be more shades, and if you increase the saturation on zhpg, then the number of shades can only fall but in no case increase .. it seems to the eye, but if you look closely you can notice the difference

    • Jury

      To calculate the number of tones used, you need the XNview program, but the number is not the main thing because it grows when the saturation is increased, even if there is an unnatural amount of it ... But if it is not enough, then any correction of even color, even brightness, or contrast in RAV has a quality margin for editing photos and saving in zhpg lossless (compared to editing zhpg)

  • Alexandre

    And another question, when I edited the Raw file, then it turns into Jpeg?

  • Dasha

    Adobe Photoshop does not read the RAW file, what should I do?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Install Adobe Camera RAW for Photoshop

  • Adham Kamilov

    Hello Arkady.

    Very useful article, thank you very much)

    Recently, I started shooting in RAW aka CR2, and noticed that the pictures are of much better quality than shooting in JPEG format. The detailing all over the frame in RAV really amazed me! Even if you convert them in auto mode. When shooting in jpeg, the pictures are somehow blurry / blurry and blurry. Is this how it should be or is there something wrong in the settings? camera canon550d-18-55. BUT WHEN CONVERTING TO ADOBE-CAMERA RAW THERE IS ONE BUT. All images with grain, depending on ISO. even on ISO 100 there are small grains. Can this somehow be fixed in the camera-raw settings? oh yeah .. there is something else ... After converting, the images in most cases are obtained with some kind of yellowish tinge. How to deal with this? About grains…. should i switch to photoshop lightroom?

    • Jury

      Detailing is better because by default the editors slightly sharpen and do not turn on noise reduction - from that and the grain on your votok is clearly visible - you need to choose - either detail or noise .. The camera crushes the noise .. though very dramatically and often skillfully .. your I don’t know the camera ... If you turn off the noise suppression in the camera, then the zhpg will become detailed for you .. But zhpg very rarely does not need to be corrected, and if so, why then? Better right away - so there will be only one conversion / saving (only in the editor) instead of two in the LPG (one in the camera and the second in the editor)

  • Alexey

    And I noticed a habit that had appeared. I almost always took pictures and noticed that I began to pay less attention to exposure errors (I can still draw it out in the editor anyway). As a result, over time, the number of images requiring post-processing began to increase. Knowing that the equal can be stretched, you are less responsible for the shooting process. Therefore, I want to try switching to jpeg (maybe first to raw + jpeg, and then purely to it). In my opinion, you will get used to making high-quality shots so quickly, and not shooting a couple thousand each, and then raking them. The film did not forgive mistakes before, and the digital relaxes ...

  • Andrei

    Now there are programs for viewing Ravs, on Windows 7 there is a program, there is Picasa, i.e. inserted a card, looked through, deleted marriage. And then whoever you like, at least through your native Capture NX2, at least through CameraRaw, but you still can’t do without Photoshop, even with jeep cartoons. Align the horizon, crop, color decrease somewhere, add somewhere, contrast, etc. All this, as needed, is natural. So it’s better to learn Raw immediately, it’s definitely useful. This also disciplines in the sense that you start to think more before you press the trigger, and accordingly, then to rake less garbage.

  • Andrey Orlyansky

    I shoot only in RAV, although sometimes, and good intra-chamber zhipegs were obtained, RAV - forgives mistakes, and is pulled out by various software.
    Many photographers, in particular Wedding "lupashat" only in ZHIPEG, for processing 4000-5000 yew after filming. files are simply unrealistic….
    RAV ... and only RAV !!!

    The software includes CS4 + ACR, Capture one, Corel PP X5, Lightroom, and native View NX (garbage) ...

    I will say that in reality the initial development is the same everywhere, but the original ZHIPEG on the same settings is DIFFERENT ... personally, I use ACR + CS4 Fotoshop more, less often Lightroom, and the rest of the software is just as a RESERVE .... (so ... so it was! )

    Camera d90, and it’s honest to say shitty zhipegi from it, and tried d 7000, it seemed to me even worse there !! ... but RAV .. yes ... POWER ..
    All successful Ravs, and ZhoPEGov)))) !!!

  • Nicholas

    And I have both the latest versions and FS and Lightroom and they do not support my D5300 camera. I have to shoot in JPEG. Because NEF I see only through View NX.

  • Novel

    Hello people, hello Arkady. I apologize for being off topic, but did not find where to write. Faced with the problem of color spaces, when processing photos in raw format in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, the color rendering results didn’t please me at all, I did everything as a nada where I possibly used sRGB space because my monitor doesn’t support Adobe RGB and it makes no sense to process photos in this space and the subsequent saving of the photo in sRGB but the problem nevertheless remained. Shoveled a lot of information but didn’t find anything sensible, everything around it. A few days ago, I decided once again to experiment. I took a photo in RAW and JPEG and started processing in Lightroom, applied the same preset for both photos, and then I saw that JPEG turned out much better from RAW. This gave me the idea that in JPEG the camera records some kind of color information that it does not write to RAW. I thought that the Nikon program Capture NX 2 could write this info when converting to a TIFF file, since it doesn’t write to nef, and there’s no point in JPEG. And after such manipulations, the photos after processing looked identical to those that were processed in JPEG format. By the way, when converting photos to TIFF format in Capture NX 2, regardless of the color space selected (I tried both Nikon's Adobe RGB and sRGB and standard Adobe RGB and sRGB and even ProPhoto RGB) the result after Lightroom was the same, probably Lightroom uses the working color space. I would like to hear your opinion on this topic, as someone does. In general, it would be great if Arkady wrote an article on this topic.

  • Ronin427

    I read it ... In uzhos ... O_O "
    Are there really so many problems with Rav on Windows? Personally, for me there is no difference when viewing, storing, moving from the camera, editing, etc. It’s just not, only the pros of it is possible to stretch the details, make HDR from one frame and so on. (weight only more)
    Mac + Aperture.
    It seems Lightrum can do the same?

  • Novel

    Why didn’t anyone mention ACDSee Pro 6, in my opinion, it’s an excellent editor. It works fine with NEF (RAW) format, edits, converts in batch mode, the compression quality (JPEG size) is adjustable by itself. It’s not an advertising program, just wondering why about it not words?

  • Alexander

    Many thanks to the author for such a pleasant and understandable article chewed for beginners !!!, But Personally, I shoot in both formats at the same time.

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