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.

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Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 132, on the topic: JPEG VS RAW in which format is better to shoot?

  • Alexey

    Good day! My question is, does using raw significantly reduce battery life? In theory, the file is processed longer, the percent spends more energy. Thanks.

    • borisych

      rav processing - the image is collected point by point from each pixel and formed by the processor with the camera settings and the set parameters is entered on the memory card, for example, a 15m file
      processing jeep file is formed according to the above path, only the processor 15 meg rava additionally clamps up to 5-8 meg
      therefore, it takes less time to form a ravah than a jeep, the speed depends on the camera buffer and the recording speed of the memory card, and accordingly the camera’s battery consumption depends on the same conditions

  • Artyom

    Good day)
    Tell me, otherwise I’m going to tear my hair on my head ... soon I’ll tear my head, which damn converter is better for NEF (RAW) ...
    Already tired of hiccupping….

    • Artyom

      Perhaps my hands are not from there, but the camera is not working in the photozhop ... ((

      • Vladimir

        Artyom, the last lightroom is on friendly terms with nef

    • zenzoomzen

      It depends on what it is better for ... Kepchur NX2 has practically no options if good color is important, the snare 6 still gives nothing in the color of the picture from the naves after a little dance. If speed is important and the color is not particularly worn out, or drug-addicted toning is needed, then the camera is equal (it's lightroom). For perverts I recommend Raw Therapee 4))) try it, just for fun, just at least, there are a bunch of all sorts of settings, twists, pens, whistle-making ..., by the way, a free program initially, open source, plows on Linux.

  • Alexey

    Arkady, answer please: here, for example, in the D3200, D7100 and probably in others there is a more or less developed intra-chamber processing of RAW - at least BB (fine-tuned), exposure +/- 2, PictureControl with settings well and little things- d-lightning and others. In your opinion, if the quality of each photo is important, and there is no time to work in editors, for example, how complete is an adequate RAW / 14 / lossless shooting with subsequent compression / post-processing inside the camera? It seems to me that this method (again, given the importance of the material) is a good alternative to shooting a report in JPEG with operational adjustment of parameters, bracketing, etc. A ?

    • Vodichkin

      So it’s like PictureControl, D-lighting and all that will only affect JPEG, and with RAW only through NX2.

      • Alexey

        check lightroom and adobe. like they, too, open to you Nikon's RAV, taking into account the settings in the pikcher control. perhaps other editors take it into account when developing RAV.
        I don’t remember how on Nikon, on Kenon, the priority of lights is applied before recording in RAV, i.e. affects both RAV and cam jpeg.

  • Leonid

    After processing in the RAF camera, the file is saved in zhp. The image quality after processing in the RAF is preserved or not. Or you need to save in the RAF. Then how to print or post on the network or elsewhere

    • Alexey

      Well, actually, the results of the intra-chamber look good, besides, there is an opportunity to "get" finally on the BB, exposure and stop. ZHPG is also an ogogo format, the question is, when translating rav-zhpg, be able to make adjustments?

  • Vladimir

    Forbid to ask a question, maybe off topic.
    Why are shooting parameters not reflected in the “properties” of RAW files, but all this is in the “properties” of JPG files? (I mean shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc.)
    If the question is clear and not difficult to answer, please someone explain.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Rather, the problem is that you are using software that does not display EXIF ​​in RAW files.

      • Vladimir

        I'm not good at software…. I have Windows XP. I drop RAW files directly to the “desktop” and here I try to see the parameters of the images. What software do you think I need?

        • Arkady Shapoval

          For example, a native that came with the camera.

          • Vladimir

            Many thanks. Then you have to learn English.

  • anonym

    For me, the RAW or JPG question was only a few days, while comparing. I decided to shoot everything in RAW + JPG. In this case, there is no need to process all the pictures in the editor. I process only what is necessary. For several years I have been using ACDSee Pro to process CR2 files.

  • Anatoly

    I was just starting out and didn't really know how to shoot - I shot in RAW (so that later on my computer to edit the photo)
    Then, as I mastered the camera and learned how to shoot, my qualifications increased and I shoot ntgthm in Jpeg.
    On any monitor, the quality of colors still cannot be distinguished - and even more so for printing in 10 by 15 format.
    Colors in editors are corrected the same as in RAW and in JPEG.
    Here are the problems of the lens (distortion, HA) - yes, you can correct it only being in RAW (you can certainly correct the lens correction in JPEG, but not as easy as RAW in specialized programs) ..
    Therefore, a wide angle can be shot in RAW, if you need very healthy correctness and then bother less with the problems of space curvature by the lens, and medium and large FDs - in jpeg.

  • BB

    "I simply won't notice the difference ..."
    - mind you - with a soft sign.

  • Hleb

    I stopped shooting raw a long time ago. I get everything I need in jpeg. Shooting raw in the hope of getting it out / fixing is a losing track. (You can get a lot out of jpeg if necessary.) If I need a wide dynamic range, I use hdr, for everything else, jpeg is fine. I'm not a fan of post-processing, so I took off / gave / showed the best option for me.

  • Ruslan R.

    And I shoot in nef + jpg. And I develop ALL photos in lightroom. And jpg on the second card as a backup copy in case of failure of the main card ... It would be possible to write there in nef, but the write speed on sd is still less than on compactflash, and I don't need brakes during shooting ... Many do not like to mess around with ravki, but on the contrary, I like it ... When from a dull photograph you do what you think is necessary, and not what the camera automatics imposes on you ... Maybe I'm wrong, but I will do the same, because I like it so much :-P

  • Yarkiya

    I don’t even want to comment. To buy serious equipment, then to shoot in a jeep, well, shoot with iPhones, what’s there, no RAW solid jeep.

    And RAW is needed not to pull the shit-shots (although for this too), but for creative space.

    • Lynx

      Well, I mostly shoot in a jeep.
      under most of my tasks it is more than enough.

  • Yarkiya

    Lynx, no question, you can shoot even in BMP if possible. I am against the statements of “masters” who consider on-camera JPEG to be the pinnacle of mastery, who do not know what RAW is and do not understand what to do with it.

    I also sometimes use JPEG when I shoot for someone. I put RAW + JPEG of the lowest quality just for demonstration, and if I like, I process the original from RAW.

    • Lynx

      We drag then no statements that the "jeep is the pinnacle of skill" I do not see in it.
      Actually, people who feel that “real professionals always shoot in equal terms, so if you shoot in equal terms, then a real pro” annoy no less.
      If a person gets a quality that suits him and the customers in a jeep - why not?

  • Karina

    Maybe someone will come in handy ... I know a free online service for converting various RAW photos to JPG, BMP or TIFF without losing quality:

  • anonym

    Hello. I rent it myself in a rabbi and am satisfied))
    I asked myself this question, when the noise suppression functions and the like (which are designed to improve the quality of the photo) are turned on, the camera can sometimes “think” longer. As I understand it, all this is important for JPG, but it does not affect it in any way. That is, if you turn them off, the camera will "slow down" less.
    I’m interested in your opinion, maybe I misunderstood something.

    • Lynx

      dragging it, the rabbi is an order of magnitude heavier than the jeep, so the camera in the rabbi in any case slows down more, due to the recording of frames. (This is, roughly speaking)

    • Artem

      High noise suppression slows down because the camera takes two pictures and subtracts the noise based on the difference for a clean LPG. Therefore, if you shoot in Po, then turn off all improvers.
      The rest of the Lynx is right many of the brakes due to the record.

  • Paul

    Such a question for connoisseurs - can a raw (nef) file be reduced from 16,1 megapixels to 15? The option to translate to jpeg and crop to 15MP is not an option.
    Thank you.
    PS since I rarely appear on the forum, please, who knows, unsubscribe by mail:

  • anonym

    Thank you. Clear, simple explanation

  • anonym


  • Konstantin

    good evening, such a question? I shoot mostly in JPEG, tried it in RAW, after importing into the lightroom, the raw files are all not sharp enough, I would even say soapy ones, and jpeg are razor sharp, although it should be the other way around, I can’t understand the reason.

    • Peter Sh.

      For me, by default for RAW, the lightroom turns on noise reduction. Check, maybe that's why.
      In general, if you don’t have something extreme, strong color noise, for example, to convert RAW, it is always preferable to use native programs.

    • Jury

      In this article Arkady spoke well about sharpness for Nikon's jpeg. Lightroom does not see the sharpness settings that are set in the camera (since it is a non-native editor), so the sharpness values ​​must be set manually during photo processing. Initially, in Lightroom, the sharpness values ​​are not set, so the photos are different, jpeg - with camera processing, and a photo in Lightroom - without processing

  • Konstantin

    Thanks to those who responded, the sharpness slider at maximum does not save the situation for rav files, I will download my native Nikon program and try to turn off noise reduction. Thanks Radozhive.

    • Denis

      Noises in the camera turned on or off on Nikon's RAW do not work

  • Konstantin

    I have noise suppressors in the camera and everything is turned off by default, but I won’t figure out how to turn them off in the lightroom.

  • Andrey

    A couple of years ago, I asked this question and then decided for myself that I can pull more out of the Republic of Lithuania than that better option in Jpeg.
    Now I decided to reconsider my decision with fresh experience and knowledge. And I just can’t get a definite answer. With different photographs, often very different results are obtained. I don’t want to troll with photos, but without them it's just words.
    It's cool when they argue only in words without providing any examples. In general, it is difficult to conduct a reliable experiment, because too many variables. A little change somewhere the step and the result changes. Maybe I'll write when I come to a final decision;)

  • Vasya

    You can shoot in jpeg + raw at the same time!

  • Ann

    Hello. For some reason, on my rav files, pixels are visible after I open it through the lightroom. What could be the problem

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Describe what exactly you mean by “pixels”. All readers also see pixels, many pixels!
      And the reason is always the same - LR is a third-party software for processing photographs, it needs to be adjusted for each picture and for each camera settings.

  • anonym

    I’m processing the pictures in the lightroom, a year later I realized what a flexible format the nave is, that you can squeeze it out for better image quality, no increase in noise is seen. Also, I couldn’t cope with the color of the raw nave file before, but this problem was resolved over time by changing the settings in camera profile editor, the default is in adobe standart.

  • Grigory Smirnov

    Hello. Question. It is clear that for the RAV it is necessary to set the balance in the CAMERA, manually or by auto, by itself plays the role of sensitivity, aperture, shutter speed. And the parameters of sharpness and contrast - is there any point in changing them? I asked a dozen photographers, looked at the sites, there is no complete clarity, as a rule they say that for RAV there is no difference in the setting of sharpness and contrast, but - they are not sure, it seems, - they write so. Andrey, and what can affect the quality of the RAV when changing the settings in the CAMERA? I hope for your answer. Best regards, Gregory.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      If you use native programs for conversion, you should adjust the picture control or image style to your liking. Native software understands the settings. Third-party converters do not always understand, so you can not configure. Also, third-party converters do not understand some improvers like Nikon's ADL, when it is turned on, third-party converters can display just a terrible picture. It would be nice if you specify for which camera you are looking for the answer.

      • Grigory Smirnov

        Thank you, Arkady. Camera NIKON D7100. I work at ACDSee-9, less often at FSH. Which converter do you think is optimal for this camera? And what kind of "enhancers" are they recommended?

        • Arkady Shapoval

          It is best to use the native converters Nikon ViewNX-i, Nikon Capture NX-i, NX-D. Improvers: ADL, noise reduction, vignetting correction, distortion correction

          • Grigory Smirnov

            Thank you.

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