Day 263 – Raw or jpg

I shoot Raw, I mainly edit in Lightroom – the reason I shoot raw is because back when I started someone told that this was the best thing to do … but I never really understood why at the beginning, and for a long time I shot in jpg and raw – but I was really not sure what to do with all the files I was creating. Nowadays I tend to shoot 100% raw as it is so easy to develop the images in Lightroom into the correct size files for the media that I choose … but is that the only reason….

I read an article recently online explaining the difference between Raw and Jpg – you can read it here: Raw vs Jpg and I thought that a comparison between the two files would make a great post, so today I popped out with my nifty 50 and took every photo as a Raw file for me to develop and each as a jpg.

Jpg and Raw comparision
Jpg and Raw comparison

The purple flower has more depth in the raw file, I can make it more vibrant and distinctive and the fine detail of the flower is more distinctive.

Jpg and Raw comparision
Jpg and Raw comparison

There is not much difference between the raw file on the dripping lead than with the Jog other than the fact that the shadows in the background are darker making the damp leaf stand out slightly more.

Jpg and Raw comparision
Jpg and Raw comparision

Looking upwards at a very delicate spider’s web complete with spider – I feel the individual strands of web are clearer in the raw file and the spider is a little sharper, there is more clarification between it and the background.

Jpg and Raw comparision
Jpg and Raw comparison

Only fair to include the photo buddies – using Raw I can lighten the shadows and make the details around the Border Collies eyes clearer.

Jpg and Raw comparision
Jpg and Raw comparison

A selection of leaves in high contrast light – the contrasts are much greater in the raw files on the left – the black darker and the colours more vibrant.

Finally below – a grab shot… lots of sunlight, lots of shadows, a distant person – the jpg image is processed to be quite flat with the person in blown highlights – the raw file enables me to correct some of the highlights, the sun now offers warmth rather than blown our light and there is more contrast between the leaves – they are exactly the same shot – taken at the same moment … yet the Raw file processed is a much more interesting image – I think.

Jpg and Raw comparision
Jpg and Raw comparison

An interesting experiment – it is great to compare – and these images highlight to me that I want to continue to shoot Raw so that I can develop my own images, add my own style and interruption rather than the cameras.

I really think the difference between raw and jpg links very much to the old days of film:

  •  It is the difference in sending your film off on a 99p special offer to be developed at a quick turn around lab – this would be your basic jpg
  • A jpg with incamera editing enabled to make it black and white etc.or by using a  quick tweak in lightroom with a predetermined preset is like sending it off to a lab and the lab deciding how they want to process your image – it may be better than just a basic jog but it might not be.
  • Editing the raw file in light room or camera raw, and then editing with adjustment brushes or into photoshop is like having access to your very own dark room, you have control of how long the lab develops each image, you can adapt your style to suit the image and you recover information that you can not see …  and if it is wrong in camera – you have a chance to make it right!

I think it is amazing you now have access to your very own dark room without the cost of chemicals and the fear someone is going to walk in on you and ruin your images by letting in light – instead you have a portable studio on a computer via software that you can start and stop with ease, it is not destructive and you can have endless attempts to get it right.

What do you shoot jpg or raw?

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4 thoughts on “Day 263 – Raw or jpg

  1. Is there that much of a “size” difference between raw and jpg? If so, should I invest in a larger memory card? Thank you for your insight!

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    1. Depends on what size JPG file you take … Raw is a little larger – usually tells you in your camera settings… …. I use a 16GB card, and carry a spare – format it each time I download the files and touch wood I have never run out….. on that card I can get 400 high quality raw files … or 1410 high quality jpgs – so for 95& of the images I take Raw is perfect – I like the editing capability… but if I was aiming to rapid fire images to capture the moment (perhaps at a sports event) or on a holiday when I was mainly creating record shots – I might switch to jpg … but n the whole I believe less is more – if you share you holiday snaps people would rather see 20 amazing images of your 10 days away… rather than 14,000 snaps!

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