What’s The Difference Between RAW and JPEG Image

What's The Difference Between RAW and JPEG Image

All the information you require on JPEGs, RAW files, and image quality settings


You normally have two choices when adjusting the image quality on a digital camera: RAW or JPEG. Here, we’ll examine the distinctions between the two file formats and discuss when it’s preferable to use each for the greatest outcomes.


JPEG is the default, out-of-the-box picture option. It is a widely used file format that can be shared and viewed online, used to create prints, and doesn’t need specialized photo editing software to open(opens in new tab). The Joint Photographic Experts Group, the group of specialists that created the JPEG coding standard, is known by the initials JPEG.


RAW is another important file type that the greatest DSLRs and mirrorless cameras (opens in new tab) provide. Because it is not an abbreviation, it is actually “raw”. At least when they are taken, raw files aren’t even technically considered to be photographed. Raw files contain the unprocessed data captured by the camera’s sensor combined with information on the picture-processing settings you selected on the camera at the time the raw file was recorded, such as white balance, color, and sharpness. They are frequently referred to as “digital negatives” as a result.


A raw file cannot be shared or printed since it is not a picture; instead, it must be transformed using raw-processing software, such as Adobe Lightroom CC(opens in a new tab) or Adobe Camera RAW(part of Photoshop CC(opens in new tab)).


Some cameras allow you to convert a raw file using a rudimentary set of tools in-camera, allowing you to share an image or preview how it might seem after receiving alternative editing. In actuality, when you shoot in JPEG format, the camera automatically transforms each raw image into a JPEG file before storing it on the memory card.


What are the primary distinctions then? Why would you pick JPEG over raw or the other way around? Let’s examine each’s pros and drawbacks.


The Advantage of Shooting JPEJ Images

JPEG files have the advantage of being smaller than Raw files, however not in terms of resolution (a Large Fine JPEG has the same number of pixels as a raw file), but rather in terms of the amount of room they occupy on a memory card (opens in new tab).


JPEG employs lossy compression, which implies that some picture detail is sacrificed to achieve reduced file sizes, which is the cause of this. With the camera, you can choose the compression level. The more compression, however, the worse the overall image quality and the more photos you can fit into a card.


It could be a good idea to capture JPEG photographs with reduced file sizes if you’re sports or news photographer who has to send images rapidly.


The Disadvantage of Shooting JPEG Images

The camera settings you choose are stored permanently in a JPEG picture file. While you may somewhat fix exposure and color issues after the fact with photo-editing software, doing so requires going through the process again as the image has already been through one when it was changed from a raw file to a JPEG and then compressed. Starting with the source material when processing a raw file offers you a better foundation for any further modifications.


The Advantage of a RAW File Over a JPEG

The main benefit of a raw file over a JPEG is that it gives you the highest quality images while also acting as a backup in case you don’t exactly get the exposure or white balance right when taking the picture. But, the photographer’s talent is always a major factor, and using a raw format does not ensure excellent composition, lighting, or exposure settings; it only provides you additional editing options.


The possibilities for working with raw files are limited. The three exposure-related parameters, shutter speed, ISO, and aperture, cannot be altered, and the image cannot be brought back into sharp focus. But, you may adjust the camera’s digital adjustments, such as sharpness, contrast, and white balance. Similar to how exposure compensation on a camera may be changed, you can also fine-tune the exposure.


                                                        What Raw Can and Can’t Do

A RAW file’s increased dynamic range will allow us to recover some blown highlights, such as those in the sky.

A RAW file allows us to experiment later rather than needing to make a decision right away.

We can produce a 16-bit TIFF from a RAW file, which will hold up considerably better to further tone adjustment.

Physical parameters like the shutter speed, aperture, and focus point must be set up correctly from the beginning and are not assisted by RAW files.

Because the ISO is applied to the analog light values before the RAW file is ever formed, it cannot be changed afterward.

You won’t always get more vibrant colors and tones from a RAW file than from a JPEG. You’ll nearly probably need to do some editing.


The Disadvantage of A Raw File Over A JPEG

If you shoot in extended bursts while using raw files, the camera’s continuous shooting speed will gradually drop down. One of the greatest professional cameras(opens in new tab) may be able to shoot a huge number of JPEGs at its highest continuous shooting speed, but there is a limit to how many raw files it can shoot in succession. This is because raw files are bigger than compressed JPEGs.