RAW vs JPEG fine

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by maria, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. Hi,
    I used to save the photos in RAW+JPG basic (on Nikon) and few days ago a professional photographer changed my setting to JPG fine. Well JPG fine is 4 MB, JPG basic was 1 MB and RAW about 10 MB. With the RAW+JPG I used to put outside the computer the NEF images, and had thus a backup of them on DVD. With JPG fine I have only one image (which of course I could double, but in this case I would use approx the same amount of memory).
    What would you suggest is the best method of saving? Shall I switch back to my old settings? What does JPG fine bring? Higher resolution? I think I still have a camera of the same resolution, it is just a question of saving.
    thank you and kind regards
    Maria
     
  2. JPG Fine brings convenience, maybe some time saved, and a smaller file than the Raw file it came from.
    That's it.
    In terms of saving/archiving, it is - with all due respect to this so-called "professional" - a really bad decision: it's exactly like keeping a print from a negative and throwing away the negative.
    Unless you're (say) a pro sports photographer that needs to get images to a newspaper as quickly as possible (which is where a jpeg straight from the camera can save time), I can see no case whatsoever for using - and saving - any other format than the Raw file.
     
  3. Agree completely with Keith.
     
  4. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I too agree with Keith. The only slight caveat I'd introduce is to ask is what you actually do with the pictures. If all you ever look at or print from is the jpeg , if you don't use the raw file for anything, and you're confident you never will, then having both the working copy and the back-up as jpegs won't do you harm. But please understand that there's no room for manoeuvre. You can make another jpeg from a raw backup. You can't recreate the original raw from a jpeg. Its flexibility you're giving up at the moment by forgoing the raw.
    So yes, for me I'd switch back- actually I have no interest in what a piece of in-camera software thinks my pictures should look like , so I'd just go with the raw. But thats me. The stuff above is in case you're coming from a different direction entirely. My wife does pretty much what you're doing- takes a jpeg , duplicates it for backup and I've never heard her whinge about stuff she can't do any more. Her photographs look fine on her laptop and very good on her iPad. Her prints are fine but they're all 7"x 5" max.
     
  5. I should clarify. I said:
    I can see no case whatsoever for using - and saving - any other format than the Raw file.​
    By all means archive jpegs, tiffs and so on too, but do so in addition to, rather than instead of, the Raw file.
     
  6. I agree with Keith, Dave, and Curt. Very bad decision to save archive files with any level of JPG. The RAW format saves every last bit of information recorded by the sensor in a read-only file. JPG saves only what the particular version of JPG wants to save. It is an old format dating back to the old 40 megabyte hard-drive days and has no place in a professional archive system.
     
  7. I really hate it when others change such settings on my camera - and I don't care whether they're pro or not. Why would he know better how you prefer to use and process your files, without asking you first?
    And I fully agree with the others: switch back to RAW, for all the reasons already given.
    The difference between JPEG Fine and JPEG Basic is not resolution; the difference in file size is due to a more aggressive compression being used on the Basic version. The compression used in JPEG images can reduce filesize enormously, but at a certain point, it will lead to visible artifacts (mainly in areas with high contrast, things may seem a bit fuzzy). JPEG fine uses a very slight compression, and hence has little risk of such artifacts, JPEG basic may already show some problems.
     
  8. Beyond possibly adding some edge artifacts, JPEG compression works by avertaging tones that close together to a
    single value. The greater amount of compression (JPEG Basic for example) the more aggressive that averting is.

    "Difference is detail, and vice versa". When you eliminate differences you eliminate detail.

    In-camera produced JPEGs also lock in whatever processing parameters the camera is set for. This includes Picture
    style, white balance, and sharpening, and of course the JPEG format is limited to only 8 bits of data - 256 tones -per
    color channel.

    If you ever see banding in what you think should be smooth color transitions, like in a blue sky for example, that is an
    artifact of the limitations of the JPEG format.
     
  9. Keith et al. - agree strongly.
    Even more agreement with Wouter on people changing settings on someone elses camera (or computer or...).
     
  10. SCL

    SCL

    Why would you let somebody change your settings, without at least a full explanation of what the differences might be? Perhaps you don't mind saving a less than the best copy for posterity....but you should be the judge of that, not somebody else.
     
  11. I think we've all gone back in time, looked at a photo and thought about how much better we could have done in post processing. Better technique, better software, and just better understanding of post processing gives us the opportunity to get a better image. But it's only practical or possible if we have the original RAW file to work with.
     
  12. Why would you let somebody change your settings​
    I imagine that being a "professional" might suggest credibility, and if said "professional" says that this is the way to do a thing, it could be seen as an authoritative statement worthy of taking to heart.
     
  13. I think we've all gone back in time, looked at a photo and thought about how much better we could have done in post processing​
    I do this all the time, Don - I've lost count of the number of times I've been able to breathe new life into an old image by running it through a new Raw converter, or through a new version of an existing converter.
     
  14. In-camera produced JPEGs also lock in whatever processing parameters the camera is set for.​
    An argument I've used in the past for Raw over jpeg is that with jpeg you start with as much "information" in the image as you finish with if your starting point is a Raw file...
     
  15. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    it's exactly like keeping a print from a negative and throwing away the negative.​
    Perfect (and scary) analog!
     
  16. You don't say what you were doing with your Raw files, other than storing them. If you weren't processing them, then you need to ask yourself if you really need them. If you think that you may use them in the future, then return your setting to have the camera save them.
    As for your JPEG choice, if you're using your JPEGs as your final image, then you should to it Fine instead of Basic. This will give you the best image possible and will serve you best if you ever want to print any large. You can always downsize an image if needed.
    Memory cards and hard drives have gotten inexpensive. Don't let file size deter you from saving images at the quality level that's best for your purposes.
     
  17. I've never actually shot film myself Andrew, but it's still the analogy which best makes the point.
     
  18. If you weren't processing them, then you need to ask yourself if you really need them. If you think that you may use them in the future, then return your setting to have the camera save them.​
    you never know but if you have the RAW data saved you will always be able to come back to it and try another version, for instance if new software comes out that allows you more control and take profit of the dynamic range of the file, the ex-post white balance adjustment, the color profile and bit deepness (Jpeg only offers you 8 bit per channel and 255 steps of gray per each one, while the RAW increases it as 12 bit files have over 4,000 tones, and 14 bit files have over 16,000).
    It doesn't mean you don't use the off the camera Jpeg, but to do it you need to set your camera and some adjustments will not allow further changes, for instance you can try to change color balance but not the white balance or if you set contrast to a higher level you can not bring it down in a proper way (besides edition software can tell you do, but it will be a destructive alias process), and the same can go for other aspects.
    Properly set your camera is able to offer you excellent results, sometimes even better than the RAW conversions produced for some people, but at the end you will always taking chances if you don't save the RAW data that was the base for your camera to produce the Jpeg files.
     
  19. For years I've shot raw and maximum resolution JPEGs simultaneously. With the Nikon D2H and V1, that's NEF/JPEG-Fine, at maximum size. Often the JPEG looks great as-is, so for my snapshots and casual portraits I can email those immediately or share them with friends online.
    And if the photos still need work, no problem, I have the raw files. I'd guesstimate I use 25%-33% of my photos as-is, JPEGs straight from the camera.
    I've never heard a compelling argument not to do so, since storage space is cheap. I haven't worried about running out of room on a media card since 2005-2006, when I paid around $100 apiece for 1 GB Sandisk and Lexar CF cards. Back then I'd occasionally shoot JPEG only to save room on the cards. Not a problem now.
    Apparently some digicams that offer two media card slots handle things differently but I don't own one so it's not an issue for me.
    I routinely use the in-camera JPEGs as a reference point for additional editing of the raw files. Even if I depart significantly from the in-camera JPEG it's still a handy reference. Often my edits from raw files differ only very slightly from the in-camera JPEG: slight improvements in clarity of detail in the eyes, that sort of thing.
    I've occasionally been baffled by the manufacturers' choices besides maximum resolution raw and JPEG-Fine. For example, none of my digicams offer the one alternative I might actually use: raw and JPEG at web size, low compression but around 1000 pixels on the longest edge. All of the smaller JPEG options in the camera are still too large in dimensions for typical web use, yet also too compressed with visible artifacts. Makes no sense. So when I need smaller dimension JPEGs I just run the in-camera JPEG through whatever is handy with minimal compression: Lightroom, Picasa, Irfanview, etc. But I don't often bother with that for photo.net or Facebook, both of which automagically resize our photos (resized on photo.net portfolios, rescaled to fit the discussion forum view width).
     
  20. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    That's it.​

    Despite all the responses agreeing, that's not it.

    The camera buffer has limited space. If you are shooting constantly at a high frame rate, you will fill the buffer much quicker with RAW than with JPEGs and you will begin to see a very slow frame rate. While this is a limited shooting case, it does come up and it is a case where JPEG is far better than RAW.
     
  21. For sure, but if you are shooting with "high frame rates," then you are likely to have already discovered that jpeg-only is faster.
    Life is full of compromises like that, but that doesn't alter the reality that RAW is better for most purposes where it is practicable.
     
  22. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    The camera buffer has limited space. If you are shooting constantly at a high frame rate, you will fill the buffer much quicker with RAW than with JPEGs and you will begin to see a very slow frame rate. While this is a limited shooting case, it does come up and it is a case where JPEG is far better than RAW.​
    Very true. But to put this into perspective in terms of my POV, I'd be hard pressed to set the camera to JPEG for this. Moving back to early 1984, I was hired to shoot the 1984 LA Olympics (the games, and more). In those days, film, no auto focus, and we'd be super excited if the Canon's we had did 5FPS (I was provided a Canon 16FPS mirrorless system built for the games but running out of film in 2 seconds kind of limits when and where I rarely used it).
    We get spoiled. We assume we have to shoot a large frame rate and if doing so forces us to use JPEG, so be it. Personally, after my experience shooting somewhat high end sports, if I had to do it today, I'd set the camera for raw and get a lower frame rate. It is a good excuse (for Scott Kelby at least <g>) for setting the camera to JPEG. I'm certain that those photographers who shot sports years before I did, with rangfinders, or a Crown Graphics would die to use a circa 1984 film camera with limited (by today's) frame rates.
     
  23. Get it right in the camera.
     
  24. "Get it right in the camera."​
    No versus thread is complete without that statement. Well done, sir. The internet's appetite for closure in a pithy statement is sated.
     
  25. Thanks a lot!
    Well, having the RAW separate saved me when my hard disk crashed last year because I had the RAWs burned on CDs. And then I made NEFtoJPG. But that could have be done of course also with having another JPG.
    Yes, my professional colleague does his JPGs that large size for himself as well. But not sure I want that, because sometimes one needs to also EMail images, and those do not resize automatically, or to insert them into publlications (that's what I mostly need them for), so I'd have to always resize manually before. But newly I also send to photo salons.
    Yes, I have a storage problem, I cannot run all software anymore because my computer, 5 years old, is getting filled with photos and the DVD drive is damaged, so I cannot burn anymore ... My photos from the last excursion I had not place to download them anymore ...
     
  26. Jeff, my "that's it" included:
    and a smaller file than the Raw file it came from​
    which is basically the point you're making.
    So that is it..
     
  27. Maria said:
    Yes, I have a storage problem, I cannot run all software anymore because my computer, 5 years old, is getting filled with photos and the DVD drive is damaged, so I cannot burn anymore ... My photos from the last excursion I had not place to download them anymore ...​
    Maria, get an external hard drive to free up your computer. Terabytes are available for a small investment. DVD storage is a poor substitute for a HD, IME. Use DVDs to send images to others, but archive for yourself on a HD.
    Also, you ideally need offsite backup. Although store only JPEGs, Flickr offers 1TB of storage for free. It sounds like you could back up your entire JPEG library for free, at least for the time being. Then you'd have truly secured your images.
    These images seem important to you, so seriously think about shoring up your archive and backup. I have two friends that lost their live's work in the last two-years, one by fire and one by flood. You need offsite backup for important stuff.
     
  28. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Jeff, my "that's it" included:​

    You went on to say:
    Unless you're (say) a pro sports photographer that needs to get images to a newspaper as quickly as possible (which is where a jpeg straight from the camera can save time), I can see no case whatsoever for using - and saving - any other format than the Raw file.​
    So "that's it" didn't include the issue with buffer size.
     
  29. "I" think the "need" to shoot in raw is overstated.
    Granted, the ability to fine tune an image to it's maximum potential is there in raw, and not in jpg, and is probably necessary for for fine quality exhibition work (if that's what you're into). BUT there ARE prices to be paid. Jeff mentions buffer issues. The OP specified storage issues, and buying (and managing) more storage is not cost free.
    Modern cameras have pretty damn good conversion engines built in; the advantages of raw are not automatic. Choosing and learning the use the conversion program(s) of choice, can easily become a black hole for energy and focus. This price can be serious, depending on the individual, nobody has an endless budget of either time or enthusiasm. Budgeting time and focus for the learning curve is bound to detract from actual shooting practices that go into good pictures.
    Yeah.....it's maybe just a repeat rant of "get it right in the camera", but it comes from looking at my own photography. Proper raw adjustments are hardly (not even close!) to being my weakest link. Technique is no substitute for vision. Having said that, I do shoot in raw for the potential that it offers, but I would guess that over half get no raw adjustment that couldn't be effected in jpgs.
     
  30. Due to the limited dynamic range in digital cameras and the need for many of us to ETTR (expose to the right), "getting it right in the camera" just ain't gonna happen all the time. However, if you're happy with your camera's in-camera rendering of JPEG and you don't mind blocked shadows and blown highlights here and there (Many don't have a camera that can do in-camera, multi-shot HDR, or shoot moving subjects where HDR will not work), then you should be happy with in-camera JPEGs. That's really a substantial number of people. If you had no idea what I was talking about, then JPEG will likely serve your purposes.
     
  31. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    Granted, the ability to fine tune an image to it's maximum potential is there in raw, and not in jpg...Modern cameras have pretty damn good conversion engines built in​
    There's a bit more to it than that, depending on what you, as the photographer wish to express photographically. The JPEG is a baked rendering (color and tone appearance). I think of it not even like a transparency versus a neg, I think of it more like a Polaroid. Anyway, depending your goal for expressing your vision, raw provides the ability to "render to a print" as expressed in this long but excellent article on the subject of the two possible processes:
    http://wwwimages.adobe.com/www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/family/prophotographer/pdfs/pscs3_renderprint.pdf
    On top of that, what David Stephens just wrote (+1).
    It isn't that JPEG is wrong or bad, it is about how you want to control the image. In-camera JPEG isn't about this. Further, looking at where I go with my images, and I suspect many other shooters, the final often is vastly visually different from what the camera provided as a JPEG which we get to see on the back of the LCD. IOW, my finals don't look anything like what the camera showed me, that's rarely what I want.
    Technique is no substitute for vision.​
    And JPEG limits severely the vision. Color, tone, those attributes are a rather important part of the vision and the JPEG forces to a very large degree, that vision on the image.
     
  32. While for most subjects I shoot RAW + JPG, for birds in flight, college football, and professional surfing contests, I use only large JPG fine. I may need to shoot fast and long with these subjects and the buffer size in my current Nikon cameras (especially D7100) simply can't do this. In action photography, catching peak action trumps pixel peeping. (I have seen Keith's excellent BIF images shot with RAW.) I believe the Nikon D4 is the only Nikon body that can do this which I do not own. I'm not holding my breath that Nikon will introduce a D400 (D300 replacement) that can do this.
     
  33. Michael, I can't imagine BIF without Raw. Lifting underwing shadows, bringing up feather details, sharpening, etc. I shoot Canon and don't have buffer problems shoot 6 and 8 fps. I understand that Canons and Nikons behave quite differently as their buffers fill, but I'd shoot in smaller bursts, rather than give up Raw.
     
  34. David, interestingly, when I do shoot BIF, surfing, or football, there are a lot more Canon DSLRs being used than Nikon. As a Nikon shooter for decades, many of us are waiting for a D300 replacement but it doesn't appear that Nikon is interested in competing with Canon in the advanced amateur sports market. The D7100 is an excellent camera, it's just slower and has a smaller buffer than the equivalent Canons.
     
  35. For as long as I have been interested in photography I can remember reading things about RAW images and JEPG. As a youngin I never really cared so I did not feel the need to explore this topic. Since I have gotten older I have realized that this is a relevant question to photographers all over the world. The debate between weather taking photos in either RAW or JEPG is better, has gone on for long enough, tonight we come to a conclusion.
    Frist of lets decipher what the difference is between a RAW and a JEPG file. As said by slrlounge.com “Raw files are uncompressed and unprocessed snapshots of all the detail available to the camera sensor”. Now a JEPG is a type of computer file that only collects the “ color tempter and exposure that are set based on your camera settings when the image is shot” (Slrlounge.com) What this means is RAW files take in absolutely every bit of data it possibly can, to give you the most to work with. JEPG files on the other hand, only collect what the camera tells it to. You may be reading this thinking oh the answers clear, use the RAW setting, but it is not that simple.
    RAW images involve more steps than taking a great photo and sending them all to your friends. These types of images involve work. RAW images cant be opened just by double clicking. They have to be open and viewed with editing software. I personally use Lightroom by Adobe. It is great for editing and storing your images RAW or not. Editing can be looked at as dreadful and time consuming but with the right software and the basic knowledge of editing you can whip out some great images in a short amount of time. When you are done editing your photos you have to then convert them to a JEPG if you want to use them else where. But if you just have to convert the image to JEPG what is the point in taking photos in RAW? Like I said earlier, RAW files take in all the information they possibly can, thus making editing much more enjoyable. It can take an over exposed photo and make it look brand new! Another benefit of taking photos in RAW is that the changes you make to an image are saved but you can always go back to the original image you photographed, rather than when you photograph using JEPG once you make a change to an image you are stuck with it.
    Using JEPG files is easy and simple. This type of file is processed in the camera so there is no need to convert your images when using a JEPG. Since JEPG files are smaller, they take up less room and are easier to work with. When it comes to editing, you can practically use whatever editing software your heart desires. The downfall of having a JEPG file and wanting to do some editing on your prints is that, since this type of file only collects the data the camera tells it to, you have a very small range to make corrections to your photo. Thus meaning if you take a photo that’s under exposed you have a very small window editing wise to make adjustments. It is not just exposure that has little fixing ability but most if not all editing.
    In conclusion, weather you choose to take photographs in RAW or JEPG great images are achievable with some practice and a good eye for angles and composition. If your main purpose is to take snapshots, just for fun and do not feel the need to do major editing on your images JEPG is recommended for you. It is easy to use with no need to convert your images or have special software for your pictures. If you want to use your photos professionally or want to start dabbling in serious editing, taking photos in RAW format is the way to go. It involves a bit more work but it may be worth the trouble. The nice editing software and the higher quality images gained from using RAW format. Weather you are taking photos for fun or professionally the choice to shoot in RAW format or JEPG is ultimately up to you.
     
  36. The weather is nice in Denver today, whether you care or not.
     

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