Why use JPEG instead of NEF?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by csuzor, Jul 3, 2005.

  1. It's been just a week with the D70 18-70, and now I exclusively use
    NEF format. The photos are imported in photoshop elements, requiring
    just an extra step (and <10s) to edit (but they can visualised
    as .nef).

    When I see what the camera would have produced as a JPEG for many of
    these shots (mostly family shots under difficult lighting
    conditions), I am happy to be able to tweak the good images (mostly
    temperature, overall exposure, luminosity, contrast, but other
    settings are also changeable). I am sure if I bothered to balance
    white correctly, or concentrate on getting the right exposure, I
    could get decent JPEG directly, but now I can concentrate on shooting
    and not the technique.

    Given the ease of use of NEF now, why would you choose JPEG?
    For a factor 2 storage space? A bigger card would be better...
    For fewer steps in post-processing? converting to JPEG takes <10s...

    I used to shoot Canon RAW, and convert, and it was slow and painful,
    so I used JPEG and just adjusted the images... now I adjust during
    conversion from NEF to JPEG, the results are much better.
  2. Christophe,

    I'm in the other camp. As a long-time transparency shooter who is just getting to grips with digital capture, I'd rather get the exposure, white balance and contrast right in-camera. As such, I've not yet felt the need to shoot RAW. The smaller file sizes and simpler workflow are by-products.
  3. Storage is a factor and I take so many shots I would be completely bogged down shooting NEF all the time. I may be wrong, but I can't see that big a difference between the best JPEG and NEF. The key is good light, proper exposure and focusing. If I were a pro or someone who tried to make money in photography, I may be singing a different tune.
  4. After trying both, I'm kind of surprised to see all these people making a fully informed
    choice to shoot JPEG. I've come to be completely reliant on Adobe Camera Raw for global
    adjustments, and I can't imagine making my routine tweaks on 8-bit, linearized sRGB files.

    Also, I don't see how being a professional makes a difference here. Whether it's your job
    or your hobby, photography is about making the best images you can and shooting in raw
    makes it easier.

    Storage is cheap and JPEG conversion, if needed, can be automated. I really have no good
    reasons not to shoot NEF.
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    I too was mainly a slide shooter before switching over to digital. Regardless of which medium you use, it is always important to get the exposure correct to begin with. If you never edit your images, JPEG may be ok. If you do edit, there is a major difference between shooting RAW vs. JPEG. For those who are really interested in the issues involved, I highly recommend Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS2by Bruce Fraser. He explains the differences very well in Chapers 1 and 2.
  6. I shoot NEF + jpeg. If you buy Nikon Cature and download the latest free upgrade, most of the same controls on the camera can be adjusted using the software. This means you can shoot at default settings and adjust: tone compensation, color mode, saturation, white balance, sharpening, exposure compensation, hue adjsutment, etc. With jpeg, I often wondered how the shot would look if I had change some of these settings, now I can, and it's the same as camera would had changed it.

    When shooting jpeg, Capture will not allow the above changes. NEF can always be edited and changed back to the original, including crops, even after saving.

    I adjust camera settings in Capture and then edit in Photoshop, it works for me as a good combination.
  7. I am slow to embrace digital. I have plenty of reasons, but one of them is that between being a computing professional and running a (mostly non-photo) website on the side, spending more time in front of a keyboard is not attractive to me.

    For a given photo 'project', I try to decide first what the output is, and if it's webshots or a CD, I of course shoot digital. For a recent example, I spent a day shooting the Special Olympics Summer Games for Washington state. The organization wanted just 40 shots on a CD, but the atheletes / coaches / parents want a chance to look at all the shots. It's easy for me to push 2,000 JPEG images up to a web fulfillment service like Kodak (used to be ofoto.com). All I'm doing is mass 'rotates', discard the ones of zero interest (perhaps 3-5% where eyes are closed, focus is blown, or subject is halfway departed the frame) and upload. I would not want to spend even 10 seconds per (what is that, like 5 1/2 hours?) on post-proc.

    And yeah, more images on a card is a nice bonus.
  8. Snapshots at a party -- using a card reader, I load the images directly to a non-photog friend's PC or laptop, and they can take the images directly to Walmart or Costco.

    For my own images(especially those that I will enlarge), that I know I will be tweaking in Photoshop, then yes, I shoot NEF.
  9. Actually I know pros who shoot nothing but jpeg - for the reasons that Tim mentioned. Making everything a little bit quicker when you're dealing with hundreds of shots is a lifesaver. With event photography, it might just be a case of burn a CD and you're done.

    Now fine art prints are a different matter... Personally, I shoot both - but probably more RAW - and it depends on the situation.
  10. I have a couple of reasons for routinely shooting only JPEGs. When I do it's always maximum quality JPEGs.

    Since I've been using my D2H primarily for action oriented stuff I can burn through a 1 GB card pretty quickly. I have a pair of these cards now and until I buy more and/or larger capacity cards, I need to maximize what I've got.

    I don't like to spend a lot of time on post-processing. I know that these files will be printed directly via a Frontier machine, a DIY Kodak kiosk, etc. So in-camera prepping - color space, sharpening, etc. - works for me in many cases.

    Several times I've taken NEFs and JPEGs simultaneously. When I compare them at high magnification I can't see much, if any, difference. So unless I anticipate needing the advantages of NEF files I don't bother.
  11. Steve and Lex, I knew I wasn't crazy!
  12. There is a lot of questions about converting NEF to JPEG and several programs listed to do the conversion.The Nikon View and the software that came with my d80 Nikon was lacking on instruction and usability for this conversion.I found you can use Google's free Picasa program:
    (a) import only the folder where the NEF files are located
    (b) once they are imported , highlight the ones you want converted to jpeg
    (c) then go to "export to folder" and you can convert them to jpegs


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