Raw or Jpeg?

Which format should I use, raw or Jpeg?

This question comes up quite frequently. And the answer is raw. There is almost no reason not to use raw.

Some say "record both", but if you use the OEM software, such as Nikon Capture NX or Canon's Digital Photo Professional, it can automatically apply all of your in-camera Jpeg settings to the raw file automatically, so you don't "have to" do any processing. Even third party programs like Adobe Lightroom can apply your favorite settings to a raw file automatically.

Some say "the files are larger." So? Storage is cheap, computers and cameras process faster.  And really, the reason it takes so long to process an image isn't the format. The problem is you bought a 36MP camera.

Ok, there are advantages and disadvantages:

The one time I might consider Jpeg instead of raw is if I were running out of cards for my camera.
Another time someone might want to use Jpeg instead of raw is in order to get faster and more shots in burst mode. But not me, that's too many files to sort thru.
And with raw files you can't take your SD card out of your camera, plug it into the Walmart kiosk and get pictures printed.


 RAW

Advantages: Keeps ALL recorded data. Much more editable. 
Disadvantages: Larger file sizes. 

 

 Jpeg

Advantages: Smaller file sizes.
Disadvantages: Everything else.


Which would you rather pay the chef to make your pasta sauce with?  


If you want more examples of "why", check out this post: www.slrlounge.com/raw-vs-jpeg-jpg-the-ultimate-visual-guide


Ok, raw it is. Now what color space should you use?

This is a bit trickier and gets into color management concerns. Let me start by saying I record as much information as possible. I record in the largest file size possible, 14bit. And I use the largest color space possible, adobe rgb. I also do my editing in the ProPhoto rgb color space.

Now that I've told you what I use, I'll tell you that it is almost completely pointless. Why? Because every picture you want to be viewed on a computer by someone else, and every picture you want to have printed, must be converted to the smaller Srgb color space. 
In fact, most computer monitors can't even display the entire Adobe or ProPhoto color spaces. And almost every print shop prints from Srgb files. If you send them files in a different color space either they will convert it for you, or your pictures will come back looking very odd.

Recording and working in Srgb eliminates a potential for color management issues and has almost no negatives to it. Recording and working in a color space other than Srgb really only increases the potential for color management issues.

So why do I use Adobe/ProPhoto? Because I can. Maybe some day computers and printers will be able to use all of that information. And that great photo I love so much; it will be even better!

The choice is yours.


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