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RAW + JPEG: why?

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by PentaxManiac, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. PentaxManiac

    PentaxManiac Well-Known Member

    I remain confused about the advice we so often get to shoot both RAW and JPEG. For two reasons;-

    1. Is there not a JPEG contained in the RAW image? Surely that's what you see on the rear screen when you shoot in RAW? I've also been told that the reason my Epson P3000 storage device/image viewer (and other similar models) can show any RAW image, even from cameras made much more recently, while loading a RAW file onto a computer requires more up to date software to open it, is that the Epson isn't really showing me the RAW, just the JPEG within it.

    2. If you really want a JPEG as well as a RAW, you can make one and do a "save as" in camera or later, which saves both that and the RAW original surely?

    There are even high-end cameras with two card slots, on which people save RAW to one and JPEG for all the same shots to the other.

    I don't get it. Perhaps I might feel differently if I owned, or had shares in, a memory card manufacturing business?
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Same puzzlement here. Raw = digital negative; indeed, DNG. I can only begin to understand shooting Raw + DNG if you're too lazy/stressed to convert Raw to DNG and don't trust your skill enough to get it all right in a single JPEG (much like a colour slide) and don't want an image that can be infinitely and non-destructively edited.

    I shoot DNG only. Export it as a TIFF from Lightroom unchanged when it's dead right; otherwise, process, export as TIFF.


  3. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    This old chestnut. :)

    Ok, for me you are playing with fire if you only shoot JPG. :rolleyes:

    Shooting both means you have access to the full image ASAP. Where as with raw only, you have got to process the image before you can view it or use special software. Most computer read JPG as part
    of their OS. So it is a format without software install. In fact alot of DVD players even read JPG.

    It is true that alot of raw formats contain a preview image but this is low res compared to the full res of the raw data.

    Think of raw + JPG as shooting negatives with print done straight away. If the prints are not good you can go back to the negative and improve.

    My camera does not support raw + JPG so I shoot raw, memory cards are so large and cheap now it makes no difference. Plus my machine is set up for me to review the images easily.

    Finally JPGs are compressed so well that they take up a small amount of the card really.
  4. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Why not? I shoot raw only but then I take pics for pleasure and rarely many at one go, neither do I have a specific end use for jpgs. But where I have covered an event for someone resulting in a load of pics not too interesting to me shooting jpg with raw as safety net makes a lot of sense - downside is space requirement.
  5. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Sorry Mr Hicks, where does the OP mention DNG? He only talks about JPG and raw. I know DNG is a form of raw file (open standard I believe).

    I think the OP is debating the merits of dropping shooting raw possibly.

    There are other issues with JPG. It compresses the image which can in some shots cause problems like artifacts in skies etc. If you use JPG at all it best with the compression turned right down. Unless it's for the forum where there is a 200KB limit on the JPG files.
  6. PentaxManiac

    PentaxManiac Well-Known Member

    Err, no. What I was actually questioning the need for was the JPEG part of RAW+JPEG, given that it's so easy to get a JPEG from the RAW.
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    As you say, DNG is merely a variety of raw.Hence "Raw = digital negative; indeed, DNG" as that's what DNG stands for (as I understand it), Digital NeG. And I was agreeing with him: why shoot JPEG as well?


  8. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    I stand corrected. :eek:

    Yes, if you have a computer with you. But there are shooting situations where you might want to run off a print straight from the camera's memory card.

    Presuming you are the kind of shooter who get is right in the camera. Then you can take the JPG version to any walking lab in the UK etc and get a print.

    You cannot do that with raw. All raw files require some processing. Therefore time and software.

    I think shooting a additional JPG with raw adds around 16-20% of data to the shooting. Presuming superfine compression say.

    So if you do say 8GB shooting you just need a 16GB card. Not a huge cost problem. HD space is dirt cheap these days.

    I presum this is one of the Pentax models given your member name?
  9. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    You know, that is genuinely something I've never even considered, going to a shop and doing that. And, now I've considered it, I still can't imagine ever wanting to do it. When have you done it? And why? I'm not being aggressive: I'm genuinely puzzled. I've considered carrying a small printer so I can give someone a print at the time, a bit like a Polaroid (HP makes/made a battery-powered one) but never what you describe.


  10. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    1. As I understand it different makes of camera embed the rear screen JPEG (QuickView JPEG?) differently and access may not always be easy.
    2. Time.

    JPEGs are merely useful tools, like other file formats. Some photographers use them for specific reasons. I remember a few years ago a busy travel photographer saying he used them for better battery mileage, more card capacity, quicker editing, data transfer, etc., and he had tweaked his whole camera & lenses set up to provide JPEGs that were of a quality that kept his clients happy.

    Things have changed since then, with better batteries, bigger cards, better portable computing, etc., so it may well be possible to shoot RAW in his situation for better long-term library use.

    If you shoot a lot, and want to edit quickly, then JPEGs + RAW may still offer a time advantage. Not everyone has the latest, most powerful computers. Not everyone has their digital processing done by an assistant while they carry on shooting or schmoozing the clients or chatting up the models, etc.! ;)

    BTW, I have used the JPEG shot in parallel with RAW, relatively untouched, for competition success.

    Don't look down on the humble JPEG.

    And don't always count on a RAW rescuing you from poor camera work. :rolleyes: :eek:
  11. ianwaite

    ianwaite Well-Known Member

    What you see in the rear screen is neither a JPG or RAW as these are both file types and have not been generated until you press the shutter release and take the photo. It is actually a live feed from the sensor with settings applied that are chosen by the user or the auto programs, you could say it is as close to what the raw file will be assuming nothing changes.

    RAW files= Raw files are named so because they are not yet processed and therefore are not ready to be printed or edited with a bitmap graphics editor, like photoshop or similar. Normally, the image is processed by a raw converter in a wide-gamut internal colorspace where precise adjustments can be made before conversion to a "positive" file format such as TIFF or JPEG for storage, printing, or further manipulation, which often encodes the image in a device-dependent colorspace.

    JPEG= these files are created from the RAW data (not RAW file) using settings provided by the camera manufacturer, these are created using databases of hundreds of thousands of images in an attempt to get the best result from the RAW data, theses settings are applied to your image automatically altering colour balance, sharpness, contrast etc.,etc., etc.. The file is then compressed using an algorithm, this at the same time loses most of the data it doesn't need making it impossible to go back to the original image the camera recorded. JPG is fine until it doesn't achieve the results you want. Every time you edit and then save a JPG you lose quality as it goes through de-compression and re-compression and dumps some of the data each time.

    I have the ability on my camera bodies to shoot both, but only shoot raw these days as I want to be able to get back to the sensor data ( what the camera actually saw ). I then save copies once processed by me as TIFF files as they are lossless compression only using JPG for final images going to web or where specified in competitions.

  12. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    I shoot raw + JPEG on my cameras that support both at once so that I can use the JPEG files as a form of "digital contact sheet". It gives me a full size image (as opposed to the JPEG thumbnail contained in the raw file) that I can inspect to decide which images are worth spending the time on to do a full raw conversion. The additional memory used is only about another 20-25% which isn't a big problem at current memory capacities and costs.

    Some cameras have a feature that allows you to create a JPEG from a raw file in camera, possibly while changing some parameter such as colour balance or contrast, but I've never found a use for this personally. I suppose it could be useful for people who do want to make occasional prints straight from camera.

    Some cameras (e.g. older Fujis, such as my S3 Pro, S9500 and E900, can only save as raw or JPEG, not both together, and these I usually have set as raw.
  13. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    It's mostly for professional photographers, usually those who need quick access to the full file (the embedded JPEG file is just a preview) e.g. to wire an image from a shoot will need a JPEG copy immediately, but might want the raw file for editing at a later date.
  14. PhilW

    PhilW Well-Known Member

    Agree with Barney.

    But I used to shoot both when doing shoots of 100's of images because my old PC took an ages for lightroom to render the preview from the RAW (like 45 mins for 500 shots!!!)

    I updated the PC about 3 years ago to a nice i7 with 12GB RAM, and now it does them in real time, so don't need the JPG anymore.


    With the advent of wifi capability in the new 6D (and other cameras with the extra gadgets) I may revert so I can quickly send the recorded JPG to my laptop/ipad for instant review. Where sending the much larger RAW would take too long to be useful.
  15. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Er, No. That may be true if you use live view but earlier cameras without that facility use either an embedded JPEG for the preview/review or perform some form of processing of the raw image. The Nikon D1 and D2 for instance don't have live view so you can only see images on the rear screen after pressing the shutter.

    Additionally, all cameras displaying images on the screen after capture need either a JPEG or to process the raw data to have anything to display.
  16. ianwaite

    ianwaite Well-Known Member

    Hi Geoff, you are right of course, I was assuming the OP was talking live view not reviewing images after taking them in which case it would be a preview of whatever he set jpg or raw.

  17. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    I suspect any portable printer would expect a JPG file. As raw is so proprietry to alot of cameras plus it's before processing.

    It might be say a social event where the people want a set straight away. Also there is the social media angle as well. Again FB etc would only like JPGs.

    Years ago I did a wedding on film where I did just that. Found a C41 lab who could turn around large prints in 1 hour. Went down a storm at the reception seeing the wedding shots 2 hours after the event. Luckily I nailed all the shots. :)

    Of course if you have tablet or laptop you could run a global conversion on the raw to JPG and go that path.
  18. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    I have a suspicion that this thread is in danger of becoming fragmented but before it gets too bad I will state the reasons I always shoot JPG and usually include RAW as well. This is that I do not use any proprietary cataloguing programs, prefering to move images around myself and when one does this there is no RAW preview image visible (at least in the versions of Windows that I use) and the JPG is essential for quick ID of the image pair before deciding on moving them to an appropriate folder(or a quick delete of the obvious misses).

  19. ianwaite

    ianwaite Well-Known Member

    Sorry Roger this is a failing of PC, even the cheapest MAC has the software FREE to do this. Buy MAC and you will never go back, I've been saying this for nearly 20 years and anyone following this doctrine agrees and will tell you PC computing doesn't do the job for graphics and is full of viruses where MAC isn't.

    OK, I'm set in my ways, you would be too if you tied MAC!

  20. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Highlight: Absolutely, and for event photography or anywhere I wanted to give people prints on the spot I'd shoot JPEG or Raw/DNG + JPEG. It's just that as I said, I've never felt the need -- perhaps because I've never had the battery-powered printer.

    I can see the point with a wedding, but phew! Even more pressure! I have only ever shot weddings as a wedding present for friends and (lately) children of friends: no grandchildren yet (contrary to appearances, I'm not that old). As I've been at the party afterwards I was never under pressure to deliver very quickly.

    Here are some wedding pics, from film days, along with a description of how Frances and I shoot weddings when we can't get out of it: http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/ps weddings.html Again, don't worry about the 'subscription' bit in the title: this is a leftover from before it was all free.



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