Tuesday, March 27, 2012

RAW vs. JPEG: Which is Better?

Which is better: RAW or JPEG file format?
Well, for people who are serious about their pictures, ther answer is simple: RAW. But why is this?
First of all, RAW is not an acronym, RAW (I have no idea why most people put in all caps) is simply raw data as recorded by the camera. Simply put, RAWs are to digital as what negatives are to film. Sure, there are inconveniences: special software needed for viewing (comes bundled with RAW-capable camera) and mandatory post processing (at the very least to convert to a "normal" format), but the benefits far outweigh these minor hindrances.
White balance doesn't matter:
In JPEG (or anything else), if the camera is shot in the wrong white balance, you're screwed. In RAW, simply click a button to have the picture looking as it should.

The finer things in life
When the camera process the raw data into another file format, post-processing that you cannot control takes place as the camera tries to make an image appear as noise-free as possible. The result: blurry looking images. This is even true of cameras known for doing good jobs at balancing detail retention and noise. RAW? Fine details are retained very well. Want proof? See
the dramatic difference between RAW and “cooked” pictures for yourself

Expanded ISO.
With RAW, it is possible to, essentially,
expand the ISO range of your camera. So, if a lack of insanely high ISO capability may lead you to buy a new camera, it may be time to reconsider.

Ease of post processing
JPEG (or any other in-camera format), post processing, especially in regards to color cast, can be a tedious pain in the neck. In RAW, simply move a tool bar and you're good to go.Hate the thought of post processing? No problem! You can have it both ways at once!

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