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12-17-2009, 11:33 PM   #1
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JPEG, RAW, JPEG + RAW...huh?

Can someone explain to me in laymens terms what all this means?

I do know what JPEG stands for, but exactly why would I want to shoot in one format or the next?

Thanks!

12-18-2009, 12:00 AM   #2
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JPEG gives you a format in which you can use straight away on any computer. It's compressed and has limited ability to be edited without appreciable loss of quality.

RAW (either Pentax PEF or Adobe DNG) is a format of raw data straight from the camera, requiring a RAW processing software to be able to convert the image to JPEG. Why would someone want to do this? To provide an extended latitude of highlight and shadow detail beyond the dynamic range of a native JPEG image. Hard to explain in any simpler terms - RAW is just a more versatile file format for processing images without loss of image data.

You may do well to read up on the importance of shooting RAW: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-processing-articles/82966-file-forma...-compared.html, https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-processing-articles/40647-some-expla...-benifits.html
12-18-2009, 12:00 AM   #3
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JPEG is a compressed image format. RAW is lossless (or at least less lossy than JPEG). This means you have greater latitude when post-processing RAW files than you do with JPEG. You can actually change the exposure after the image has been shot, change the white balance, etc. RAW also allows you to set your own sharpening, contrast adjustment, etc in PP rather than having the camera do it. Basically, RAW allows for greater creative control at the cost of more time spent "developing" the photos.

You can either shoot JPEG-only, RAW-only, or JPEG + RAW (records the image as both file types).
12-18-2009, 01:20 AM   #4
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The RAW format is unprocessed sensor data from the sensor without image parameters (sharpness, saturation, contrast, hue, white balance) applied. The image parameters is stored with the RAW file and can be applied automatically by Pentax own software (Digital Utility) if one wants too.

The idea with RAW is that you set sharpness, saturation, contrast, white balance etc. in the RAW converter.

JPEG is a converted RAW-image with image parameters applied, and JPEG is also a compressed format. (everytime you re-save the JPEG it looses data). Now, you can tweak JPEG's afterwards, in a photo editor, but tweaking a JPEG afterwards also means that you loose the data, every bit of tweaking looses data.

With RAW, you don't loose any data. The RAW is untouched when you tweak it, instead you create a new image from the RAW data and this can be saved as a JPEG or TIFF (uncompressed image format with image parameters applied).

RAW is the preffered format when you wish to tweak the images after you have taken them. Change or correct the white balance, exposure, saturation, sharpness and so on.

JPEG is the preffered format when you want images ready "straight from the box" that you can print directly or load up to the web, and not doing anything else with them.

Unfortunately, no camera gets everything right all the time, like white balance, so if you have taken a JPEG and then wants to change it - it won't give as good results as if you have taken a RAW in the first place. RAW simply gives you a margin for error and an opportunity for you to change your mind about how the image should look like.

The RAW+ means the camera takes both a RAW and a JPEG of the same image, this way you have both the RAW if you wish to change things in the image, and a JPEG that you can print directly or upload to the web if you like it.

Of course the RAW+ means the camera is using more space of the memory card so you won't be able to take as many shots as if you were shooting with only RAW or only JPEG.

Also note that RAW format by itself is normally about twice to third times as large as JPEG.

12-18-2009, 05:05 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by RMabo Quote
Of course the RAW+ means the camera is using more space of the memory card so you won't be able to take as many shots as if you were shooting with only RAW or only JPEG.

Also note that RAW format by itself is normally about twice to third times as large as JPEG.
jpeg has adjustable compression level, so it can be 10 times smaller than compressed RAW. so RAW+ takes only 10% more space than RAW
12-18-2009, 09:05 AM   #6
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JPEG is like a Polaroid. You can use it right away.

RAW is like an undevelopped film.
12-18-2009, 09:28 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by flyer Quote
JPEG is like a Polaroid. You can use it right away.

RAW is like an undevelopped film.
Probably the best analogy for this film guy.

However, unless you're giving the files to the customer (or family or whatever) right off the SD card, RAW converters nowdays like LightRoom and super easy batch develop settings can make RAW effectively JPEG instantly with just more headroom.
12-18-2009, 10:56 AM   #8
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I have heard some say on here that shooting RAW is like shooting a "digital negative" in film terms. You can develop the picture the way you want using appropriate software, within limitations.

12-18-2009, 02:39 PM   #9
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I probably shoot 90% JPEG. When I'm in difficult light I will use Raw because you can get a little better range of adjustment in PP. It is time consuming and an extra step which is why I mostly shoot JPEG.
12-18-2009, 03:08 PM   #10
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Most of what has been posted if completely correct. But I think, one really important difference is missing:
  • JPG is 8 bit file format
  • RAW is 12 bit file format.

That means, that RAWs store 16 times as much brightness and colour information than JPGs. And that is the reason, why you gain more latitude for correction and adjustements at the post-processing stage. I think, the "digital negative" expression reflects that pretty well, whereas the JPG reflects the final print (which also contains only a small part of all the image data, the negative records).

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12-18-2009, 05:34 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
[*]RAW is 12 bit file format.
Not always. Some cameras have more than that (up to 22 bit, if I remember correctly).
12-19-2009, 01:11 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by flyer Quote
Not always. Some cameras have more than that (up to 22 bit, if I remember correctly).
That's true, but we are talking Pentax here.

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12-22-2009, 08:29 AM   #13
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First off, your camera ONLY shoots RAW. When you select JPG, the camera takes the RAW data and pipes it into its on-board JPG processor to generate the JPG "image" to save to the card.

When you shoot RAW, the RAW "data" goes directly to the card and is not an image.

To generate an image, you use a RAW processor (software on your PC) which turns the data into a viewable image, much like the camera's JPG processor. The difference is that YOU have complete control over the image generation process. You can change the white balance, adjust the contrast/brightness/black point/etc....

So you can leave these decisions up to the camera's little processor (and hope it makes the right decisions since they are irreversible), or save the decisions for later where YOU have complete control over it.
12-22-2009, 11:18 AM   #14
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egordon99 that is the BEST explanation in laymen's terms for this oft-asked question.
12-22-2009, 11:49 AM   #15
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^ Thanks!

I copy-paste that into any thread that asks "what's the deal with raw?"
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