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12-11-2009, 09:24 PM   #1
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RAW or JPEG

im new to digital photography, well digital anything really and my husband just bought me a new white K-x which im loving but i dont know what RAW format or JPEG format means and when i want to use which one or why, can anyone help me?

12-11-2009, 09:47 PM   #2
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Welcome! Quite honestly this is the most asked question on any camera forum, and there is lots and lots written about it.

If you are new to digital, stick with jpeg. When you get into digital photography more, and you want to do advanced postprocessing on the computer, then RAW is the way to go.

Bottom line is simply that RAW retains more information so you have more options in postprocessing. The problem is that you must postprocess it if you want to see your pictures on any computer.
12-11-2009, 09:53 PM   #3
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so Jpeg is like a polariod camera and raw would be developing the film yourself?
12-11-2009, 10:04 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by tkcampbell Quote
so Jpeg is like a polariod camera and raw would be developing the film yourself?
Very good analogy, except that jpeg from your camera is much better than polaroid. Just keep it on high quality jpeg mode and you may never have the desire or need to go to RAW.

12-11-2009, 10:08 PM   #5
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Also, that analogy makes RAW sound like a lot more work, when it really isn't. in anyhow, I highly recommend Google. It can tell you a lot about basic things like this.
12-11-2009, 10:15 PM   #6
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Marc,
I think it actually might be a lot of work for someone who is "new to anything digital." With jpeg, she can just drag and drop, and enjoy the pictures. No need for "workflow."
12-11-2009, 10:29 PM   #7
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True, although processing RAW images doesn't have to be a lot of work. You can do as much or as little with RAW processing as the user sees fit.
One may think the time to learn RAW is after a newbie has some experience with JPEG, but I don't know if this is necessary.
Just a little research on the utility of RAW and the ability to suitably convert RAW to JPEG, and there's a lot more latitude to working creatively with images in post-processing.

Above all, enjoy your K-x and creating art with it.
12-11-2009, 10:55 PM   #8
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Seems everyone else is asleep, but being in Hawaii I'm up. I'll answer in lay terms, but there are hundreds of members on this forum that could answer this question better than I. That said, it basically comes down to file size--a jpg is 2-3 mb, while a raw file has roughly 16 mb of digital picture information. Thus, a jpg is like a condensed, 100 page version of a 800 page novel. A lot of information is missing, modified and compressed by the K-X software to produce a small, manageable image file that is pleasing to the eye. As you become more of a digital fanatic, you'll
better understand the lure of raw files that contain all the digital data the camera's electronic inerts can capture. My K-10D's raw files are about 16 mb which takes up a lot of space on the
harddrive. But, when you are looking for the best quality pictures obtainable, you want the
largest, manageable file, a camera can process. I love long novels and raw data files. Both give me the pleasure of long hours of recreation and re-creation. As you will find with more knowledge of this subject, there are software programs that help you mangage, play and make poor shots look superb. As a Mac user, my professional software of choice is Aperature 2.1. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, so get researching the topic and soon you'll be able to answer your own questions. Best.

12-11-2009, 11:58 PM   #9
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Also depends on the quality of JPEG compression.
My 14.6Mp RAW files come to about 10-11Mb, whilst JPEGs can range from 4-10Mb at the highest quality setting. Such a range with the JPEGs I believe has to do with repeatable pixel information that can be more readily compressed than more complicated images.

In any case, whilst you may fit more JPEGs on your memory card, this is only one 'benefit' to JPEG (although I don't really consider it an advantage since I have a good supply of cards) as opposed to the more significant advantage of lossless image quality gained from shooting RAW.
12-12-2009, 07:31 AM   #10
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For Raw shooters:
When you shoot raw what PP adjustment did you do with it?
Do you just convert it to jpeg w/ out any PP?
12-12-2009, 08:23 AM   #11
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With JPEG's, the camera does a lot of image processing automatically. Saturation, sharpnes, contrast, white balance. You can adjust these parameters in the camera before you take the image, but when the image is taken and you change your mind - adjusting those parameters afterwards on the image doesn't give as good results as RAW format.
This is because RAW format doesn't include processing of the image. Parameters are saved with the RAW-format, but they have no effect. And when you process the RAW images, "develop" them, you have more freedom to experiment with different settings to get the look your want.

So with RAW you have more creative freedom, but with JPEG's you get a more finished image right away that is suitable for webb or printing.

RAW requires more skill to use, in post processing.
12-12-2009, 08:27 AM   #12
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Say you take a picture of a white wall

Raw would do this: White pixel, White pixel, White pixel, White pixel, White pixel.
Jpeg would do this: (White pixel x 4000).
12-12-2009, 12:29 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
I think it actually might be a lot of work for someone who is "new to anything digital." With jpeg, she can just drag and drop, and enjoy the pictures. No need for "workflow."
Using modern software like Lightroom, Aperture, ACDSee Pro, or Lightzone, there is no difference apparent to the user between JPEG and RAW.
12-12-2009, 12:36 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by rustynail925 Quote
For Raw shooters:
When you shoot raw what PP adjustment did you do with it?
Do you just convert it to jpeg w/ out any PP?
Whether I shoot RAW or not has *nothing* to do with how much PP I might want to do. If it's too dark, I'll lighten it - whether JPEG or RAW doesn't matter. If I don't like the color (WB was off, for instance), I'll change it - whether JPEG or RAW doesn't matter. If the picture is too soft, I'll sharpen it - whether JPEG or RAW doesn't matter. If it's noisy I'll apply NR - whether JPEG or RAW doesn't matter. And so on.

That's why I say shooting RAW in itself doesn't really mean any more or less PP work than shooting JPEG. And using modern software, the actual process of making the adjustments is no different. But most of the adjustments I mentioned will come out looking better if you star from RAW, unless you're making only fairly small adjustments.
12-12-2009, 12:57 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rustynail925 Quote
For Raw shooters:
When you shoot raw what PP adjustment did you do with it?
Do you just convert it to jpeg w/ out any PP?
A very open-ended question you ask, but basically it depends on the image. I try my best to get the result I want from out of the camera (including the use of flash), but then realise that almost all my results require some boosting of contrast, colour or dodging/burning to bring the best out of them (to my personal liking). Once you visualise the result in your head, you can shoot with PP in mind, which is particularly important in high contrast scenes where you may want to preserve highlights or bracket to process for HDR.

You cannot convert from RAW to JPEG without any PP as the mere conversion process itself is a form of PP. You can just allow your RAW converter to choose its settings for you and convert your images that way, but that would defeat the purpose of shooting RAW.
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