Thursday, November 18, 2010

JPEG vs. RAW- What is the difference?

Have you ever wondered what the differences between jpeg and RAW are?  Do you know when to use RAW or why there are different types of files?  Well, I am going to do my best to explain this to you. Here goes.....

Jpeg is the most common type of file format for photographs and paintings today due to the good quality to compression ratio. RAW is not necessarily a file format. It's simply the output of direct information from the sensor written into a file without processing or compression.

Jpeg stands for "Joint Photographic Experts Group". This group got together and standardized a way to compress a file in order to reduce the file size of a photo while maintaining very minimal loss of quality.  A RAW image of 8 megabites would also be an 8mb file while a jpeg of the same image would be about 10 to 40 percent of the size of the RAW file.

One of the big advantages that Jpegs have is that it is recognizable by most programs for viewing photos.  Since Jpegs are considered as a finished product, they can be be printed or edited easily.  RAW, on the otherhand can only be read by a few programs and are not considered "finished" files. They have to be edited.  Also, RAW images often look like poorly taken images with low contrast.  Because of these reasons most people shoot Jpegs files.

The RAW format is commonly used by professional photographer despite the large size if the file. The reason is that most professionals don't print a photo until it has been "touched up" or "manipulated" in photoshop. This is where RAW files shine.  A photographer has a lot more latitude when working with a RAW file. Since a RAW file stores all of the information, this makes it easier to get high quality photos pro photographers need. Editing a Jpeg file means that more data will be lost and the image quality will be inferior to what is generally accepted for print media.

To sum it up here are a few points:

1.  Jpeg is a comressed file that is a fraction of the size of a RAW file.
2.  RAw is only readable by a few programs where as Jpeg is readable by most programs.
3.  Jpegs have higher contrast than RAW files most of the time.
4.  Jpegs are suitable for immidiate printing while RAW file have to be edited first.
5.  Most people shoot Jpegs while pro photographers usually shoot RAW.

Please let me know if this post was helpful:)

1 comment:

  1. I love RAW. It allows me to save different exposures of an image and blend them together in Photoshop to get some really punchy results, especially in Black and White. Here’s how I do it-
    Using Photoshop and Lightroom creatively with Exposure bracketing