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Thread: Image file type

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Image file type

    My first question!
    So my new camera can take photos in either JPEG or RAW.
    What does this mean?
    Why do I want to take photos in RAW?? Better quality? Better for editing? Can you print that file type out at a photo shop??

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2007


    I think RAW image files are mostly used by people who want to do more digital enhancing / computer processing before saving the photo to something like JPEG... I know theres more technical stuff to it, but I think thats basically it.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    In a nutshell:

    JPEG format uses compression to make image file sizes smaller. The camera will have different options for file sizes. It saves only the image, none of the shooting data is available. It is immediately accessible by most programs and does not require additional conversion. The disadvantage of jpeg compression is that it is lossy (higher levels of compression compromise pixel integrity - resulting in visible artifacts - and it is exponential, meaning that if you resave using jpg format multiple times then the losses will increase exponentially). However, these disadvantages are irrelevant if you do not intend to edit your images.

    RAW is an uncompressed format used by professionals (not 'technically' true but it uses a non lossy form of compression). It takes the photo using the maximum number of pixels available to the CCD. It also tags shooting data such as exposure, white-balance etc which can be later manipulated. You will require a specialist plugin or program to edit RAW images - most cameras with RAW capabilities include a proprietary editing program, but the best available is the Photoshop Raw Plugin - it allows you to edit all shooting parameters and is incredibly flexible.

    As far as I am aware, there are no printers which can directly handle RAW format (but this may change due to the increase of use by non-pro photographers). It is best used if you intend to edit your images and for when you want the largest file size available. Otherwise, take your shots at the largest jpg file size available. Some cameras will allow dual shooting, where it saves an image in both RAW and jpeg format.

    Last edited by suse; February 29th, 2008 at 09:16 PM. Reason: added something

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Down by the ocean


    You will get better results if you shoot in RAW but you need to process them in photoshop (via the RAW plugin) or the software that comes with your camera. It doesn't take too long once you get used to it.

    It is great because although you think you have done everything right, sometimes you can have an unexpected result such as a colour cast from the wrong light balance which is a disaster in jpeg but in RAW it's just a click and it's fixed. You also are able to adjust the exposure with better results than with a jpeg file (sometimes jpegs will look noisy or grainy if they are underexposed and you try to lighten them).

    I read an explanation of it somewhere that was kind of like this:
    RAW saves the data just as it appears. Imagine a line of 100 white dots. RAW will save the image as "dot No1 = white, dot No2 = white, and so on to dot No100 = white.
    Jpeg will compress the data and save it as dot 1-100 = white.

    It's a huge learning curve so perhaps just shoot in jpegs to begin with and then try out RAW when you get the hang of it.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Port Macquarie, NSW


    RAW essentially saves raw data from the CCD - not a picture, but a stream of data that can be processed in various ways to produce a picture. It is the "first step" in the process of creating a digital image from the camera.

    JPG actually processes that raw data to produce an image. The file is able to be opened and viewed.

    For most people, JPG is the best option. The reason that RAW is used is that it allows professional photographers to take the burden of processing the CCD data from the camera and onto their PC afterwards - and as mentioned, this means they can be flexible with the way that image is processed and produced, which is not possible on the camera itself when you have it automatically convert it's images to JPGs.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    Thankyou guys for all your information!!
    Makes sense now!!

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