How Far Can You Push JPEGs in Post-Processing?

We all know that raw files offer more versatility and range in post-processing than JPEGs, but on the other hand, JPEGs certainly are not totally useless. This great video will show you what you can do with JPEGs versus raw files in post-processing.

Coming to you from James Popsys, this helpful video follows him as he shoots the same images in both JPEG and raw to see how far he can push the respective files. No doubt, raw files give you more range in post, but at the same time, they have larger file sizes and take more post-processing power and effort, and you might prefer the smaller file sizes and already baked-in level of processing in JPEGs. Undoubtedly, they are easier to work with and less cumbersome to handle overall, and if you generally get things pretty close to right in camera, set up your body's in-camera JPEG processing to taste, and do not tend to push files that far once back at your computer, you may well end up preferring to work with JPEGs instead. I think Popsys' experiments of shooting in JPEG and raw simultaneously is a great way to explore the idea. Check out the video above for his full thoughts. 

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3 Comments

Paul Scharff's picture

I am stunned at how much I can push my JPEGs except for the reduced latitude with highlights. I edit in PS and found that using Adobe Camera Raw's shadow slider brings out tremendous flexibility in opening shadows -- significantly better (and more realistic looking) than PS's own Shadow/Highlight tool.

Charles Mercier's picture

I'm so damn good, I don't need no stinkin' RAW files! BWA HAHAHAHAHA!

John Stone's picture

I think that shooting in 8 bit or 12/14 bit should be pointed out. This obviously makes a big difference in post-processing. It very much depends on the lighting conditions at the time and the actual subject you're shooting.
Perhaps the target audience is the happy snapper! (They don't have to worry about 14 bit or raw.)